Back in 1998 the first Focus brought new standards of dynamics to the everyday car market. The second version was a tad more bland in most respects. Now we are back in business with a Focus that is easy to look at and fit for the modern market.
The styling is familiar from the Fiesta and with key colours such as Candy yellow, it really stands out on the road. Under the skin there are improvements to suspension and steering. Engines are strong on economy and emissions.
Most powerful option at the moment is the relatively modest 150PS 1.6-litre Ecoboost petrol. This gives quite a spirited drive and has an amplified exhaust note when accelerating hard. Ford claims 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds with a 130mph top speed.
Given the pleasure it gives to drive, the Ecoboost has respectable returns with 47mpg combined and 139g/km emissions. So this is the driver’s choice but it costs a hefty £19,745 with a six-speed manual box and the lavish Titanium trim.
The cheapest Focus to buy is the £15,995 1.6-litre Edge petrol with a sluggish 105PS petrol engine taking 12.3 seconds to reach 62mph with little improvement on the green side with 48mpg and136g/km. There is also a 125PS version of this engine giving a more respectable 10.9 seconds on the 0-62 and emitting 136g/km. This comes from £17,495 in Zetec trim.
With more than half of Focus sales going to fleets, the more frugal diesels will score. The cheapest to run is the £16,995 1.6 TDCi with stop-start which does 67mpg on the Combined Cycle and emits just 109g/km. Performance is steady rather than sparkling. There are 95 and 115PS versions of the 1.6 diesel with six-speed gearboxes from £16,995 in Edge trim.
There are a couple of premium 2.0-litre turbo diesels offering 140 or 163PS and coming in Zetec trim from £19,495. These have six-speed manual gearboxes with the option of PowerShift auto. Prices for the new Focus are generally around £500 up on the current model but equipment levels are higher.
As well as making the Focus better to look at and to drive, Ford has also made it smarter. A barrage of well-priced options are available to match that of premium makes. Many of these are familar from Volvo which Ford used to own.
A £750 drive assistance pack includes active city top, lane departure warning, driver alert, traffic sign recognition, auto high beam and blind spot warning. These compensate for driver weakness. If you miss a speed limit sign it is displayed for a period on the dash, if you are nodding off the car warns you and can actually stop automatically from low speeds if you are about to hit an obstacle.
Another pack for £525 includes park assist and folding mirrors whilst an audio navigation system with six speakers is available for £550. Try buying all those items from the German prestige makes and the bill would be thousands. At last affordable technology for the people.
Ford is still developing greener versions of the Focus including Econetic models with emissions below 100g/km and a full electric-powered model with zero emissions.