Whenever I come back to the Focus after driving other cars solidly for an extended period of time, it gives me a sharp reminder of how brilliant the medium-sized Ford is. From the beautifully chunky steering wheel to the laid-back driving experience, it’s all top notch. In previous incarnations of the Focus, they could be criticised for indifferent plastic quality the further down the car you go, but not so in this generation of car. All of the surfaces have a nice feel to them and more have a squidgy ambience.
I think ‘my’ Focus is very much the Goldilocks specification, in that it delivers the best of all worlds. While it has a distinctly sporty silhouette, Ford engineers haven’t given the car an unyielding ride, to reinforce in no uncertain terms that you’re driving something dynamic. And excluding the long list of optional equipment that came fitted to this particular car, I reckon the product planners at the Blue Oval have got the standard kit list just about right. So much so, that if I had been in control of the purse strings and ordered the car for myself, rather than choosing a car already built, I would probably just opt for a metallic colour and keep the car standard. After all, items like a navigation system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, automatic wipers, rear privacy glass, electric driver’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and power folding door mirrors are already included as standard. Perhaps I would be tempted by the £150 heated steering wheel, though.
It’s the comfortable, easy driving experience that impresses, too. A twist of the rotary dial to select ‘D’, a prod of the throttle to release the electric park brake and you’re off. The supportive part-leather sports seats are both comfortable and figure hugging and ensure that you emerge from the car in a decent state at the end of each journey. In some cars, I’m forever adjusting the driver’s seat, to alleviate some stiffness in my back, but with the Focus I can leave it in situ. The placement of the essential controls, like the electric window switches, for example, are perfectly in tune with where you would want them. I love the warm blue backlighting to the cupholders and the instrument needles and find them very soothing late at night.
I’ve already mentioned that the flat-bottomed steering wheel feels pleasingly substantial, and its design makes getting in and out easier, as you swing your legs round. There may be lots of buttons either side of the central airbag cover, but there’s nothing complicated about them. In fact, it’s a rarity that I need to move my hands from the wheel to find another button, with both the switches for the cruise control and the audio system logically arranged. With my iPhone connected to the infotainment system via Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay, I must confess to being a bit of a track surfer, only listening to a small segment of the whole song, before wanting to move onto the next one. That’s nice and easy to do, with my right-hand thumb ready to press the next track button as soon as I get bored.
Date arrived 26th April 2019
Fuel economy 45.6-49.6mpg (combined) 44.5mpg (on test)
The amount of storage on offer in the centre console is excellent.
The touchscreen seems to attract fingerprints really easily, which makes everything look a bit grubby.