Ford Focus (2014 – 2018) Review

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.

‘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

Ford Focus - how reliable is the PowerShift automatic gearbox?
"How good or bad is the Powershift automatic transmission in comparison to a conventional torque converter transmission?"
We've received a number of complaints about the older Powershift gearboxes fitted before 2017. Most problems can be avoided with a transmission fluid change every four years. I've yet to hear of any major issues with Ford's torque converter 'boxes or the newer versions of Powershift.
Answered by Dan Powell
Ford Focus EcoBoost - when should I change the cam belt?
"When would you advise changing the cam belt on my 2016 Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost?"
The three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost engine uses a 'wet belt' system that runs the cam belt in oil to prolong its life up to 10 years or 150,000 miles (whichever comes first).
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I be concerned about MoT advisories on a Ford Focus Titanium 2015?
"We are planning to buy a 2015 Ford Focus. However, I am a bit concerned about the two advisories on an MoT done in August 2021: Nearside Rear Suspension arm pin or bush worn but not resulting in excessive movement (5.3.4 (a) (i)) Offside Rear Suspension arm pin or bush worn but not resulting in excessive movement (5.3.4 (a) (i). Can you please advise on how serious are these advisories and the cost implications in future? Should I consider them as a deal breaker to buy this car?"
This is a fairly normal advisory to see on an MoT. Suspension bushes are consumables made of rubber that do perish. It's very common that these need replacing after a car has been on the road for a few years - it's usually a straightforward job for a garage that shouldn't cost more than a few hundred pounds at the most.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
Why is my car's tyre making a ticking noise?
"I have a 2015 Focus and recently noticed a slight ticking noise from the front right tyre whilst driving. It is very faint and doesn't always manifest itself, especially at higher speeds. I thought it may be a stone or nail in the tyre but after thoroughly checking, this was not the case. I jacked the car up and rotated the wheel to see if I could hear anything. I then noticed that there was something rolling around inside the tyre as I turned the wheel. Could this be the cause of the ticking? Is it safe to drive until I can get it to a tyre shop to get said object removed?"
This reads like internal tyre damage. A piece of the TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system) may have broken off. I would suggest replacing the wheel (if you have a spare) or using a mobile fitter to repair or replace the tye.
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

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