As a family that loves SUVs, I expected there to be some disappointment and opposition when the Focus arrived. Passengers had got used to the commanding stance, as well as the roominess of the Kuga’s cabin and boot. But to my surprise, the Focus has met universal praise, mainly for its gorgeous looks, the beautiful Desert Island Blue colour and for the comfortable driving position. The rotary dial for the gear selector has been given a thumbs up, even if I still have to look down to select the correct gear.
Of course, it has helped that ‘my’ Focus is the estate variant, as it ups the boot space from 341 litres to a massive 575 litres with the seats up and rises from 1,320 to 1,620 litres with the rear chairs folded down. That compares to 406 and 1,603 litres, respectively, on my previous Kuga Vignale. Surprisingly, the Focus Estate is 137mm longer than the Kuga, so that explains its generous cargo carrying capacity. Mind you, you have to have a degree of self-control driving the load-lugging Focus, as it’s very easy to just throw in another bag and forget about it. Before you know it, the boot is filled up with detritus, just because you can. And we all know what carrying unnecessary weight does to the fuel economy.
And that slides me nicely onto my next subject, mpg, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the 41.9mpg that we’ve achieved in the Focus. After all, it doesn’t have a particularly tiny engine under the bonnet, it’s the 148bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue unit paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Opting for the self-shifting gearbox means an increase of 3g/km on the CO2 front, and a maximum of 7.7mpg, but even so, the 122g/km and claimed 45.6 to 49.6mpg on the new WLTP fuel economy scale is pretty decent for a car with this level of performance. Ford claim a top speed of 127mph and a 0-62mph acceleration time of 9.5 seconds, so this is no sluggard. Only the manual 2.0 EcoBlue Focus and the newly launched ST offer keener performance.
Doctor Diesel frowned at me when I told him my Focus came with 18-inch alloy wheels, however, Ford engineers are masters at getting their cars to ride properly with larger sized wheels. The Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres have great tenacity when cornering and if previous experience of the brand is the same this time around, they should wear well and last longer than rival rubber. At a motorway gallop there’s very little in the way of road or tyre noise entering the cabin, despite estate cars normally being a little noisier on account of the empty box at the back. In fact, I would describe refinement as top notch, and that goes for the sound from the engine, too.
Date arrived 26th April 2019
Fuel economy 45.6-49.6mpg (combined) 48.8mpg (on test)
The sports seats are nicely supportive over longer journeys.
The head-up display is a neat piece of kit, but I’m not sure I’d pay out £400 of my own money for it.