• A big seller is the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in Zetec trim.
  • The rear lights get an ‘edge’ on them to quickly break the air flowing past them from the body
  • The front end is almost completely sealed to improve aerodynamics
  • Ford’s ‘kinetic’ design theme features lines that emerge out of the body only to meld back into it later
  • This spoiler is standard, reducing drag around the rear and improving stability
  • The pleasingly sculpted steering wheel can get up to four sets of buttons
  • No complaints about space in the front. Fascia design is very driver-focused
  • Rear passengers fare modestly well, but this isn’t Focus’s strongest attribute
  • Boot space is decent; capacity extends to 1148 litres with rear seats folded
  • The trip computer shows some excellent graphics, and at a high resolution
  • The Focus is the standout car in the class when it comes to noise suppression
  • The best petrol engine is 1.0 Ecoboost for its blend of performance and economy
  • The ESP cannot be disabled, but the traction control can
  • Maintain a steady speed at the limit and the rear of the Focus is inclined to get involved
  • The Focus is smooth and composed with impressive tech, but at the expense of involvement

When the first Ford Focus arrived in 1998, it brought with it a styling theme that Ford dubbed ‘new edge’. It took a few people aback, but not by enough to stop the car from becoming Britain’s best-seller as early as 1999.

This time around, under the direction of Martin Smith, the Focus follows the latest Ford Fiesta and Ford C-Max in featuring its ‘kinetic’ design theme. The idea is that the car looks like it’s moving even when standing still, thanks to a series of creases and lines that emerge from and meld back into the body at various points down its length.

Mark Tisshaw

Deputy editor
There’s a large gap between the grille and bonnet - large enough to make you wonder if it hasn’t been closed properly

In its engineering, the Focus features a layout that's as conventional as you'd expect: it has a front, transverse-mounted engine driving the front wheels through a choice of manual or twin-clutch automatic gearboxes. Suspension is by MacPherson struts at the front, with Ford's 'control blade' multi-link set-up at the rear.

What's unusual this time is that the Focus comes only with five doors. There's no three-door hatch option, while the estate line-up largely mirrors the hatch's, though with a small price premium. 

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