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Ford Focus Estate

£17,995£27,590
7/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Ford's fixed most of the old car's foibles - the confusing interior and lacklustre handling to name but two

Against: 

It's expensive, but being a Ford, there will almost certainly be good deals about
Ford's given the Focus a big facelift for 2015, and you know what? It's worked. A big improvement.

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Our choice

Ford

1.5 TDCi 120 Zetec 5dr

£20,840
N/A
74mpg
10.70s
120bhp
98g/km

What we say: 

Mid-life overhaul for the Focus Estate is a success. Not cheap, but it doesn't need to be.

What is it?

The Ford Focus Estate gets a big overhaul. It’s a mid-life nip and tuck for the third-generation model. From the outside, the changes are slight, with new lights and a glitzier grille pretty much the sum of it. You can’t blame Ford for leaving the design largely untouched, though: this has been the world’s best-selling car for the last two years, and this new one is all set to extend that run.

Driving

The Focus has always been a fine car to drive, with a ride and handling balance to shame many cars with much sportier pretensions. When the MK3 launched in 2011, though, it lacked a little of the sparkle that its predecessors had made their own. Happily, though, a few comfort-minded tweaks – lighter steering and more compliance in the suspension – have actually rekindled the fun factor. The Estate is just as good as the hatch, with a keen front end and a rear axle that’s happy to play a role in cornering, too.

Engine wise, there’s a pair of new 1.5-litre diesels which dip below the magic 99g/km mark, and will account for around half of UK sales, Ford’s spunky little 1.0-litre turbo triple taking most of the other half. 

There’s also a new 1.5-litre petrol turbo, which comes in 148 and 180bhp guises. It’s a broadly satisfying engine, delivering power with the linearity of something naturally aspirated, but it’s lacking in urge below 2500rpm

On the inside

This was an area begging for improvement, the dashboard specifically. Festooned with buttons, it was a bit of an ergonomic headache. Ford has seen to that by introducing a new touchscreen media system. As well as dramatically cutting the button count, its software is also pretty slick, with clear inspiration from the studiously developed systems offered by the big three German premium brands – yes, it’s a Focus with a bit of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz inside it.

Overall, the cabin is spacious, comfortable and well appointed, though prod too many of the plastics and you may pine for a Golf. Nothing offends, though, which is another step on from before. 

Owning

Pricing is high – opt for the new 180bhp 1.5 petrol and you’re actually well into the Focus ST’s ballpark. Let’s be honest, though, Ford loves a good discount, and you’d be unlucky to pay the list price on a well-specced Focus (steer towards Zetec as a minimum, Titanium if you can). CO2 emissions across the range are low, with some tunes of the 1.0-litre petrol tax exempt. Though while claimed fuel economy figures are strong, you’ll do very, very well to match those attached to any of the Ecoboost petrol engines. 

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.0T ST-1 5dr
6.7s 159g/km 41.5 250 £23,360
The cheapest
1.6 Style 5dr
12.5s 139g/km 47.1 105 £17,995
The greenest
1.5 TDCi 105 Style ECOnetic 5dr
12.1s 88g/km 83.1 105 £20,190

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

8/10

Skoda Octavia Estate

£17,430£29,060
Octavia Estate offers more space for less cash, and even four-wheel drive if you need it...