Ford Focus (2018) Review

Looking for a Ford Focus (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Ford Focus (2018) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The Ford Focus delivers just the right blend of family-friendly comfort, young-at-heart handling, jack-of-all-trades practicality and penny-pinching affordability.

+Cheaper to buy and better equipped than outgoing Focus. Improved ride quality. Larger cabin. 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission.

-No electric or hybrid powertrains. Unusual number of electical and electronic system failures reported.

Insurance Group 13
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

The 2018 Ford Focus has all the attributes that have traditionally made the model one of the UK’s best-selling cars, and has accentuated them even further. Yes, a Skoda Scala is cheaper, and a Volkswagen Golf feels posher. However, no rival is better to drive than the Focus, and the Ford does well enough on all these other points to ensure its popularity. It may be one of the obvious choices in the class, but that’s because it’s one of the best.

 

Looking for a Ford Focus (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Occasionally, Fords get accused of being boring. Ordinary. Common. Humdrum, even. But have you ever stopped to think why that might be?

Could it be because they’re absolutely everywhere? After all, they do say familiarity breeds contempt. However, the reason that Fords are such a common sight on our roads isn’t because they’re boring. It’s because they’re popular. Really popular. And why’s that? Well, it’s because most of them are really good.

Take the Focus. This is one of the UK’s best-selling cars each and every year, meaning it’s also one of the most popular, and it has been for a long time. Is it the most glamorous choice? Nope. Is it the most interesting? Probably not. But is it a good choice? You bet.

Let’s start with the area in which it excels the most, and that’s in the way it drives. This is a car with a level of dynamic polish that many more expensive cars could only dream of.

It changes direction with incredible sharpness thanks to strong grip and tight body control, and the controls - the steering especially - give you lots of information about what’s going on, making you feel part of the action every step of the way. And no, it’s not all about boy-racer handling.

It’s just as much about the feeling of safety the car gives you. Ask any little old lady who owns a Focus, and she’ll tell you that she loves driving it, but she doesn’t really know why. Well, that’s why.

Even more impressively, the Focus manages to combine this handling prowess with a level of ride comfort that’s a match for just about anything else in the class, and that’s not an easy thing to achieve.

Meanwhile, you have a wide range of petrol (named Ecoboost) and diesel (called EcoBlue) engines that give a good mix of power, refinement and economy.

The Focus does a very solid job in other areas, too. The latest version is roomier than ever thanks to increased space in the back, and it’s now among the class leaders on that score. The boot is also very competitive on size, and the cabin comes stocked with a decent amount of standard equipment. Most of the latest infotainment gadgetry is present and correct, along with all the important safety gear.

Granted, there is one area in which it struggles relative to many rivals, and that’s on interior quality. Some of the plastics on show inside the cabin just don’t have the lustre that they do in competitors. Judged in isolation, however, it stops short of feeling cheap overall, and there’s no reason to suspect it won’t be durable.

The Focus isn’t the cheapest car of its type, either, but it is very competitive on that score, so it does stack up financially. All in all, we can see why the Focus has proved so popular over the years, and that’s because it’s a sound, sensible - not to mention really enjoyable - choice.

Ask Honest John

I'm looking for a medium-sized hatchback. What's the best model to buy?
"I've got up to £25k to spend. I'm looking at the Volkswagen Golf Mk8 (either the Style or the R). It's a Golf-size car I want, with a diesel engine and automatic gearbox. Is the Golf a better option than a Focus, Astra etc?"
The latest Golf is an excellent car and is unlikely to disappoint – but it's no longer the class leader it once was. If practicality is a concern, look at the Skoda Octavia, while the Ford Focus is a good alternative that's a little more enjoyable to drive. Alternatively, premium contenders like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will all feel a bit more special but won't cost a great deal more to run.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Are Ford automatic gearboxes reliable?
"I am downsizing from a Hyundai ix35 and am considering one of the smaller Fords - the Fiesta or Focus. I want an automatic transmission but I understand that there have been some reported issues with these Ford models. I always buy used and am wondering if there are some years of manufacture to avoid. Can you help?"
Yes, the Powershift automatic gearboxes are reportedly troublesome. You need the latest Fiesta (launched in 2017) or Focus (2018) with the torque-converter auto.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Will optional extras add value to a used car?
"I bought a Ford Focus Titanium X in 2019. At the time I specified every extra possible, which added £5500 to the list price. The car has done 9000 miles and has just had its first service. The used price guides don’t account for options. Is that dead money or can I ask for more?"
Some options will add to the car's value, so you can advertise it a price you're happy with and see what happens. The best thing is to have a look at the classifieds and see how yours compares to allow you to adjust the asking price.
Answered by Keith Moody
What cheap to run automatics can tow a small caravan?
"We're an older couple and want an automatic to tow a small caravan with no heavy extras. Our budget is £15 - £20,000, less if we can. We're not sure if we should be looking at hybrid or not. Most importantly we want something reliable and economic to run, tax and insure. But bearing in mind the engine needs to be big enough for our small caravan. We want to purchase a car around six months to 1 year old. What are your recommendations for reliability and economy?"
An automatic sounds like a good option, although we'd normally recommend a diesel for towing a caravan. You probably won't find a hybrid that can tow your caravan, unless you look at much bigger cars like the Toyota RAV4. Hybrids usually have very low towing capacities (if they can tow at all). A diesel hatchback like a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf would probably be your best option. Both are available with very good automatic gearboxes, should be cheap to run and can tow a small caravan.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Ford Focus (2018) cost?

Buy new from £21,350 (list price from £23,645)