Used Ford Focus review: 2011 to 2018 (Mk3) - Running costs, MPG, CO2 emissions and insurance

The Ford Focus is at its best for economy with a diesel engine fitted, but the petrol motors are okay for local trips

Carbuyer Rating

3.6 out of 5

Running costs, MPG, CO2 emissions and insurance Rating

4.0 out of 5

This generation of Ford Focus was launched in 2011 and was beginning to lag behind newer rivals such as the latest Peugeot 308 and Volkswagen Golf for emissions and fuel economy. However, a late-2014 facelift introduced a range of new engines and technologies that closed the gap.

Don’t overlook the earlier models, though – they are great value on the used market because they are getting a bit older now and prices are pretty low. This can offset running costs, since you’ll need to do a lot of miles to make a huge saving on running costs with a newer model.

How much do used Ford Focus models cost?

The Ford Focus will cost around the same price as a similar Vauxhall Astra or Volkswagen Golf; these models competed for buyers when new and have similar residual values. You’ll find that the Focus sits somewhere in between those two rivals (the Astra is worth slightly less and the Golf a bit more) but you can check current prices on our sister site Buyacar.

The Focus ST is also something of a bargain compared with rival hot hatchbacks. Like the Skoda Octavia vRS, it’s also available as an estate and with a choice of petrol or diesel engines. Both are excellent all-round cars that combine sporty performance with practicality. The Focus RS is much more uncomfortable but it’s fantastic to drive, so it commands much higher prices.

What’s it like for fuel economy, emissions and tax?

The cleanest engine in the range is the 103bhp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel in ECOnetic model, which has fuel economy of 83.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 88g/km. There's also a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which returns an also-impressive 70.6mpg and emits just 105g/km of CO2. Remember that these figures were achieved on the outdated NEDC test cycle, so may be difficult to replicate in real driving.

The other highlight of the Focus engine range is the 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol. This award-winning engine is a cleaner alternative to Ford’s standard 1.6-litre petrol. In both its 98bhp and 123bhp forms, it achieves 58.9mpg, while CO2 emissions are around 110g/km.

There's also an EcoBoost-badged turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. This comes with either 148 or 179bhp, both of which return 50.4mpg and have CO2 emissions of 128g/km. However, we’ve found the claimed fuel economy figures hard to match.

Models built after April 2017 cost £155 a year to tax, while versions before that are taxed based on CO2 emissions and are generally quite a bit cheaper than that – for example, the 1.6-litre diesel costs just £20 to tax.

The older 1.6-litre petrol model returns around 47.8mpg, while the 1.6-litre diesel manages around 67.3mpg. It’s quite hard to compare numbers on many models since the rating system that measures economy changed during the Focus Mk3’s lifetime. 

The Focus ST and RS models will return about 40mpg and 35mpg respectively, although there was also a diesel version of the ST that can achieve more than 50mpg.

How much will it cost to insure?

Insurance groups are pretty reasonable for the Focus range, the majority of models falling between 11 and 17, depending on engine size and trim level thanks in part to the car’s range of safety features. The automatic city braking system, for example, knocks a couple of groups off the final insurance rating. The sporty ST-Line model falls into group 22, while the entry-level Style has a low group 6 rating.

The most expensive models to insure by far will be the ST and especially the RS models, as they’re powerful and feature unique parts and bodywork that are more expensive to replace, so insurers place them into higher groups.

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