Ford Focus hatchback

£13,995 - £25,885

The Ford Focus hatchback is a mainstay of the UK car market. It's regularly among the top five best-selling cars in the country, outselling models such as the Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee’d, and trading the top spot with its biggest rivals – the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that popularity means it's run-of-the-mill, because it comes with plenty of kit and some excellent safety features that helped it earn a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating. It's arguably the best car in its class to drive, too.

The Focus comes in five-door hatchback or estate forms (there's no three-door option) and engines include a 1.6-litre petrol, 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol and 1.5-litre TDCi diesel. Buyers can also have Ford's award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, with two different power outputs. The Focus ST hot hatch is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine or a 2.0-litre diesel.

If you don’t do high mileage, then the 1.0-litre EcoBoost is a great choice, with a surprising amount of power, although don’t expect to get near the claimed fuel economy figures. The 1.5-litre TDCi diesel comes in two power outputs, and we’d recommend the 118bhp version if you can stretch to it.

The Ford Focus is available in Studio, Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium, Titanium X and ST hot hatchback trims. The entry-level Studio is pretty basic – it's the only one that doesn’t get the new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. But it does have alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a USB connection. Our pick of the range is the Zetec, which adds a DAB radio, a Bluetooth phone connection and a Quickclear fast-demisting windscreen. If you want the sporty looks of the ST but without the higher running costs, then the Zetec S is a good alternative, as it includes big wheels and a bodykit.