• A big seller is the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in Zetec trim.
  • The rear lights get an ‘edge’ on them to quickly break the air flowing past them from the body
  • The front end is almost completely sealed to improve aerodynamics
  • Ford’s ‘kinetic’ design theme features lines that emerge out of the body only to meld back into it later
  • This spoiler is standard, reducing drag around the rear and improving stability
  • The pleasingly sculpted steering wheel can get up to four sets of buttons
  • No complaints about space in the front. Fascia design is very driver-focused
  • Rear passengers fare modestly well, but this isn’t Focus’s strongest attribute
  • Boot space is decent; capacity extends to 1148 litres with rear seats folded
  • The trip computer shows some excellent graphics, and at a high resolution
  • The Focus is the standout car in the class when it comes to noise suppression
  • The best petrol engine is 1.0 Ecoboost for its blend of performance and economy
  • The ESP cannot be disabled, but the traction control can
  • Maintain a steady speed at the limit and the rear of the Focus is inclined to get involved
  • The Focus is smooth and composed with impressive tech, but at the expense of involvement

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.

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