From £13,785
The Ford Focus Zetec S gets more athletic running gear and a mild bodykit trade a little ride comfort for a defter chassis. But the differences are small.
Richard Bremner Autocar
28 November 2011

What is it?

The Ford Focus Zetec S package turns the car into the sportiest edition yet before the ST arrives next year. It consists of sports suspension, 17in alloys, a mild bodykit, alloy pedals, a separate starter button, an upgraded centre console and LED tail-lamps.

A modest confection then, although Ford says that you’re paying just £1250 for it rather than £1700. It can be had with two petrols (the 180bhp Ecoboost is most potent) and two diesels, the more powerful 161bhp 2.0 TDCi sampled here. Curiously, neither this engine nor the petrol 1.6 get Ford’s suite of Econetic fuel-saving features, although the 2.0 TDCi provides a decent combination of 129g/km, an 8.6sec advance to 62mph and a combined 56.5mpg.

What’s it like?

The acceleration figures means this Ford Focus just about qualifies for the warm hatch status implied by its war-paint. What you’ll be more impressed are this diesel’s manners, which are smoothly unobtrusive until well past 4000rpm, a rev range that you rarely need explore because it musters decent enough shove much earlier.

The result is confident, restful progress that while not providing scintillating acceleration, does allow you carry enough speed into corners to benefit from the revised chassis. Which certainly delivers a firmer ride, but one that remains very capable over battered B roads, these absorbed with a taut civility.

So it’s rarely uncomfortable, lending the Focus a finer grade of athleticism and steering feel that’s of slightly weightier resistance at the rim. That’s good, although it doesn’t rediscover the feedback from the road below lost provided by the previous Focus. But, this chassis gels well and turns an already accomplished car into something a fraction sharper.

Should I buy one?

Whether this S pack tempts may depend on whether you like a bodykit that makes the Focus’s rather long body look a little under-rubbered.

Ford Focus Zetec S 2.0 TDCi

Price: £21,385; Top speed: 135mph; 0-62mph: 8.6sec; Economy: 56.5mpg combined; Co2: 129g/km; Kerbweight: 1412kg; Engine: four cyls, in-line, 1997cc; Power: 161bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 251lb ft at 2000-3250rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual


Find an Autocar review

Back to top

Join the debate


5 December 2011

I guess this is the Focus equivalent of a Golf GTD. It looks alright, but at no point does it really exceed mediocre. I never thought that I'd say this, but I think I'd buy the Golf GTD over this.

5 December 2011

One of my neighbours has a new Focus in white and next to our Audi and their old style Focus, which they still have, it looks really ugly and awkward. Another neighbour has the latest shape Golf and it looks much smarter than the Focus and not like it has been designed by a seven year old with a box of thick crayons. The styling kit does nothing to enhance its looks.

6 December 2011

So it's confirmed. Sporty now means 'eye candy only'. Bring on the next raft of sheep in wolves' clothing. I'll keep my plain looking saloons that go faster than they look. They attract less attention.

6 December 2011

why are autocar testing focii on a weekly basis?....its already been established that the car doesnt handle or ride as well as its contempories(guiletta,golf and even the mg6) so why the constant pounding with new models?...........there are a lot of other cars within the price range that have hardly been touched on.

6 December 2011

[quote Autocar]Whether this S pack tempts may depend on whether you like a bodykit that makes the Focus’s rather long body look a little under-rubbered. [/quote]

If I were to be tempted by the S pack, it would solely be for the suspension upgrades, which by the sound of it should be applied to every model in the range.

Other than that, it still looks as awkward and unresolved stylistically as the standard car.

6 December 2011

Is this meant to be some kind of a joke? Trying to sell an already dull car and think that adding a MG ZR Spoiler and some pretty alloys that it will make it more interesting. Err nope hasn't worked for me, it looks even worse and I would rather have a Golf. On another note I love the way Ford bang on about torque vectoring control, it is just a rather crude traction control system, braking a wheel when it looses grip around a corner, that creates understeer, braking around corners is not good. It works in a 911 because it is rear engined so it needs a bit of understeer. Don't believe the propaganda. Buy yourself an old Focus instead, it will be a much better car and with a better chassis.

7 December 2011

So you get past the now de facto white all cars come in. Past the body kit that cant hind a dull car and you get to the interior. Now most drivers spend their time here so you can happily forget the previous if the car is a hoot and the interior is a pleasant place to be, however what have they done now? It looked bad before but all that red is appalling. How would you live with that everyday?

Plainly these cars are not bought by enthusiasts. If you wanted to express yourself and have some fun then take the £20k and buy nearly new second hand and get something with character and interest.

3 January 2012

[quote Autocar]Ford says that you’re paying just £1250 for it rather than £1700[/quote] Oh good. As perspective, for £1700 you could buy a complete Mondeo Zetec S. And that will have a proper 170bhp V6 under the bonnet.

3 January 2012

I find the looks a bit so so, but it is a very well equiped car.

[quote Fidji]

I'd buy the Golf GTD over this.



3 January 2012

+1 Totally agree with you.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review