Ford Focus hatchback (2011-2014) - Reliability & safety

Quality and safety is improving, but the Ford Focus isn't as well built as a Volkswagen Golf.

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

3.9 out of 5

Reliability

The Focus’ main competitor has always been the Volkswagen Golf, and the Focus has consistently come second-best for reliability. That still holds true, but the gap has never been closer, with Ford’s entire current range of cars making a significant improvement. The Focus itself has had mixed fortunes, with a tendency to yo-yo up and down the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey in recent years.

The 2013 survey saw it drop 51 places down to 70th place in the top 100 list of cars. That’s especially disappointing given that the Focus actually pulled off the very unusual feat of climbing 59 places up the chart to come 19th in 2012. In reality, it just puts the Focus about where it probably would have been if it had never reversed the usual downward trend of the survey in the first place.

Ford itself doesn’t perform as well as you might think, given its status as the UK’s biggest car manufacturer. It improved by two places in the 2013 survey, ranking 23rd out of 32 brands in the manufacturer rankings.

This Focus’ interior is much better quality than its predecessors, constructed with superior plastics and sturdier switchgear that give it a more upmarket feel. With the new eight-inch touchscreen fitted to late-2014 facelift models, it feels very hi-tech, too.

There have been some minor electrical gremlins reported on some cars, but a visit to a Ford dealer appears to resolve the issues with a software update. Of course, as time progresses more issues will arise, but so far the current Ford Focus appears to be reliable and fault-free for the majority of owners. Roughly two-thirds would recommend the Focus to a friend.

Safety

Ford has also been on a big safety push – along with all the major manufacturers – and the Focus earned the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash-safety tests. Every model has front, side and curtain airbags, lane-departure warning and a driver tiredness monitor as standard.

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