Ford Focus hatchback (2011-2014) review

"The Focus is great to drive, full of technology and very refined, but a small boot means it’s not the most practical five-door around."

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

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Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

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  • Sharp handling
  • Efficient diesels
  • Punchy turbo petrol


  • Pretty small boot
  • Studio version feels too basic
  • EcoBoost struggles to match claimed economy

The Ford Focus hatchback is a mainstay of the UK car market, and is a regular fixture in the country's top five most popular cars, outselling newer models such as the Hyundai i30 and Kia Cee’d and trading the top spot with its rivals, the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the Focus’ popularity means it’s a run-of-the-mill hatchback, because it comes with plenty of kit and some excellent safety features that helped it to earn a five-star Euro NCAP 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) and the engine range includes a 1.6-litre petrol, 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol and 1.5-litre TDCi diesel. Buyers can also choose Ford’s award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder turbo petrol in two power outputs. The Focus ST high-performance hatch is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol, with a 2.0-litre diesel being offered from late 2014.

If you don’t cover many miles, the 1.0-litre EcoBoost is a great choice. It’s surprisingly powerful, 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 an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. But it does have alloy wheels, air-conditioning and a USB port. Zetec is the pick of the range, adding a DAB radio, a Bluetooth phone connection and a Quickclear windscreen that demists fast. 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 large wheels and a bodykit.

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