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The Top Gear car review:Ford Focus
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
The dash itself, made in a broadly smiling sweep, has been moved forward, to make things feel roomier. Not so far that you can’t reach the touch-screen, mind, which is mounted high up. The significant pieces of its architecture are moulded from soft-touch plastic. The door bins are carpet-lined too, to quench rattles, but the actual door-shutting grab handles are a bit hard and scratchy.
Because there are now so many electronic systems, Ford has shifted towards touchscreen-and-menu interfaces. But good ol’ switches haven’t been consigned entirely to history. The infotainment screen has a set of hard-key shortcuts, the climate control gets proper knobs and buttons, and several of the driving assist systems also get their own quick-access kill-switches. It’s all sensibly laid out and executed with an eye for quality.
Having an electric handbrake gives over useful console space to cupholders, an armrest box and a tray with inductive charging in some versions.
Ford’s Sync operating system for the screen is one that it has been developing nicely over the years. Its graphics are clean enough, but its main advantage is that, having been written for Anglo-Saxon brains, its menus just feel more intuitively logical than ones that started life in German, French or Japanese. It also does CarPlay and Android auto in every trim but the bog-basic Style. The screen goes up to eight inches.
The top-end music system is a 675-watter from B&O Play. For the driver, a pretty comprehensive head-up display is also on the options menu.
The front seats are a little flat in the cushion, and don’t have lumbar adjust, but in other ways the driving position is fine.
The longer wheelbase means more room in the back. It’s close to class-leading here. Plus, the new shape of the side glass gives the outer-rear passengers a better view out. And a new centre-console shape and flatter rear floor both give the person sat between them more foot space.
The estate has remote-release seat folding and, very handily, a space under the floor to store the roller blind.
ST-Line spec brings slightly better seats, red stitching and a cheery dose of cabin sportification.
Best to regard the Vignale trim as a way to bundle-in lots of tasty technologies that would otherwise be options. The acreage of cabin leather is higher than the other Focuses, but it doesn’t disguise its origins. Is this an Audi A3 where the rest of the range is a Golf? Dream on.