Ford Focus (2014 – 2018) Review

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Ford Focus (2014 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
This Ford Focus may not have been brand new but nonetheless it's good to drive, fairly practical and it feels well made. Factor in the improved cabin and high-tech features and the Focus is a great choice.

+Relaxed but still enjoyable to drive, well-equipped for the money, a huge choice on the used market.

-Not as practical as some rivals, can’t match its claimed fuel economy, firm ride.

Insurance Groups are between 10–26
On average it achieves 72% of the official MPG figure

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.

Ask Honest John

My newly-bought car clunks in lower gears. Is this normal?
"I recently bought a 2017 diesel Ford Focus, which clunks in the lower gears when I release the clutch. I have been told by Ford that it is the dual mass flywheel — which is totally normal but seems odd to me. Is this correct or are they pulling a fast one?"
A clunky dual mass flywheel is not a sign of positive mechanical health for your car. Either the DMF is unbalanced or the noises are coming from the flywheel itself and it is starting to fail. Either way, I'd expect the garage/dealer that sold you the car to investigate and repair the fault. For your consumer rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I run my 2014 Focus into the ground or sell it while it's still got some value?
"My 2014 Ford Focus already has about 61,000 miles and I'm considering whether I should sell and buy a used or new car, or run the Focus into the ground instead. Fuel efficiency hasn't been great as it's an automatic petrol (40mpg). I go about 120 miles on the motorway on normal working days and, for a family with two little ones, it's starting to feel a little tight with space with the kid's car seats. I'm not a keen on a manual or diesel car, but would consider either automatic petrol or petrol/hybrid. Any suggestions? "
It sounds like your family's outgrowing the Focus. I'd be tempted to upgrade while it's still got some value. Don't dismiss diesels - they make a lot of sense for 120 motorway miles a day. I'd be looking for a diesel crossover SUV like a Skoda Karoq - it'll be very practical, efficient and comfortable for motorway driving. Also consider a Peugeot 3008 or, if you'd prefer an estate, perhaps a Ford Focus Estate or Kia Ceed Sportswagon.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What is the Real MPG fuel economy of the Ford Focus EcoBoost?
"I'm only getting 37mpg from my 2017 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost 140. That's well below any figure I've seen published by Ford. Any idea why this is the case? "
It's no secret that the majority of cars on the road do not meet their official advertised fuel economy figures. The old NEDC system (which your car was tested against) has many flaws and has been replaced with a more modern WLTP test: Some readers get better economy by using branded super fuels, which might be worth trying. You can see all of the Real MPG scores for the Ford Focus here:
Answered by Dan Powell
Soft brake pedal on Ford Focus - what's the cause?
"Any ideas please on a soft/long brake pedal on a 2014 Ford Focus 1.6 diesel. I have bled the brakes and the pedal is better but then gets softer over the course of the next two/three weeks? I have checked the rear wheel cylinders for leaks and they seem ok. There is no loss of fluid either. I am puzzled by this, can you help?"
You say you have checked the rear wheel cylinders, did you check the front as well? In addition, have you checked all the associated brake hoses to ensure they are in good condition? Have you also had a brake fluid change at any time? If all of the above is good then we would suspect that the brake master cylinder may be the problem and as such would suggest that you get it checked out at a local Good Garage:
Answered by Alan Ross

What does a Ford Focus (2014 – 2018) cost?

Buy new from £17,036 (list price from £22,045)