In-depth reviews

Ford Focus review – everyday hero back to its best

It may not be quite as sharp as its predecessor, but Ford filled in the gaps making for an impressive family hatchback

Evo rating
  • Classic Focus ‘togetherness’ in the ride and handling; much better interior and ergonomics too
  • Less clarity to the steering than the old model, odd styling

The Ford Focus has been a consistent entity for over 20 years for good reason. Circumnavigating crossover fads and changes to perceived customer interest, the Focus’s combination of a sophisticated driving experience, no nonsense demeanor and affordable price point appeal as much now as they did in 1997. 

The current fourth generation Focus was initially launched in 2018, and while it might look the same there have been all sorts of changes under the skin to keep it competitive against renewed rivals like the new Golf 8 and SEAT Leon. The new powertrains will also have a better handle on new emissions laws that are tightening their grip across the industry. 

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Those changes begin under the bonnet, with Ford introducing a mild-hybrid system across most petrol models, and consolidating its diesel and non-hybridised engine range to reduce the range’s average CO2 rating. 

Being a core model on the UK sales chart Ford has also done an extensive job in diversifying the Focus, now having a whole family of models made up from ST-Line, rugged Active X, posh Vignale and ST model to creating one of the most varied ranges on sale. 

Ford Focus: in detail

  • Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > Alongside the all-new chassis is a new engine range with mild-hybrid petrols and diesel options
  • Performance and 0-62mph time > Petrol models are adequately brisk for the class, but hardly earth-moving
  • Ride and handling > Extremely competent, entertaining even, the Focus’s driving experience doesn’t disappoint
  • MPG and running costs > High MPG and low running costs mean the Focus is still a strong value proposition
  • Interior and tech > The last Focus’s interior was a major low point, but the new cabin is smart and functional, if not exactly glamorous
  • Design > The Focus has gone through a big step change in design, trading the previous model’s messy mono-box design for a more in-vogue two-box silhouette

Prices, specs and rivals:

It comes as no surprise that one of the UK’s highest-selling models is available in a vast variety of engines and specs. It can all be a little bewildering, in fact, but what you need to know is that the Focus generally sits in the middle of the pack in regards to price. Like the previous model, the new Focus is only available in five-door hatch and estate form in the UK.

Prices start at £22,210, a rise of nearly £4000 compared to when the current Focus launched, but so too has Ford removed a vast majority of the low-level trim levels and engines. Now, Focus models start at the Zetec level with a 120bhp turbocharged three-cylinder engine in contrast to the 84bhp base car that came before. 

From here the range splits into a few branches, with Titanium and ST-Line available in base and higher-specification X forms for between £23,610 and £26,460. At the top of the ‘standard’ range is the Vignale, which does its best impression of luxury motoring for the masses starting at £28,010. Active X models differ again with (supposedly) rugged styling elements and start at £24,060, but can be upgraded to its own Vignale spec which adopts many of the posh trim elements from the aforementioned luxury flagship.

Compared to its rivals, spec for spec the Ford is more expensive than an equivalent Vauxhall Astra, Hyundai i30 or Kia Ceed by a few hundred pounds, sits just underneath the Honda Civic and Peugeot 308, but is substantially less expensive than the new Volkswagen Golf. Using a 148bhp Focus ST-Line model as an example, an equivalent Golf R-Line is a hefty £3500 more expensive.

More on Focus Hatchback

2019 Ford Focus EcoBoost review – a family favourite past its prime?
Ford Focus Hatchback

2019 Ford Focus EcoBoost review – a family favourite past its prime?

Some might suggest the UK is falling out of love with family hatchbacks, but the Focus EcoBoost is a good reminder of why it remains a compelling pack…
9 Dec 2019
Ford Focus RS Mountune m400X upgrade most powerful yet
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus RS Mountune m400X upgrade most powerful yet

Mountune has released details of its new m400R and m400X tuning packs for Focus RS
4 Feb 2019
New Ford Focus ST-Line 2018 review – can it beat the VW Golf in its sportiest standard trim?
Ford Focus Hatchback

New Ford Focus ST-Line 2018 review – can it beat the VW Golf in its sportiest standard trim?

The new Ford Focus is the most entertaining family car outside of the hot hatchback market
28 Jun 2018
New 2018 Ford Focus revealed – all-new rival for the VW Golf
Ford Focus Hatchback

New 2018 Ford Focus revealed – all-new rival for the VW Golf

Ford has given its big selling Focus a complete overhaul to take on both traditional hatch and compact SUV rivals
11 Apr 2018
Ford Focus ST170 - review, history, prices and specs
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus ST170 - review, history, prices and specs

The Ford Focus ST170 featured an excellent chassis let down by an underwhelming engine
16 Mar 2018
Ford Focus 2015 review – Is the tech-loaded new-look Focus a Golf beater?
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus 2015 review – Is the tech-loaded new-look Focus a Golf beater?

Ford’s best-seller returns in its sleekest form yet
28 Jun 2016
Ford Focus 2015 review – Is the tech-loaded new-look Focus a Golf beater?
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus 2015 review – Is the tech-loaded new-look Focus a Golf beater?

Ford’s best-seller returns in its sleekest form yet
28 Jun 2016
Ford Focus Mk4 review, prices and pictures
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus Mk4 review, prices and pictures

Ford’s bestseller gets a facelift and updated EcoBoost engines
16 Dec 2014
2014 Ford Focus UK prices announced
Ford Focus Hatchback

2014 Ford Focus UK prices announced

Ford has updated the Focus range, with a new face, new engines and improved interior. UK prices, details and pictures here
2 Sep 2014
Ford Focus WTCC edition launched
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus WTCC edition launched

A new 200bhp 1.6 version of the Ford Focus has been launched by WTCC team Arena.
21 Nov 2012
Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost Superchips review
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost Superchips review

Superchips has upped the Ford Focus Ecoboost's 1-litre engine so it now beats a Bugatti Veyron (sort of). Review here
4 Sep 2012
Ford EcoBoost racer sets Ring time
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford EcoBoost racer sets Ring time

Ford shows off at the Ring with a new road-legal Formula Ford single-seater, powered by a tuned version of the three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost en…
4 Sep 2012
Superchips Ford Focus Ecoboost
Ford Focus Hatchback

Superchips Ford Focus Ecoboost

Superchips is first to upgrade the Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost, taking its bhp per litre figure past the Bugatti Veyron's
1 Aug 2012
Ford Focus 2.0 TDCI Zetec S review
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus 2.0 TDCI Zetec S review

The 2-litre TDCI diesel is the second-quickest car in the current Ford Focus model range - with 161bhp and a 135mph top speed
17 Feb 2012
Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost review
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus 1.0 Ecoboost review

Ford has fitted a tiny 1-litre turbocharged petrol engine into the Focus - but is it up to the task?
9 Feb 2012
Ford Focus 1.6T Zetec S review
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus 1.6T Zetec S review

It's the feistiest new Focus yet. Ford's new 179bhp, 1.6-litre turbo Ecoboost Zetec S reviewed
23 Nov 2011
Isle of Man TT rider Guy Martin drives Ford Focus WRC car
Ford Focus Hatchback

Isle of Man TT rider Guy Martin drives Ford Focus WRC car

Isle of Man TT bike racer Guy Martin tries his hand at rallying in a Ford Focus WRC car
7 Jun 2011
New 80mpg Ford Focus Econetic news and pictures
Ford Focus Hatchback

New 80mpg Ford Focus Econetic news and pictures

Ford's new Focus Econetic, a good to drive eco special that returns 80mpg and emits 95g/km
7 Apr 2011
Ford Focus Electric revealed
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus Electric revealed

Ford reveals its electric powered Focus hatchback ready for a 2011 Detroit motor show appearance
10 Jan 2011
All new Ford Focus review
Ford Focus Hatchback

All new Ford Focus review

Third-generation version of big-selling hatch, 178bhp turbo 1.6, gadget options aplenty
1 Jan 2011
New Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Titanium diesel review
Ford Focus Hatchback

New Ford Focus 2.0 TDCi Titanium diesel review

All-new Ford Focus reviewed in gadget filled 2.0 TDCi Titanium diesel form
1 Jan 2011
New Ford Focus priced
Ford Focus Hatchback

New Ford Focus priced

Ford prices its all new Focus hatchback and estate. Prices, specifications and details here
15 Dec 2010
Ford Focus Sport special edition revealed
Ford Focus Hatchback

Ford Focus Sport special edition revealed

Ford unveils the Focus Sport special edition, with sat-nav and ST hot hatch style alloy wheels
4 Oct 2010
Graham Goode Racing Ford Focus RS370FR review
Ford Focus Hatchback

Graham Goode Racing Ford Focus RS370FR review

Engine upgrades take hottest Ford to 368bhp
18 Feb 2010