Ford first launched its Focus model back in 1999 and since then the car has become a global best-seller and more than 20 years on and against greater competition is still able to attract a new generation of buyers.
With a variety of petrol and diesel engines, eight different trim levels and a wealth of upgrade options, the Focus can be tailored to suit almost all customer requirements, and prices start at €24,536 (£20,645).
The entry model offers adequate basic features but many buyers move up to the better-specified Zetec version which has standard kit which includes air-conditioning, cruise control, heated windscreen, power windows front and rear, smartphone mirroring and safety features including auto-emergency braking and lane-keep assist.
My test model was a Zetec with the popular 1.0 litre 125 hp Ecoboost petrol engine and 6-speed manual gearbox – an 8-speed automatic option is available on most models. The 0-100 kph time is 10.0 seconds, top speed 198 kph (123 mph) and average fuel economy 20.3 kpl (57.6 mpg). Emissions are 111 g/km. This version costs €25,130 (£21,145).
Rivals include the Volkswagen Golf but the Focus has plus-points of its own, most notably its ride and handling which are widely regarded as best in class. With precise intuitive steering feedback and supple ride quality, the Focus is a joy to drive, poised on the corners, refined on the motorway and nimble in the city.
The car is sleekly styled and the latest versions offer greater leg-room in the rear. The dashboard is set out for maximum ease of use with clear placement of dials and switchgear and the driver can get a good position thanks to multi-adjustable steering wheel and centrally-aligned pedals.
Ford has upgraded the cabin materials for a smarter look which works well, and with more room for occupants and boot-space of 375 litres near-identical to that of a VW Golf, the Focus scores well for practicality. And when the rear seats are folded, the available load space of 1,354 litres is actually greater than that of the Golf.
While you do have to move up the trim grades to get some of the kit that may be standard on rivals, there is no doubt that overall, the Focus is still a great package worthy of its top-selling status.
Facts At A Glance
- Model: Ford Focus Zetec
- Engine: 1.0 litre Ecoboost petrol
- Transmission; 6-speed manual
- Performance: 0-100 kph 10.0 seconds, top speed 198 kph (123 mph)
- Economy: 20.3 kpl (57.6 mpg)
- Emissions: 111 g/km
Model tested is UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.