Ford Focus Estate (2014-2018)
“The Ford Focus Estate doesn’t have the biggest boot in a class packed with rivals, but it’s one of the best of the bunch to drive”
- Excellent engine range
- Handsome design
- Good fun to drive
- Suspect residual values
- Not as practical as some rivals
- Hatchback is more driver-focused
Small family estate cars like the Ford Focus Estate used to be considered something of an oddity, but are now a common sight. It’s easy to understand why, because after investing millions (or even billions) of pounds in a new model, it’s relatively easy for manufacturers to offer a more practical version.
It’s good news for customers, too, because the reliability, safety, low running costs and handling of the hatchback tend to be carried over intact, while a stretched boot means there’s more space for all your stuff. Good examples include the likes of the Volkswagen Golf Estate and related SEAT Leon ST and Skoda Octavia Estate, as well as the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, Peugeot 308 SW and Hyundai i30 Tourer. The small family estate could soon dwindle in numbers, though, because the most recent trend has seen buyers flocking to crossovers and SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai, SEAT Ateca and Renault Kadjar.
The Focus Estate offers significantly more boot space than the hatchback, with 476 litres growing to 1,502 litres if you fold down the back seats, but this does lag behind some of the competition. The outright leader for space is the Peugeot 308 SW with an enormous 660-litre boot, as well as 238 litres more space with the rear seats tipped forwards.
In a class devoted to space, this could be a reason to look elsewhere, but the Focus Estate can still offer families plenty of room and it excels in another area. If you enjoy driving, or simply spend lots of time behind the wheel, the Focus rewards with precise steering and a suspension setup firm enough to keep the car level in sharp corners, while still soaking up bumps. For even sportier handling, you can also buy the Ford Focus ST Estate with firmer suspension, larger brakes and high-performance engines; we’ve reviewed it separately.
There’s no shortage of trim levels, starting with the entry-level Style model with highlights including air-conditioning, Ford SYNC Bluetooth and voice control, DAB digital radio and roof rails. Zetec Edition is a worthwhile upgrade, bringing touchscreen infotainment that really improves the looks and functionality of the dashboard, along with Ford’s desirable ‘Quickclear’ heated windscreen. ST-Line adds a sporty look and feel, while Titanium adds luxury and convenience features.
Six petrol and five diesel engines mean customers aren't short of choice, with a range of power and fuel economy figures to suit everyone. In the petrol camp, the 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre EcoBoost are far better impressive, and we’d recommend either of the mid-range 123 or 148bhp models, giving a good balance between speed and efficiency.
Three 1.5-litre diesel engines are available, with 94, 104 and 118bhp, while a 2.0-litre diesel produces either 148 or 183bhp, with the most powerful version reserved for the diesel Focus ST Estate. The 118bhp 1.5-litre is our top pick, with adequate pace for day-to-day driving. With 70.6mpg fuel economy and CO2 emissions of just 105g/km, this engine is a great choice for company-car drivers, thanks to its 23% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating.
The Ford Focus finished 51st out of the 75 cars ranked in our 2017 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK.
Safety should be less of a worry, with Euro NCAP giving the Focus a five-star crash-test rating. A comprehensive roster of safety kit includes airbags, ISOFIX child-seat fixings, tyre-pressure warnings and electronic stability control.
A Driver Assistance pack including Ford’s Active City Stop autonomous emergency braking is an option on the Zetec, ST-Line, Red and Black trims, while it comes as standard on Titanium models. The optional pack also comes with lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition, auto-dipping headlights and technology to detect driver drowsiness.