Review: Ford Focus (2004 – 2007)
Superb blend of keen handling and ride comfort. Seats five in comfort. five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Bland styling. Estates lack sufficient sound proofing. Turbo failure increasingly common on high mileage 1.6 TDCIs. DMF and DPF failures can also make a cheap Focus diesel very expensive.
Ford Focus (2004 – 2007): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure
The original Ford Focus set the benchmark by which all future hatchbacks will be judged for many years to come. So with such high expectations, replacing that car was no easy feat, but Ford managed to deliver with the second generation Ford Focus. Nothing else combines practicality with such a fine driving experience.
Even Volkswagen admitted that the qualities for the original Focus were its goal when designing the 2004 Golf. This Ford Focus moved the game on even further with improved refinement and quality, while the cabin has a more upmarket feel.
There were criticisms when it was first introduced. Mostly to do with the looks as many people thought it has lost its cutting edge styling and was bland as a result. But the spacious cabin and great handling more than made up for this and when Ford replaced this model with the new Ford Focus in 2008 (essentially a facelifted model) it freshened up the design up, giving it a much sharper look.
There's a great choice of engines available, both petrols and frugal TDCI diesels, plus there's the superb performance Ford Focus ST version. But whichever model you opt for, you'll be rewarded with a car that's enjoyable and easy to drive, whether it's in town or on the motorway.
The all round abilities of the Ford Focus are what has made it so popular and as a result there are no shortage of examples on the second hand market, so you'll be spoilt for choice.
What does a Ford Focus (2004 – 2007) cost?
Ford Focus (2004 – 2007): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 364–1439 litres
Inside, it's ordinary rather than exciting. But it is very well put together with heavy-duty, high-quality materials and a strong, precise feel to everything, particularly the gearshift and the steering. Time to stop making the mistake that Ford builds cheap, mass-market cars. These days Ford does them better than Volkswagen.
Child seats that fit a Ford Focus (2004 – 2007)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Ford Focus (2004 – 2007) like to drive?
Engines are belt-cam Ford 1.4, 1.6 and chain-cam 2.0 litre petrols, a belt-cam 115PS 1.6 petrol with variable vale timing, and PSA's pair of 1.6 and 2.0 belt-cam 16v common rail diesels.
Two hours and twenty minutes in the saddle on some of Scotland's finest open roads with not a twinge of discomfort proved that Ford has got the seats right. Despite a mere 115PS and 114lb ft torque, the new 1.6 Ti-VCT is super sweet engine, perfectly matched to the ideal gear ratios and faultless gearchange. Ride is just a little firm, but still very comfortable because the damping is exactly right. The balance between front-end grip and oversteer is near perfect for a front-drive family car. It always does exactly what you want it to and shrugs off mid-corner bumps which would throw most other cars off line. You feel you are driving something that has been developed, redeveloped and thought about in the sleep of keen, yet sensible drivers over and over again until every aspect of its ride and handling were as good as they could possibly be. It's better overall than the very good new Astra and puts the firm-riding Golf Mk V to shame. No other basic family transport can satisfy a keen driver quite as much without upsetting the kids in the back seat.
Before I forget, I'd better mention something special about the steering. All apart from the 2.0 petrol and 2.0 diesel have conventional very good hydraulic power steering, just like the Mazda 3, and which in the Mazda 3 had a lot more feel to it than the electro-hydraulic set-up of the 2.0 litre versions. So, to overcome criticism of that system, yet still cater for everyone, Ford has made it programmable with three different levels of assistance using the input switch for the information computer. Unfortunately I can't tell you how well that works due to a shortage of diesels on the launch, itself partly due to an engine management glitch which temporarily left some engines in ‘limp-home' mode at a maximum of 2,000rpm.
So all I got to drive was the I.6 Ti-VCT. Interestingly, on paper at least, 0-60 and top speed are virtually identical to the PSA 1.6 diesel which costs £1,060 more as an Euro III or £1,360 more as a Euro IV yet gives you a theoretical 15 mile advantage from every gallon. Obviously the extra torque of the diesel gives it different characteristics, but if it's anything like the same engine in the 206 GTI HDI 110 then it could be just as much fun as the Ti-VCT. You just have to work out if, after taking account of reduced depreciation as well as better economy, the 1.6 diesel makes more sense to you.
You may not appreciate the looks of the new Focus. But if you get pleasure out of every other aspect of the car working sweetly and harmoniously to give you the best drive in the class, and you don't want to pay silly service bills, then the Focus has to be the one to put your money in.
1.6 TDCi UPDATE
I've just spent a week with a Focus 1.6 TDCI 110 Ghia. It has the same smooth 16v common rail diesel engine as the Citroen C4 and Peugeot 407SW also tested here. Slightly higher geared in the Focus at around 31mph per 1,000rpm.
This made it a very quiet cruiser, but tended to emphasis the lack of torque right at the bottom end. However, that was easy to drive around.
The continued impressions with this car are the thought that has gone into it and the quality. There's somewhere inside to put everything, including a Bluetooth phone. The ride, handling, tautness, precision of gearshift, even the 'tock-tock' of the indicator reminder all lift the car way beyond most people's perceptions of a Ford.
The new Focus may not look as good as the old one. But in every other respect it is very close to the perfect family car.
As a footnote, I later shared 10 days with a Focus 2.0 TDCI Ghia. Obviously much faster than the 1.6 with immense grunt and 6 speeds to exploit it. 6th is very high at about 37mph per 1,000rpm and over 600 miles and two brims I averaged 48.5mpg.
|1.4||43 mpg||14.1 s||157 g/km|
|1.6||42–44 mpg||10.8–12.2 s||155–159 g/km|
|1.6 115||43 mpg||10.8–11.0 s||157 g/km|
|1.6 TDCi||59–60 mpg||10.9–12.6 s||124–127 g/km|
|1.6 TDCi 90||60 mpg||12.6–12.9 s||124 g/km|
|1.8||40–40 mpg||10.3–10.5 s||167–169 g/km|
|1.8 FFV||40 mpg||10.3–10.5 s||167–169 g/km|
|1.8 TDCi||53–54 mpg||10.8–10.9 s||137–139 g/km|
|2.0||40 mpg||9.2–9.4 s||169–170 g/km|
|2.0 TDCi||50–50 mpg||9.3–9.5 s||148–149 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Ford Focus (2004 – 2007)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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