Once, the Ford Focus represented the best drive in its class, with general competitiveness in other areas. These days its strongest merits have shifted somewhat.

Today it's so sophisticated in feel, so quiet at a cruise and stable at motorway speeds that it could quite easily come from the class above.

Mark Tisshaw

Deputy editor
The Focus used to offer something unique. Now, though, that’s not the case

But we do mourn some of the loss of its old sparkle, its driving joie de vivre - the thing that gave it a unique edge in the segment. These days that's still sound, but not outstanding.

When it comes to prices and specs, the Focus is also in the mix. There's little to choose between it and its key rivals, even if Korean hatchbacks appear to offer better value. They can't touch the Focus for fit-and-finish and we like the big-car tech you can get in the Focus too.

The Focus is a very strong car, competing for the class lead and excellent in many respects.

But it’s a shame that a car that was, for so long, outstanding in the way it drove, is left to make a case for itself in objective areas, just like the rest.

Top 5 Family hatches

  • More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

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

    Ford Focus

  • Seat Leon SC
    Seat says that much of the inspiration for the SC comes from its IBE concept

    Seat Leon SC

  • 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

  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried
  • First Drive
    27 February 2015
    Dual motors and a power hike give Tesla's electric family car supercar acceleration - and the rest of the package is as strong as ever
  • Car review
    26 February 2015
    Flagship performance C-Class is more than ever a true rival for BMW's M3, and impresses with both its breadth of ability and its practicality
  • First Drive
    26 February 2015
    The new Renault Megane GT 220 is essentially a toned-down version of the hallowed Renaultsport 275, but does it have the required DNA?
  • First Drive
    20 February 2015
    Remember Mercedes' 6x6 monster off-roader? Well, this is the 4x4 version, and we've driven it.