CarsMotormouth Reviews

Ford are regaining Focus

The Ford Focus
The Ford Focus

Ford Focus

A star-studded front line of Messi, Suarez and Neymar is destroying everything put in front of them, and it would be hard to argue that it isn’t the greatest front three ever.

Wrapping up the Spanish league and preparing the trophy room for another Champions League means Barcelona’s hitmen are clearly better than the rest.

Compare them to Ireland’s three stand-out stars, the Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus, and we have three equally talented motors that compete at a level above the opposition.

Last year the Golf came out on top again, closely followed by the new Qashqai, with the Focus rounding out the top three.

This year, the Focus is making ground on the leaders and thus far has outsold the Qashqai with 2,765 cars registered already. But it looks increasingly like the Golf will get the golden boot this year again.

This year the Focus has been given a facelift, and the aggressive new front grille, which has become the new face of Ford, really gives it a lot of personality.

The interior, which was getting dated and falling behind the Golf’s beautiful cabin, has been vastly improved.

The interior feels less cluttered and the new high-tech screen is a much-needed addition, although it comes at a price. You’ll have to add €720 to your bill to get the Sony Sync Gen 2 eight-inch infotainment unit, and a hefty €1,000 to get the sat nav unit.

It’s an option on all models, which disappointed us, given the mid-level Golf comes with a touch-screen infotainment system. 

The Focus has always got top marks for its driving characteristics, and this is one area where it thrives. With all the improvements in the engine department, looks and technology, the way the Focus handles is sublime.

The Focus and Golf are the two stand-outs when you are looking for a family hatch that handles well and delivers a rewarding drive. The chassis of the new Focus has been tweaked and the suspension set-up suits the car’s sporty nature.

The engine choice on offer from Ford will consist of three petrols, the award-winning 1.0-litre Ecoboost (100 &125bhp), a 1.6-litre petrol (85bhp) and a range-topping 2.0 Ecoboost (250bhp) which is only available in the ST model.

The most popular engine for the Irish market will be the 1.6 TDCi diesel (95 & 115bhp) which blends performance and economy very well. It is joined in the diesel line-up by the 150bhp 2.0 TDCi unit. A more powerful 2.0TDCi (180bhp) is available in the diesel-powered Focus ST.

A new 1.5 TDCi unit will be available from the summer, and it could prove to be the best of the bunch. The 1.6TDCi that we tested in the saloon model is a good engine, but it does feel a little dated.

The famed Ecoboost, which powered our hatch model, is a potent little engine, and we absolutely loved it in the Fiesta. There is an issue though — to get the best performance from it you really have to work it and that is to the detriment of economy figures. It’s lively when revved and quiet when zipping around the city streets, but up at motorway speeds the economy suffers. And to think that Ford is putting this into the new Mondeo, surely that can’t work?

There are four specs, the Focus, Style, Zetec and range-topping Titanium, and you can have three body styles, the hatch, saloon and estate. There is a long list of options and you could be quite a while choosing the right Focus for you.

We tested both the saloon in Style spec and the hatch in Titanium guise. It goes without saying that any Ford in Titanium spec is the one to have. It does come with better equipment and looks much better, but you’ll have to stretch the purse strings a further €4,000 over the entry-level model.

The new Focus, with added style and even better road manners, puts it up to the mighty Golf. It just lacks the overall finish of the German giant.

One thing is for sure, though, if you want your family motor to be able to deliver class-leading dynamics, then the Focus is the one for you.

Paul Keown & Robbie Farrell


Model: Ford Focus Titanium 1.0 EcoBoost

Price: From €20,295 (test car €29,425)

Road tax: Band A3 €190

0-100kph: s

Max speed: 192kph

Fuel economy: litres per 100km

Luggage space: 316/1215 litres

Model: Ford Focus Style 1.6 TDCi saloon

Price: From €20,295 (test car €24,095)

Road tax: Band A3 €190

0-100kph: s

Max speed: kph

Fuel economy:  litres per 100km

Luggage space:  litres