The new Ford Focus is one of the biggest car launches of the year. With a £2,300 lower starting price than the previous version, plus more advanced tech and much more cabin space in the back, should you be considering it for your next car? We took the new Ford Focus for a drive to find out more.
The fourth-generation Focus has been completely redesigned from the ground up, with brand new headline tech on offer. This includes adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition and lane-centring technologies. Plus a new adaptive lighting system that uses cameras to adjust headlamps so you can see round bends in the road.
Ford also says the engines are its cleanest yet, and claims a 10% fuel efficiency improvement. A hybrid version of the Focus will be coming in the future as well.
Keep reading to find out more about what the new Focus is like to drive, plus which trim levels are the best value.
We've driven several versions of the Ford Focus, across varying suspension setups and power outputs. We found all of them easy to drive and comfortable.
Whether in town or on motorways, the Focus feels quiet and refined. If you push it around twisting country roads, you'll find the excellent steering, high level of grip and brilliant suspension makes for a fun and rewarding experience. Not once on our drive did the hatchback or estate version feel cumbersome or clumsy.
As a great new feature, all models have three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. So even those who go for the cheapest Focus can vary how the car feels to drive. In truth, we found that switching to 'Sport' mode added only a little extra to the throttle response. There's not a huge difference compared with the 'Normal' setting.
We also tried out the new 8-speed automatic gearbox, as well as the standard 6-speed manual. Both respond well, with the automatic being pleasantly smooth.
The boot's a reasonable size, although our lab experts will deliver the verdict on just how much useful space it has at a later date. The Focus is roomy enough that a six-footer can comfortably sit in the back, unless you have the optional panoramic roof installed.
The new Ford Focus has no less than seven trim levels to choose from at launch. These offer different sets of additional features, including the all-new tech-packed Vignale trim.
As the new Ford Focus entry price is £17,930 for the Style trim - which is £2,300 lower than the previous model - you may feel you can justify upgrading to a higher trim level.
Ford says that 55% of the previous model owners chose either the Zetec, with cruise control and heated windscreen, or the sporty ST-Line. On the new Focus, they're now £850 and £250 cheaper - we explore whether these upgraded trims are worth your money, below.
Following the continued popularity of SUVs, in 2019 there will be a crossover version of the Focus and Focus Estate; called the Focus Active.
Keep reading to find out the difference between the initial seven trim levels.
The cheapest Ford Focus trim level is no slouch in itself - and could be ideal for budget buyers.
All Ford Focus trim models come with DAB radio with Bluetooth, selectable drive modes (with Normal, Sport and Eco modes offered for the first time), plus key safety tech including autonomous emergency braking, where the car brakes automatically when it detects a collision is imminent.
Launching at the same time is the estate version of the Focus, and even entry-level Style will get handy auto-folding rear seats.
It also comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, an electronic parking brake, tyre pressure monitoring, and hill start and lane-keeping assist technologies.
The Zetec may well be the best-value trim offering.
In addition to what you get with Style trim, the Zetec also adds Ford's Quickclear windscreen - a heated windscreen which saves on scraping time on icy days. It also comes with cruise control with speed limiter for easier driving on motorways and front fog lights.
You also get a larger 6.5-inch touchscreen. As well as adding hands-free voice control and the ability to link your smartphone to the car via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
For those looking for a sportier drive, the ST-Line trim could be best if you're after sharper steering and driving dynamics. Although it doesn't offer more power, we expect Ford to announce an ST hot hatch version of the Focus at some point.
The Ford Focus ST-Line comes with a uniquely styled upper and lower grille, rear spoiler and twin tailpipes. Inside you get a flat-bottomed steering wheel a bit like an F1 car, an aluminium gearknob, alloy-finished pedals and red stitching.
The ST-Line X, from £24,050, further adds 18-inch alloy wheels, red brake calipers and many of the luxury features found on the Titanium X model, detailed below.
The Titanium model of the Focus concentrates on comfort and convenience upgrades. This includes front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry and start.
It comes with an even larger eight-inch colour touchscreen, satellite navigation and more connectivity options to your devices using FordPass Connect.
The Titanium X, from £22,820, boosts the premium feel further. You get partial leather trim, a power-adjustable driver's seat, privacy glass and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The new top-of-the range luxury Focus Vignale has unique front grille and body styling with 18-inch wheels. It's probably the best trim level for tech.
The Vignale and the ST-Line X are also the only models that can get Ford's new adaptive lighting system, that uses a camera to adjust the car's headlights as you go round a bend. Even here, they're only optional extras. It will set you back a further £425 on the Vignale or a whopping £1,050 on the ST-Line X.
The Focus Vignale also comes in an exclusive Dark Mulberry body colour.
The Vignale includes full LED lighting at both the front and the rear, and leather upholstery.
It also comes with a heads-up display, rear view camera, heated steering wheel and 675-watt 10-speaker B&O Play Premium Audio System. The latter is also available as a £350 optional extra on the Titanium, Titanium X and ST-Line X models.