What is it?
Slightly more practical version of Ford’s highly praised global market hatchback, the Focus Estate delivers a compelling package of handling, comfort and equipment at a very competitive price.
It’s not a desperately exciting sort of purchase, we have to admit, but this nice-looking, compact and deeply capable car is hard to fault as practical family transport. The Focus has premium qualities without the badge, so it looks and feels classier and more solid than, say, a Peugeot 308 SW, but lacks the kerbside cachet of the Volkswagen Golf Estate. Can you live with that?
The latest Focus was always designed with this estate variant in mind so it should come as no surprise to learn that while looking as good, if not better, than the standard hatch it drives as well, too. The steering is sharp, if a little short of the previous gen’s class-leading feel, and this estate has overcome its extra weight and taller centre of gravity with great body control. There’s lots of grip, backed up by good brakes and a snappy action from the six-speed manual transmission.
Despite the worthy estate identity, this is actually a lot of fun to drive and suits either petrol or diesel power. There’s a decent whack to choose from, too, including the 1.0-litre Ecoboost turbo that genuinely opens eyes with its abilities. The effortless 250bhp of the 2.0-litre ST will surely widen them further. Meanwhile, two them further. Meanwhile, two diesels, 1.6 and 2.0-litre, are offered in a further four degrees of grunt, the pick of them probably being the mid-range 140bhp 2.0-litre which offers a good blend of performance and economy.
On the inside
Ford’s interiors are impressive these days and the Focus is no exception. The centre console is a bit of a mess, but there is little else to hold you back. The driving position is excellent and the cabin feels refined and isolated from noise.
The all-important question of that boot is a trickier one, though. It’s wide, but not long compared to the class standard. The rear seats do fold flat, so when used to its limit this is a really generous load space. and economy.
As either a company car or private purchase, the competitive pricing and low running costs of a Focus Estate make it a sensible buy. Especially with a diesel engine. These units return up to 67mpg with CO2 emissions as low as 109g/ km which brings company car tax benefits. Servicing will be affordable, too, of course, and Ford’s reliability is getting ever better. That said, depreciation will be significantly more severe on a Focus than a Golf, so private buyers will take a sizeable hit when they sell.