The past few weeks of running our long-term Focus has been difficult, and that’s because I have been itching to get behind the wheel. I love driving, and throughout this pandemic, it hasn’t been easy resisting the temptation to just go for a spin around the block. Lockdown means lockdown, and aside from essential travel to the supermarket and for exercise, we’re all cooped up indoors. And as I’m rated as a ‘higher risk’ due to the fact that I lost my spleen in a nasty car accident back in 2003, I’ve been self-isolating and haven’t been out any further than the garden.
Compared to the Focus that came before it, this fourth-generation car has really upped its game, both visually and in ability. While some road testers have said that it doesn’t quite feel as sharp as its predecessor, I have to say that I haven’t noticed any shortcomings. In fact, far from it, as our 148bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue edition has a generous amount of torque for swift overtakes, the steering is responsive, and the chassis feels nimble and agile. There’s a planted feel to the way that the Focus goes about its day-to-day business, and ride comfort is phenomenal, even with the 19-inch alloy wheels that come as standard on our ST-Line X specification car. The eight-speed automatic transmissions swaps ratios smoothly and cleanly, and although we still can’t get fully used to the rotary dial on the console, instead of a proper gear lever, it all works slickly.
The cabin of the Focus is roomier than before. In its predecessor, taller occupants may have been wanting more space, but there’s none of that in the latest car. I have the driver’s seat in the furthest back position, and yet I can still sit behind myself. The design of the interior is neat and stylish, and while many have criticised the position of the touchscreen and labelling it as an afterthought, in daily use it’s actually well positioned, and the display is within your eye-line, meaning you don’t have to take your eyes off the road for very long. The sports seats have a huggy nature, keeping you in place when hustling along a country lane. I love the heated steering wheel in the winter months, as it’s a quick way of getting warm when stepping into a frozen car. Ford was the pioneer of the heated front windscreen, way back in 1985 on the executive-class Granada, and ever since has saved owners the need to get ice scrapers out in order to clear Jack Frost’s best work. Coupled with heated seats, our Focus has it covered in the winter months to get moving quickly and warm through its occupants.
One of the main reasons for buying an estate is the loadbay, and the Focus delivers lots of space in a relatively compact footprint. With all of the seats in use, there’s 575 litres of cargo capacity, which compares well to rivals like the Megane and Astra, however, most of the Focus’ other competitors offer more capacity, particularly when the rear seats are folded down. That said, I’ve never found the Focus to be left wanting, and it has swallowed up all kinds of paraphernalia, including a teenagers’ bike, and more visits to DIY stores and recycling centres than is strictly necessary. The seats fold down easily thanks to a pair of levers close to the boot opening. The sill is quite low, too, so you don’t have to have won an iron man competition, just to load items into the back, like you would with an SUV.
As I wave goodbye to my Focus estate after a year on the Robertson driveway, would I recommend buyers to choose one? Like a shot, for definite, however, I’m not sure that I would spend out the additional cash on some of the options that came fitted to my Focus. In fact, I’ve not only recommended this Focus, my brother and sister-in-law have purchased an identical looking Focus Estate ST-Line X in the same colour, but with the 1.5-litre diesel engine in place of our 2.0. There’s no greater endorsement than that!
Date arrived 20th April 2019
Fuel economy 45.6-49.6mpg (combined) 39.8mpg (on test)
The Focus puts the sexiness back into estate cars.
While the engine is made in Dagenham, Essex, it’s a shame that Ford no longer builds any entire cars here in the UK.