The Ford Focus has been a huge success for Ford and continues to do so and down the years I have driven this C-segment car in its many guises. Time does move at a pace, the Focus arrived on the scene in 1998 in Europe, primarily designed by Ford of Europe’s German and British teams and it has become a global product for the Blue Oval. Like the car it replaced, the Escort, the Focus has become a vehicle of many uses, a family car, business car and a popular choice in motorsport.
My latest Focus experience came with the ST Line Hybrid and this is proving popular with many and after seven days behind the wheel I can see why. Many will be surprised that my test example had a one litre T 125PS Ecoboost engine linked to a six speed manual transmission and while most cars I have tested recently have had an automatic transmission, as always the Ford manual proved slick and smooth in operation. With this combination emissions are relatively low at 127g/km.
Styling of the latest Focus is certainly eye pleasing, a purposeful design with just that little sporty touch that many drivers admire. The looks department much aided by the option of eighteen inch machined Gloss Black alloys and if I were in the business of acquiring a new Focus I would be going the extra and fitting these tasty looking alloys. The interior of my test car was equally appealing, seating in black cloth trim with red stitching and I must add very comfy seats. I have become a fan of the flat bottomed steering wheel, yet another sporty touch for this Focus. The overall package of this particular Focus I can best describe as comprehensive, although to add further to its appeal a number of options, a Driver Assistance Pack including Traffic Sign Recognition; Auto High Beam; Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Centring Assist. A Convenience Pack with rear wide-view Camera, door edge protectors and Active Park Assist. I often compare an options list to a menu in a restaurant, you pick what you like. The standard specification I have no doubt will satisfy many would be owners and space limits me to mention but a few, power folding door mirrors with puddle lamps, Ford KeyFree System with Keyless Entry & Keyless Start (with sleep mode key fob), rear privacy glass, Pre-Collision Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, Lane-Keeping Aid with Lane-Keeping Alert and Intelligent Speed Assist (limiter), these safety items a key to safer motoring. A key to the modern car is the kevel of in car entertainment on offer and with the Focus no disappointments in this area, Ford SYNC 3 with an eight inch TFT touch screen and App Link Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, a navigation which I discovered to be very user friendly.
Behind the wheel, a very satisfying drive, I would best describe as mild sporty and the modest power output of the Ecobbost engine and the hybrid system does really deliver. Rest to 100kph (62mph) comes up in ten seconds and on to a top speed just shy of 200kph (125mph). In the handling department, clearly the Ford engineers have worked to deliver a sports tuned suspension which is on the firm side, very much to my taste, however in no way is the ride harsh despite the fact that my test car had the large alloys fitted. For many years Ford engineers have delivered in terms of performance and handling and the new Focus is just another chapter.