Sales success has come to the Focus for more than one reason. Enthusiasts will think of sharp steering and deft body control, but a decent range of engines, fine practicality, striking looks and a distinguishing price are more likely to have endeared the car to the majority.
Those latter facets – combined with a smarter cabin, more economical engines and new gadgets – will stand this new version in better stead than ever for most.
However, the slow decline of the Focus’s handling dynamism has brought it back to the melee of mid-class contention when it used to be head and shoulders clear. The Focus handles very tidily, and better than most of its peers, but not with the uncanny polish and verve that set its forebears apart.
The refreshed Focus is improved in all ways bar one. It's still a very appealing, complete car. However, an undistinguished drive means it no longer excels dynamically.
Sportier flavours of the car are still to come and may yet prove superior. But for now, we must welcome the Focus with the qualified applause that its drive inspires.