The next surprise comes when you turn the key or, more accurately, push the poorly sited and entirely unnecessary engine start button. This Focus is extremely quiet, extraordinarily so for one powered by a high output, four cylinder diesel engine.
Performance is good too: 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.
Less impressive is the double clutch auto option, which can be unresponsive in auto mode and downright infuriating if you try to use it manually, thanks to the small and fiddly rocker switch on its side you need to use to change up and down.
Ford has retained its game-changing 'control blade' independent rear suspension architecture but has retuned it to provide what appears to be class-leading ride quality, setting a standard that would worry many an allegedly far more luxurious car. Nor has this been achieved by softening the springs and dampers and sacrificing body control as a result. Even on the most difficult roads, the Focus stays poised and supple.
The only pity is that it seems rather less fun to drive than we're used to from a Focus. Electric power steering has robbed the feel that so distinguished both previous generations, while the chassis engineers appear to have decided, perhaps mindful of the car's new worldwide remit, to sacrifice some agility for stability. Despite a form of torque vectoring that makes the Focus able to brake and inside front wheel if slip is detected, there is more understeer and less of the old, instinctive balance than we’d hoped for.
Should I buy one?
For most people most of the time the Focus should prove an excellent choice. Though we'd love to spend our time driving over mountain passes, real life is about traffic, motorways, potholes and service stations and there's no doubt the new Focus is brilliantly adapted to the cut and thrust of daily life. More comfortable, quiet and classy than ever, it will provide capable transport for many millions of owners the world over.
But as enthusiasts first and foremost we're going to miss the way the old Focus drove. Yes it was nudging up against its sell-by date at the end, but the point was you didn't need to be at the Nurburgring to enjoy it. The feel of its steering and response of its chassis shone a little light onto every journey. Its replacement is one of the best cars in the class and we welcome it as such, but if you approach it expecting it to be a riot to drive, you, like us, might leave it feeling slightly disappointed.
Ford Focus 2.0 TDCI Titanium X
Price: £22,745; 0-62mph: 8.6sec; Top speed: 135mph; Economy: 56.5mpg (combined); CO2 emissions: 129g/km; Kerb weight: 1421kg; Engine layout: 4 cyls in line, 1997cc, turbodiesel; Installation: Front, transverse, front-wheel drive; Power: 161bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 251lb ft at 2000rpm; Power to weight: 113bhp per tonne; Gearbox: 6-spd manual