Whichever power source you choose for a Focus, it's unlikely you'll be dissatisfied with the performance: and one of Ford's petrols in particular is outstanding, which we'll come to in a moment.

The 114bhp 1.6 TDCi is a strong-seller. It’s not a hugely powerful engine with which to propel a 1380kg and that’s nothing of which to be ashamed, given current emissions and economy requirements. So it would be unfair of us to expect anything better than the 10.7sec it took to reach 60mph from rest, or the same 10.7sec it wanted to reach 70mph from 30mph, when we road tested the car.

Nic Cackett

Road tester
We’ve found it difficult to be anything better than generally satisfied with the Ford Focus’s performance, whichever power source you choose

Neither is there a problem with refinement. That’s a theme, incidentally, that you’ll note with wind and tyre noise at speed, too – and it goes to make the Focus the standout car in the class when it comes to noise suppression.

A 103bhp version of the 1.6 TDCi is offered in a fuel-sipping Econetic version (as is a base 94bhp version). This model is a quiet, supple and practical way of sticking to the speed limit. The ultra-frugal Duratorq is much the same as we found it in its more potent guise: lumpy and grouchy at start up, a bit obstinate to get going from a standstill and then rather detached in its slow-revving, long-geared set-up.

The hottest diesel is the 2.0-litre TDCI 163. Performance is good: impressively, the weight of this Focus is almost identical to the outgoing model and while the engine's performance band is a little narrow, with peak power coming it low at 3750rpm, the six closely stacked ratios in the clean shifting box means you'll never have trouble keeping it on the boil.

There are good petrol engines too. The 1.6 Ecoboost 150 is a fine unit, with a large depth of flexibility and economy. It also makes for an extremely refined and relaxing motor in general.

The stand-out motor, though, is the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Ecoboost, which offers spectacular performance and economy: we managed more than 50mpg while making respectable progress in the 123bhp variant (a 99bhp version is also offered); economy typically only on offer from noisier diesels. It also confers a remarkable new layer of smoothness and refinement on the hatchback. It's a real game-changer.

Other engines include 84bhp, 103bhp and 123bhp versions of a fairly tame 1.6-litre petrol, while a 180bhp version of the 1.6 Ecoboost petrol sits below the ST as a cooking Zetec-S model. Like all lukewarm hatchbacks, it seems disappointing if you’re secretly hankering after the gratifying pace of something hot, and even armed with the perkier Ecoboost, the Zetec-S is unlikely to set your pulse racing.

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