Ford Focus ST-Line X diesel review driving picture
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  • P11D Value/BIK Band: £24,540/ 24%
  • 5-door, 5-seat hatchback
  • Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel
  • Power/torque: 120ps/270Nm
  • Economy/CO2: 74.3mpg/99g/km
  • Performance: 0-62/mph, 10.5 secs/120mph

 

What is it?

NO introduction necessary, surely? The Ford Focus has been in the top-two UK best-sellers pretty will since launch, vying for the number one spot with smaller Ford stablemate, the Fiesta.

Ford has sold almost 2 million Focus cars in the UK, 7 million in Europe and more than 16 million around the world since the first generation Focus was introduced in 1998.

This new Focus has been re-engineered from the ground up.

The most sophisticated range of Ford driver assistance technologies have been integrated to enable an intuitive, stress-reducing and refined driving experience.

Convenience features include FordPass Connect. It’s an embedded modem for connectivity on the move; and a new Wireless charging pad for compatible smartphone devices.

Powertrain options include a further optimised version of Ford’s multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost and new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, both enhanced with Ford’s industry-first cylinder deactivation application for three-cylinder engines.

New 1.5-litre EcoBlue and 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines deliver fuel-efficiency. A new intelligent eight-speed automatic transmission adapts shift patterns to driving style, and is controlled using a stylish and ergonomic Rotary Gear Shift Dial. A mild-hybrid Focus powertrain option will be introduced in 2020.

Available in five-door hatchback and estate body styles, specification levels are Focus Trend and Titanium, sporty Focus ST-Line and upscale Vignale.

The first Focus Active model will be introduced early next year in five-door and wagon body styles, joining the new KA+ Active and Fiesta Active models as part of Ford’s Active crossover range.

It is the first vehicle globally to be based on Ford’s new C2 architecture designed to improve crash performance; deliver more interior space for Ford’s mid-size models without negatively impacting exterior dimensions; and support improved aerodynamics for better fuel-efficiency.

Why would you want to drive a Focus?

  • They’ve always been fun to drive, and this new Focus continues that tradition. It’s engaging for all the right reasons. Good to drive quickly, and a ride that’s supple but at the same time athletic. Which for business motoring is what you want. But of course that alone won’t suffice.
  • So this new Ford Focus brings with it more technology, comfort, space. Its new “human-centric” design for expanded line-up includes first Focus Active crossover and upscale Focus Vignale
  • New Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring technologies help negotiate stop-start traffic which are ideal for company car drivers facing a combination of long motorway journeys followed by town centre navigation to their appointment destination.
  • Oh, and you’ll like this. The first Head-up display for a Ford model in Europe delivers greater confidence at the wheel. Situated in your line of sight it delivers information on navigation, speed restrictions and so on. 
  • Ford Focus now features head up display
    Ford Focus head up display: so useful for business motoring
  • All-new Focus introduces FordPass Connect embedded modem for connectivity on the move, Wireless charging pad, SYNC 3 with 8-inch touchscreen, and B&O PLAY audio – so plenty to keep you entertained and in touch on the move
  • Active Park Assist 2 that now also operates gear selection, acceleration and braking to enable fully-automated manoeuvres at the push of a button
  • Evasive Steering Assist, a segment-first technology that helps drivers steer around stopped or slower vehicles to help avoid collisions – a useful safety feature for SMEs thinking about the safety of their company car drivers
  • Should an accident occur, new Post-Collision Braking technology helps to reduce the impact of a potential secondary collision by automatically applying moderate brake pressure when an initial collision event is detected; slowing the vehicle can potentially lessen injury to occupants and further damage.

What might put you off a Focus?

  • Not a lot to be honest. The Focus has long been held in high regard for its combination of looks, practicality and performance – and for company car drivers and business motorists alike, the new car maintains that reputation
  • Price? At base level things look good but aside from the safety technology which is standard on all models, the available technology comes at a cost and can happily push your £25k Focus nicely over the £31k figure if fully loaded.
  • Can things be a bit too smart? Technology is great until it goes wrong and if you live in an area with poor phone connectivity then don’t even think about FordPass Connect.
Ford Focus ST-Line
Ford Focus ST-Line: sporty appearance, low company car tax

Verdict on the new Ford Focus

Ford describes the new car as the most accomplished and technically-competent Focus and it certainly remains true to the nameplate’s 20-year legacy of class-leading driving dynamics.

This has been further improved with the first Focus-application of Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) technology for the independent front and rear suspension systems; new Drive Modes; an isolated rear subframe for greater refinement; and Ford-patented spring technology.

The car has also matured proportionally, to reflect a more premium, sporting silhouette while offering increased comfort and roominess.

The distinctive new silhouette is achieved principally through positioning the A-pillars further rearward. Rear seat passengers can now actually see out through a side window rather than stare at the C-pillar

Extending the wheelbase by more than 50mm enables a larger tyre diameter, allowing the wheels to be positioned higher into the sheet metal and reducing the perception of length and visual mass. The shorter overhangs and rearward cabin position gives a strong, dynamic stance with a compact impression.

The interior delivers a more accommodating environment with greater perceived quality – achieved using simple, clean lines and integrated surfaces.

It comes across as simplified and less cluttered – Ford said it has reduced the amount of knobs and button by 50% after consultation with customers.

However, we still counted more than 80 which does beg a question or two…

Would you want it as a company car? For long distance drivers, it remain fantastic at the price. And with CO2 emissions at 99g/km the diesel offers a smart combination of highly efficient fuel economy and low company car tax on this model starting from £98 a month.

And in this ST-Line spec the Focus has masses of kerbside appeal. Who wouldn’t want to drive one?


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