First launched just before the turn of the millennium, the Ford Focus has become a common sight in the driveway of many family households.

New at the time chassis dynamics made it a rewarding car to drive no matter what guise you owned. Thanks to its success in the World Rally Championship, sporting models such as the ST and RS were created to fulfil the needs of the sport’s governing body as well as the demand from car enthusiasts.

My wife and I have both owned the Volvo engined MkII ST model, one of which was fairly well tuned to produce similar power to the equivalent RS, and although this generation was a little lardy, they were a fantastic drivers car.

In recent times the Ford Focus has faced stiff competition from Korea with the likes of the Hyundai i30 or the Kia Ceed. The SEAT Leon is another rival that has become increasingly popular, but in Northern Ireland it is most likely the Volkswagen Golf that steals the show in this category.

Retaining the agility and fun-to-drive factor that helped stamp the Ford Focus onto the market over two decades ago, this latest model not only has the right styling to bring it up to date but it is also packed full of tech and safety.

Starting from £27,060 a ‘TITANIUM’ comes equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, full fixed LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights; electrically operated, heated, power fold door mirrors with puddle lamps; quickclear heated windscreen; selectable drive mode and dual-zone electronic air temperature control.

Also featured as standard is the Ford SYNC 4 navigation which features a 13.2-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, emergency assist, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; keyless entry and keyless start; cruise control with adjustable speed limiter along with front and rear parking sensors.

Safety is helped with lane-keeping aid and lane-keeping assist; pre-collision assist with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian / cyclist detection.

Upgrade to the ‘TITANIUM X’ which is priced from £29,260 and you get 17-inch alloy wheels; rear privacy glass; B&O premium audio with 10 speakers; premium seats with full Sensico; heated front seats and steering wheel and a 12.3-inch full digital cluster.

A rural friendly ‘ACTIVE’ is priced from £27,890 and features 17-inch alloy wheels; rugged body styling kit with Active front wing badges; rough road suspension with increased ride height; Nordic blue seat stitching and polished twin tail pipe.

The ‘ACTIVE X’ features 18-inch alloy wheels; B&O premium audio; heated front seats and steering wheel and the 12.3-inch full digital cluster.

Adding some sporting appeal is an ‘ST LINE’ as tested and pictured which is priced from £27,890 and features 17-inch alloy wheels; unique ST-Line grille, full body styling kit and large body coloured rear spoiler; sports tuned suspension; red seat stitching and polished twin tail pipe.

Starting from £30,090 is an ‘ST-LINE X’ which features 18-inch alloy wheels; B&O premium audio; premium seat in Ebony with full Sensico and red stitching and 12.3-inch full digital cluster.

A range topping ‘ST’ is priced from £36,855 and features 19-inch matte finished alloy wheels; dynamic matrix LED headlamps including glare-free lighting; unique ST upper and lower grille with full body styling kit; unique ST sport suspension with limited slip differential; B&O premium audio; electrically adjustable front heated seats; rear view camera; wireless phone charging and red brake calipers.

Available as either a 5-door hatchback or 5-door estate, the Ford Focus has an incredibly simple range of engines. All but the top of the range ST will be equipped with the brands 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbocharged EcoBoost unit. The most basic of which produces 125PS and is paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox.

This engine can also be combined with a mild-hybrid battery system giving you the option of 125PS paired to 7-speed automatic PowerShift ‘box. Or with 155PS which is available with a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic PowerShift ‘box.

For those former boy racers who still need a little more under their right foot during their midlife crisis, the ST is fitted with a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine which produces 280PS and a credible 420Nm of torque allowing it a 0-62mph time of just 5.7 seconds.

At a glance the Ford Focus is a smart looking vehicle, its maker’s signature front end ensuring it is part of its family. Offering a spacious amount of room inside, this latest model can easily slip into your family, too. Luggage capacity in the boot of the Ford Focus isn’t quite what rival’s offer, so it may struggle with the demands of a very young family and large buggies.



Graham is a photojournalist and motoring writer with over 20 varied years of coverage from manufacturer press launches to international motorsport and motoring events throughout the world. Graham is a full member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and Ulster Motor Writers Association.