The character of the latest Ford Focus suggests that ride and handling would best be separated into their two constituents.

Taking ride first, then, reveals that the Focus is one of the very best cars in this class for comfort. The Focus is not soft and baggy in the manner of the Citroën C4, for example. It has a sophisticated feel that lifts it above the impression one gains from, say, the Vauxhall Astra.

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The Focus is one of the very best cars in this class for comfort

Both primary and secondary rides are truly composed, which makes it a relaxing cruiser on almost any road surface. It would be perfectly acceptable in the class above. From this class, only the Volkswagen Golf runs it close.

The tight body control also pays some dividends when it comes to its handling. The Focus is a faithful companion on B-roads and even in tight bends. An enthusiastic one, however, it is not: at least, not in diesel form. Some inertia seems to afflict the chassis of diesel-powered Focuses, though the lighter, petrol-engined, Focus is less afflicted and more rewarding.

Even though the steering’s ratio is quicker than in the previous Focus, it’s now electrically assisted, and that has brought with it smoothness but also an absence of road feel. 

As enthusiasts, we’ll mourn the loss of some of the old car’s warmth and dynamism. You didn’t have to be on a hot lap of the Nürburgring to enjoy it. Now, when it comes to being entertaining to drive, the VW Golf and Alfa Giulietta are both nearly as able to put a smile on their driver’s face.

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  • A big seller is the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in Zetec trim.

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