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

  • 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

First drives

Videos

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Lavishly-equipped, rugged-looking Peugeot 508 estate is a pleasant drive, but there are many more recommendable alternatives
  • 308 GT 1.6-litre petrol is priced from £24,095
    First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Peugeot's given the 308 the engine from the 208 GTi 30th and some chassis upgrades; we find out if the changes bring a bit of old-school Peugeot hot-hatch magic to this likeable family hatch.
  • Car review
    26 March 2015
    Does Suzuki's new city runabout have what it takes to succeed?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    Collins Performance has given the Fiesta ST 270bhp and 265lb ft, but has our favourite fast Ford been ruined in the process?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    The Seat Leon X-Perience is the closest thing to an SUV that you can buy with a Seat badge for now, blending estate practicality with off-road ability