What is it?
The new 148bhp 1.6-litre Ecoboost Ford Focus - a model that sets a happy medium in between the more powerful 178bhp version of the same engine and the non-turbo’d petrols. The 1.6 Ecoboost is only available with a six-speed manual and in Titanium or Titanium X trim.
What’s it like?
Of any of the new Focus models this turbo’d engine should live up to Ford’s reputation for setting the benchmark as an engaging driver’s car in this class. And yet it falls short of the mark. The engine itself goes a long way to ensuring that this is a more rewarding drive than the rest of the models below it in the power stakes. Having less weight in the nose makes turn-in sharper and the ride slightly more settled than in the diesel models, which allows you to make the most of the well-balanced and grippy chassis - a setup that still betters many others in the class.
But even the engine could spin more freely and offer just a bit more energy. It’s a good motor to wring out, and the performance itself is extremely competitive and as punchy as you’d expect, but it doesn’t have the same depth of flexibility and response that some Ford engines of new and old have offered. However, for all these niggles the Ford Focus 1.6 Ecoboost doesn’t only offer a good blend of pace and comfort, the engine also makes for an extremely refined and relaxing motor in general, and standard stop-start only adds to that usability. Very respectable figures of 47.1mpg and 139g/km finish off what is an extremely well-rounded and mildly sporting family hatch.
Should I buy one?
If you want a mid-level performance family hatch then yes, this is certainly one of the best out there. The Focus is no longer the default choice for those wanting entertainment in a family motor, but it is still as good as the established rivals in that respect and at the same time it has seen a huge improvement in running costs and cabin finish. And in the 148bhp Ecoboost there is a car that can reward even in the most mundane of driving situations – it just falls short of the sparkle of its predecessors.
Ford Focus 1.6 Ecoboost Titanium
Price: £19,745; Top speed: 130mph; 0-62mph: 8.6sec; Economy: 47.1mpg; Co2: 139g/km; Kerb weight: 1333kg; Engine type: 1596cc 4cyl, petrol turbocharged; Power: 148bhp at 5700rpm; Torque: 177lb ft at 1900-4000rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual