One of the most pleasing aspects of running an estate car, is the fact that you don’t have to think twice when going out shopping. Whether it be flat packed furniture, a week’s worth of groceries, or this month’s festive purchase, it is simply swallowed whole by the capacious Focus. The Robertson Christmas tree went into the back of the Ford with relative ease, after folding down the rear seats. And that’s pretty easy thanks to the levers thoughtfully located just inside the rear tailgate. All that was needed was a protective tartan rug – the one that Baxter the dog uses to stop his muddy paws from dirtying the inside of the car, when he gets taken to a country park for a longer run.
Compared to the Focus’ main rivals, the pretty estate car is decently endowed with space, with 575 litres of carrying capacity with the seats up, and a huge 1,620 litres with them folded down. This compares to 540 and 1,630, respectively, with the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, and 587 and 1,470 with the SEAT Leon Estate, though all are outsized by the Peugeot 308 SW that has a massive 660 litres with the seats up and 1,775 litres when folded down.
Most estate cars seem to get noisier when the load cover is removed and the wide, open space revealed, but the Focus is pleasingly hushed in either scenario. In fact, road, tyre and wind noise are all neatly contained, no matter the speed on the dashboard. And while on most cars, the larger the alloy wheel, the firmer and more unyielding the ride, Ford engineers have worked their magic and ensured that occupants don’t feel every lump and bump. Sure, there’s a firmer edge to the suspension than you’ll experience in a Zetec, Titanium or even the plush Vignale, but for someone like me that is decidedly built for comfort, rather than speed, it is very well balanced. I’d rather not have to clench every time I reach a speed hump, or wince when I travel over a heavily rutted surface. Some rival manufacturers think that a sporting estate must be bone-jarringly hard in order to deliver a smile to the face, which is a path that Ford has proved to be wrong.
Even after the recent discontinuation of the entry-level Style versions of the Focus, there’s a bewildering number of different models in the range. Would you believe 142, taking into account both petrol and diesel, and hatchback and estate. Most versions have a choice of up to nine different colours, and at least ten optional extras, which means a huge number of different permeations. I’m all for customer choice, but I can’t help wondering whether Kia’s approach is a more sensible one, keeping optional extras to a minimum and a relatively limited colour palette. It helps to reduce the wait time for their cars, as there’s more chance of a car being in stock that you want to buy, rather than having to wait up to 16 weeks for a car to be built specially for you at the factory.
Date arrived 26th April 2019
Fuel economy 45.6-49.6mpg (combined) 43.9mpg (on test)
A handy hook in the boot gives you somewhere to hang your takeaway when you’re driving home on your own.
Apart from some red stitching to the steering wheel and seats, it’s all quite dark inside the cabin. An extra splash of colour would work wonders.