Ford Focus Hatchback Leasing
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The Focus is the sweetest-handling car in its class. It's also refined, safe and has competitive CO2 emissions.
The boot is small and cabin quality is no match for the class leaders'. Some of the engines aren't particularly efficient in real-world driving.
The Ford Focus is great to drive and comes with lots of safety equipment, but several rivals are more practical and have classier interiors.
The 99bhp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol is ideal around town, with smooth and decently strong acceleration from low revs. Go for the 123bhp version if you regularly drive on the motorway, though. Both turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol models are quick but pricey, and we'd also steer clear of the non-turbo 1.6 petrols, which have to be worked quite hard. The 118bhp 1.5 is the best diesel option – it revs sweetly and is punchy enough to make the 148bhp 2.0 hard to justify. The ST versions are fast.
Ride & Handling
Ford has a knack for producing sweet-handling cars, and the Focus continues this trend. Strong grip and solid body control make it feel wonderfully agile in bends, while the super-accurate steering weights up progressively the faster you go. The ride is pretty good, too, although it isn't as smooth as a VW Golf's.
When you just want to sit back and enjoy the journey, the quiet engines and good isolation of wind noise help make the Focus an accomplished cruiser. There's too much road noise on the motorway, though. Still, there's not much mechanical vibration and the Focus is easy to drive, thanks to strong, progressive brakes and an accurate gearshift.
Buying & Owning
CO2 emissions are competitive, so the Focus – 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, even though generous discounts 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 fascia and central partition are harder and cheaper-looking. By the time you reach the footwells or boot, the plastics look downright budget. In the latest JD Power survey, the pre-face-lift model was rated as below average for reliability.
Safety & Security
The Focus is stuffed with airbags, and every model comes with electronic stability control. There's also 'torque vectoring', which uses the stability control and brakes to distribute drive to the front wheel with the most traction, making the Focus feel supremely agile yet stable. Items such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning are available as optional extras. All but entry-level models have an alarm.
Behind The Wheel
The Focus's driving position is spot-on, thanks to well laid out pedals and a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment. Unfortunately, over-the-shoulder vision is limited, and while the touch-screen control system fitted to high-spec models is simple enough to navigate, it can be a little slow to respond and some of the on-screen icons are small.
Space & Practicality
The cabin isn't quite as spacious as a VW Golf's, but there's still comfortably enough space for four. However, the boot is a bit pokey compared with some rivals', and if you want to fold the rear seats flat, you'll need to flip up the seatbases first.
Air-conditioning and a USB connection are standard across the range, while going for Zetec trim gets you a 4.2-inch colour screen, alloy wheels, DAB radio, Bluetooth and a heated windscreen; it's what we'd go for. You may want to upgrade to Titanium trim, however, which gets an 8.0-inch touch-screen system that gives the cabin a real lift. Range-topping Titanium X versions have loads of kit, including a rear-view camera and bi-xenon headlights.