The Ford Focus in successive generations has been a very successful car for Ford, going back to 1998 when the original model replaced the Escort.
The Ford Focus in successive generations has been a very successful car for Ford, going back to 1998 when the original model replaced the Escort. Now in its third generation, the Focus remains a consistently popular model, always featuring in the top five best-selling cars in Britain. Around one in eight of all Focuses sold in the UK in recent years has been the estate car, and with the arrival of the current model in the summer of 2011 the percentage of estates in the Focus mix is expected to increase to nearer one in five.
In its latest guise the Focus has become an increasingly high-tech car, with an array of features not previously seen in a car of its size. They include seven advanced driver assistance technologies: Active City Stop, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Blind Spot Information System, Auto High Beam and Driver Alert.
With the Focus Estate there is the same choice of available engines as in the Focus hatchback. The most popular is a diesel engine expected to power nearly half of all Focuses in the UK. It is the 1.6-litre TDCi 114 bhp (115 PS) engine that includes standard Auto-Start-Stop and has CO2 emissions starting at just 109g/km.
Compared with its five-door hatchback sibling, the Focus Estate 20 cm longer and has a 10 cm greater width between the wheel arches. Its maximum carrying capacity with the back seats folded away is 1,502 litres. On-the-road prices start from £17,100.
Ford's 1.6 litre TDCI engine with a 114 bhp power output and 210 lb ft of torque is the best choice of engine for this car. An overboost function provides a useful short-term extra boost of power for overtaking. It has adequate performance for hauling a car that has grown in size over its predecessor, and it delivers its performance smoothly and without undue noise.
While it's no slouch, and is enjoyable behind the wheel, this third generation Focus Estate is not quite the sparkling performer you might wish for. Its predecessor was known for being an entertaining car to drive, with the vibrant responses of a true 'driver's car'. This one is a little different, a bit more restrained in its responses. It has a less exuberant, more grown-up feel behind the wheel. With an overall weight of 1,368 kg, its performance is good but not exceptional. The 0-62 mph acceleration time is respectable, but it does not feel particularly brisk through the gears, and a heavy load will dull the performance.
Ford Focus Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 TDCi Estate|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||120 mph|
|Transmission||6 Speed Manual|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||76.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5 Star|
|Warranty||3 Years / 60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 29/08/11)||£19,595|