When the Ford Focus was launched in 1998, it became the class leader instantly and, in its first two generations, we can count on the fingers of one hand the number of months we haven't considered it as the leader in its segment. But does that still remain the case?

Rivals have come and gone with varying degrees of anonymity and success – Fiat Bravos, Renault Méganes, Honda Civics, Alfa Romeo 147s, Toyota Corollas and Aurises – and nothing, except the Volkswagen Golf, has come close to making the Focus anything other than the most easily recommendable medium-sized family car.

Today there are fewer differences than ever between Focuses made for different markets under the global 'One Ford' plan, so this is not just a Euro-centric car.

That said, as is usual for a European Focus, the car is available with myriad engine choices, including Ford’s excellent Ecoboost technology, most notably through a highly-efficient 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit. Trims include the usual names, including popular Edge, Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X levels.

Looking for a Ford Focus for sale? Visit PistonHeads Classifieds

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

  • Volkswagen Golf

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The popular Ford Focus in 1.5 TDCi Zetec form
    The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon

    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

    Peugeot 308

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Ford Focus RS Mountune FPM375
    First Drive
    20 January 2017
    Does an official Mountune upgrade of 25bhp and 30lb ft, improve the already rampant and rather magnificent Ford Focus RS?
  • Audi S5 Sportback
    First Drive
    19 January 2017
    The Audi S5 Sportback is more bruising GT than practical sports car, but it makes sense for those wanting a fast executive saloon in coupé get-up
  • First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Despite receiving a cosmetic and mechanical refresh, Lexus's compact executive saloon still fails to provide much driving involvement
  • 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 5h review
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    Big-selling plug-in SUV gets a light refresh in the face of new challengers to offer decent economy but only average driving dynamics
  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be