Review: Ford Focus (2004 – 2007)

Rating:

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.

Recently Added To This Review

19 February 2019

Report of failure of instrument cluster of 2015 Ford Focus diesel. Could be due to failure of the oil seal to the electronic speedo drive. Costs about £120 to replace. Specialists in instrument... Read more

4 April 2018

Report of speedo drive oil seal failure on 2004 Ford Focus, symptoms as follows: " I have literally picked my car up today from a small garage am on the way home noticed that the speedo wasn't working,... Read more

17 October 2017

Report that 2005 Ford Focus estate 1.6 tdci developed a fault at 88k miles: A red warning light with an exclamation mark in the middle shows on the rev counter screen and the engine loses power. Problem... Read more

Ford Focus (2004 – 2007): At A Glance

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.

 Ford Focus 2005 Range Road Test

 

What does a Ford Focus (2004 – 2007) cost?

List Price from £18,540
Buy new from £13,994
Contract hire from £153.30 per month

Ford Focus (2004 – 2007): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4342–4472 mm
Width 1840 mm
Height 1497–1609 mm
Wheelbase 2640 mm

Full specifications

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.

Which car seat will suit you?

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.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
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.

Average performance

87%

Real MPG

25–65 mpg

MPGs submitted

1183

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.

What have we been asked about the Ford Focus (2004 – 2007)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Should I claim for windscreen damage on my insurance or pay for it myself?

I bought a 2005 Ford Focus with a cracked windscreen. It has no MoT and I've not put it on my insurance yet. Is it best for me to pay £160 to replace the windscreen or put the car on my insurance and then claim through my insurance window cover?
As the windscreen was damaged prior to being placed on your insurance it would be fraudulent to claim for it. We would suggest you pay the £160 yourself.
Answered by Tim Kelly
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