Ford Focus (2014 – 2018) Review
Ford Focus (2014 – 2018) At A Glance
As one of the nation’s most popular new cars, you’re not short of choice when buying a used Ford Focus. Launched in 2014, it was more a heavy facelift of its predecessor than an all-new model, but the changes were so significant, it felt like a new car. The exterior styling looks more premium, the infotainment system went up a level, and the new range of engines gave the Focus added punch and efficiency. Rivals include the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, but for driver appeal, nothing can top the Focus.
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‘It doesn’t drive as well as a Ford Focus.’ How often have you read that line in a new car review? Far too often, but the fact remains, few cars can rival the Focus in terms of driver appeal. It’s been that way since the original Focus arrived in the late 90s.
Or has it? In truth, the Focus launched in 2011 failed to live up to expectations, making it feel like an also-ran, rather than a class leader. Something had to be done, which is why Ford rolled out some wholesale changes for the 2014 car.
Take the styling. Park a 2014 Focus alongside a 2013 car and the difference is stark. One looks old and frumpy, while the other looks sharp and contemporary. Dare we suggest that the front grille gives it the feel of an Aston Martin?
Changes on the inside extended to a simplified dashboard and a new infotainment system. Again, the difference between old and new is like night and day. There were new engines, too, including a remarkable 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol and a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel. Neither can offer the fuel economy claimed by Ford, but both offer an excellent blend of performance and economy.
It’s even better to drive than the outgoing model, feeling sharper, yet riding with more composure. Anyone who bought a new Ford Focus in 2013 would be forgiven for feeling a little grumpy when Ford unveiled the new car.
So far, so good, but the Focus is far from perfect. The boot is too small, laughably so if there’s a full-size spare wheel in the back. Rear-seat accommodation is a little cramped, especially for tall passengers, which means some rivals are more practical. You can see why so many people are gravitating to crossovers and SUVs.
Then there’s the cabin quality, which is fine, but nothing more than that. Some of the plastics and switchgear feel cheap, and there are none of the soft-touch materials you might find in, say, a Volkswagen Golf. At least it looks more upmarket, both inside and out.
It’s also worth mentioning the ride quality, which isn’t as supple as you’d find in the Golf or Astra. Not that we’re complaining, because the sharp handling, precise steering and taut suspension combine to make this a fine driver’s car. A Focus 1.0-litre Ecoboost feels like a junior hot hatchback that’s big enough to take the family along for the ride.
There’s a Focus for all. An estate version if you require more space. Titanium and Titanium X models for more toys and luxury. A hardcore RS for hot hatchback thrills. And a sporty ST for the best of both worlds. Prices start from £5,000, so a used Focus needn’t break the bank.
We don’t know what’s more remarkable, the fact that Ford dropped the ball so much when building the earlier Focus, or the fact that the 2014 update was such a comprehensive overhaul. Whatever, you know which Focus you need to buy. All that’s left is to decide on the engine and trim.