Ford Focus (2018 on)

5
reviewed by Petemc1960 on 30 May 2021
4

1.0 125 Titanium EcoBoost 5dr

reviewed by Anonymous on 27 September 2020
4
Overall rating
5
How it drives
4
Fuel economy
5
Tax/Insurance/Warranty costs
4
How practical it is
4
How you rate the manufacturer
4
Overall reliability

A good car to drive and for a family

We purchased our Ford Focus Titanium 125ps (mk4) when it was seven months old, with mileage under 2000. It replaced a Skoda Octavia with a 140ps TSI engine.

Normally we choose subdued metallic colours, but this time we sort out a bright Desert Island Blue one - something to do with the Covid situation, I think!

Though owning the car for a relatively short time, there have been on holidays to North Devon and North Wales, combined with days out and general shopping trips

The first thing to say is that the car is indeed enjoyable to drive - it is very precise on the road, remains flat in bends, doesn't 'float', and is yet very comfortable on nearly all road surfaces. No complaints from our two children either, who are usually winding the windows down before we have left our own road. Some people might prefer the firmer ST line models though.

Space inside is excellent and the ergonomics difficult to fault - visually though, I would prefer to have the centre screen integrated into the dashboard

Power and torque are not always adequate. I had to change gear almost continuously in North Devon, and I've never had to refer to the rev counter quite so much before. In Wales it was better and the difference maybe down to the engine having covered more miles. The gear change indicator is a real joke - the engine would rattle out of its mountings if you tried to follow it.

The Focus is very quiet at 70mph, with the engine feeling relaxed - but if you have to accelerate from 50mph or 60mph to overtake, it just doesn't do so quickly enough to feel safe. If you do a lot of motorway miles, then you will need more power.

Fuel consumption is fine, though I thought it might be better. Forty plus is the norm with 50mpg possible. The problem is that our old 140ps Octavia could manage 54-59mpg on the motorway. Having the trip computer show mpg in real time illustrates that long stretches of uphill motorway can really drag the consumption down - into the low 20's at times! Small engine it maybe, but it can still use a lot of petrol when working relatively hard.

The engine has a mixed personality. Under hard acceleration you hear the much publicised three-cylinder soundtrack, but that contrasts remarkably with the almost silent running otherwise. My wife says the car sounds like it smokes 60 a day on acceleration, and it really should be smoother. The stop-stop is fairly refined, and there is no tiring deep base note as with the TSI engine. Also, the car pulls smoothly away from a standstill, where I was always worried the TSI would 'bog down ‘and stall. The engine is not bad overall - just needs to be a bit bigger and better balanced.

Design, shape, and form are partially subjective, but I really like it. There is visually 'plenty going on', but not too much, and I like the fact that despite the streamlined style and slightly rising rear window line, the rear side windows are still big, allowing lots of light in and a good view out. 'A' pillars are thin but deep so blocking your view a bit at T-junctions. Fine otherwise. I would point out that the sharp creases in the doors are very prominent, and we already have a car parking dent.

True though, quality is not the same as the Octavia, but it is good enough I think even by today's high standards - and there are nice surprises like the HVAC fan being very quiet and the lined door bins. The plastic air intakes at the front under the spotlights do look really cheap though. ST line models look better. To my eyes at least the gaps between panels look a bit large too. Oh, the seat materials look cheap too, but it maybe perception rather than reality.

Titanium gets Sat Nav which is brilliant. The only issue is you really need to use it in conjunction with the navigation option on the small colour driver display, which means I can't have the digital speedometer on at the same time.

I do struggle a bit with the handbrake switch, but that's probably me.

Ultimately, it's a great car, but I wouldn't give it five stars. Ford's 1 litre engine with the top 125ps, (excluding the latest 48v hybrid versions), is not always sufficient, which suggests that a 1.1 to 1.3 litre engine might be better and actually improve consumption. Maybe Ford are a bit fixated with that litre size - a good initial idea blocking better ones - but no doubt cheap to produce and ideal for the WLTP lab tests.

Perhaps they could make the rear bench move too. There is a lot of rear space, but I wouldn't have minded stealing a couple of inches extra for the boot when going on holiday. It is on par for the class, but SUVs offer a bit more size and flexibility here.

Finally, if buying new, you could buy an entry level (SE) Mercedes 'A' class for the same money. I'm not sure it is a better car - certainly not a better family car, but potentially a better financial decision. (It has a 1.3 130ps engine to start and includes heated seats, sat nav and a rear parking camera as standard). I'd rather have the Focus, and I think it says something that it feels like a car that could be even better as an electric car - the torque and variable re-generative breaking would complement the driving dynamics.

Potentially the 48v mild hybrid system will fill the torque gap for now, and I considered waiting for this to be available, but I didn't like the idea of the fan cooled lithium-ion battery being in the cabin with passengers - it's under the passenger seat and you lose the height adjustment too. It's a pity those batteries can't be made more robust so that they could fit under the bonnet. After all, it's a longish bonnet with a small engine - and the battery is only probably the size and weight of a small full case.

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About this car

Price£22,650–£29,765
Road TaxA–E
MPG46.3–80.7 mpg
Real MPG76.9%

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