Ford calls the Focus the best-selling nameplate in the world. There’s an asterix and a bit 
of a disclaimer to go with that, but no one in the UK can deny that 
the Blue Oval’s family hatch has achieved ubiquity.

Whether in the guise of a first-generation model bought for peanuts or an example of this, the sixth iteration (counting major and minor revisions), the Focus is as common 
a sight on the average journey as traffic lights or roundabouts.

That it has achieved this kind of omnipresence has something to do with Ford’s historically strong position in the UK and a command of the mainstream that can be traced back to the origins of the motor car itself.

However, much credit is owed to 
the Focus itself. Its standout feature, at least for this magazine, has been its handling – a feelsome, responsive mix of comfort and verve not bettered anywhere until the arrival of the most recent Fiesta.

Recent versions of the Focus haven’t excelled in this regard quite like the first few, but Ford’s attention has been redirected as it seeks to meet the challenge of a new breed of upmarket alternatives.

This facelifted Focus continues that effort. As before, the C-car global platform underpins the model, but its new look doesn’t offer any additional cabin space.

Instead, this update is about consolidating the Focus’s lead position, so driver assistance, connectivity, in-car tech and interior design are revised, and a new engine line-up of four core powerplants – the 1.0 and 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol motors and new 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesels – in various outputs, introduced.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

  • More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Leon
    Seat offers five engines for the Leon, ranging from a 104bhp 1.2 petrol to a 181bhp 2.0 diesel

    Seat Leon

    3
  • Mazda 3
    The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

    Mazda 3

    4
  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week