Ford Focus Estate Leasing

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Ford Focus

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Whatcar? Review

For

The Focus Estate is the sweetest-handling of all small estate cars. It's also competitively priced and as practical as most rivals.

Against

Interior quality isn't in the same league as a Volkswagen Golf Estate's and resale values are weak. The low-speed ride might be a little firm for some tastes, too.

Summary

The Ford Focus Estate is a good family estate car: it's great to drive, practical and well priced.

Performance

Entry-level cars come with a basic 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, but that doesn't give much performance. There are also turbocharged 1.0 and 1.5-litre units. Diesel options are two 1.5 and two 1.6-litre engines, along with a 2.0 that's pretty punchy but does feel flat at low revs. There's also the ST version if you want a high-performance Focus Estate; it's available with either a 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engine.

Ride & Handling

The Focus Estate preserves the hatchback's exemplary handling abilities, with strong grip, taut body control and responsive steering; that makes it the most enjoyable car to drive in the small estate class. The low-speed ride might be a little firm for some tastes, but it's supremely well controlled and things get smoother when you're going faster.

Refinement

Progressive brakes and an accurate gearshift mean the Focus Estate is easy to drive. Also, when you just want to sit back and enjoy the journey, the smooth engines and good isolation of wind noise mean it's an accomplished high-mileage tourer. There's a touch more road noise than in the hatchback, though.

Buying & Owning

CO2 emissions are competitive, so the Focus Estate – and the 1.5-litre diesel versions in particular – is a popular choice with company car drivers. However, weak resale values make it less tempting as a private buy, despite the generous discounts that are available. Ford's 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engines don't perform particularly well in our True MPG tests, either.

Quality & Reliability

The Focus's dashboard has an appealing design and an expensive-looking soft-touch covering. However, the plastics on the centre console and central partition are harder and cheaper-looking. By the time you reach the footwells or boot, the plastics look downright budget. The pre-face-lift Focus hatchback got below-average scores for reliability in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey, too.

Safety & Security

The Focus Estate is stuffed with airbags, and every model comes with stability control. One neat bit of kit is 'torque vectoring', which uses the stability control and brakes to distribute the engine's power to the front wheel with the most traction. It's subtle and effective, elevating the Focus's cornering agility and stability far above the class norm. Every version gets an alarm to help fend off thieves.

Behind The Wheel

The Focus Estate's driving position is excellent, thanks to well laid out pedals and a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment. Unfortunately, over-the-shoulder vision is limited, and the touch-screen control system fitted to high-spec models is a little slow to respond and has some small on-screen icons.

Space & Practicality

The Focus Estate is an impressively practical small load-lugger. The boot isn't quite as long as those in the Vauxhall Astra or Volkswagen Golf estates, but it's a fair bit wider, so you'll still cram plenty in. The rear seats fold down completely flat, too. There's not as much room for passengers as there is in a Skoda Octavia, let alone a Golf, but there's still plenty of space in the back for three small children or two large adults to be comfortable.

Equipment

Air-conditioning, a digital radio and Bluetooth are fitted across the range, but we'd go for Zetec trim, which comes with alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and a heated windscreen. Titanium is another good choice, because it adds dual-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touch-screen control system, rear parking sensors and cruise control for a relatively modest price hike. Titanium X trim is well equipped but expensive, so we'd give it a miss.