Ford Focus estate (2004-2011)
“The large and well proportioned boot makes the Focus Estate a useful car for business and family users alike.”
- Usefully sized, well proportioned boot
- Good to drive yet comfortable
- Excellent economy from diesel engines
- Not as well equipped as rivals
- Limited rear legroom
- Small engines struggle when carrying big loads
The Ford Focus Estate offers all the driver appeal of the basic hatchback, but adds even more practicality. It’s not particularly pretty, but it’s aimed at customers who value space and practicality over everything else. As a result, its large, squarely-proportioned boot is easy to access. The engine and trim lines echo the hatchback models, with Style specification offering air-conditioning and Zetec adding stylish extras, including alloy wheels. Turbodiesel engines make the most sense in what’s a workhorse of a car, the 1.6 TDCi blending respectable performance with excellent economy and low emissions.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Choose the diesel engines for punchy performance and the most satisfying fuel consumption - the 1.6 TDCi returns 62.8mpg on the official combined cycle. Parts and servicing should be inexpensive too, and with a huge choice of dealers, it’s worth phoning a few to get the best price on regular servicing. Insurance should be sensible, but the Focus Estate won’t hold its value as well as the VW Golf Estate - meaning it’ll be worth less when you come to sell it.
Engines, drive & performance
On the road, the Focus Estate impresses with precise steering and comfortable suspension. Comfort is good in all models, although the diesel engines can rattle a bit when starting from cold. Petrol engines are smooth, and the gearshift is light and easy. The smaller petrol engines need working hard if you’re intent on filling the Focus Estate with passengers and using all the boot space.
Interior & comfort
A spacious interior, decent refinement and a well considered driving position make the Focus Estate a useful and comfortable family or working car. Legroom is tight in the rear, but headroom is good, and sitting three adults abreast on the rear seats is possible - although only advisable for shorter journeys. The Focus Estate’s well controlled suspension and firm yet supportive seats make longer drives an ache-free affair. Ford has worked hard on ensuring its cars are easy to access and comfortable for all - with good results.
Practicality & boot space
The Estate is the most practical model in the Focus-based range. It has a large, square 503-litre boot, while tough materials mean it’ll put up with heavy use. The rear seats fold flat quickly and easily for when you need the Estate’s ultimate carrying capacity, offering 1,525 litres of load space when you do so. That's marginally more than the Volkswagen Golf Estate. For those wanting the fine driving attributes of the hatchback but a bigger load area, then the Focus Estate is the perfect choice.
Reliability & safety
It’s not the youngest model when compared to direct rivals, but that should mean early reliability problems have been ironed out. Ford has been steadily improving in the Driver Power survey ratings, although the Focus came 51st in the top 100 for reliability. Crucially that was higher than its key competitor, the Vauxhall Astra.
Price, value for money & options
The Focus Estate isn’t quite the good-value proposition it once was. The car's appeal is still strong, but newer rivals are more versatile and better equipped. Shop sensibly and Ford dealers will offer decent discounts, though.