Ford Focus Review 2024

Written by Andrew Brady

heycar ratingStill a very underrated hatch
  • 2018
  • Family hatch
  • Petrol, Diesel, Mild Hybrid

Quick overview


  • Much improved infotainment
  • Really comfortable and enjoyable to drive
  • Roomy in the back


  • No plug-in hybrid or electric models
  • Interior could be a bit plusher
  • Won't impress the neighbours

Overall verdict on the Ford Focus

"The Ford Focus remains one of the best family hatchbacks you can buy. Not only is it spacious, it's also the most fun to drive, while a wide range of trim levels ensures there's a Focus to suit every buyer. Read our full Ford Focus review to find out why it should be on your new car shortlist."

Ford Focus Review 2024: front static

Ford recently announced it'd be pulling the plug on the ubiquitous Ford Focus in 2025. That's a shame because, during its 24 years on sale, it's evolved to become one of our favourite family cars. We'd say it's as good (if not better) than the latest Volkswagen Golf, while it also provides stiff competition to the revamped Vauxhall Astra and stylish Mazda 3.

The latest Ford Focus has been on sale since 2018 and was given a mid-life update in late 2021 to keep it fresh, while mild hybrid engines arrived a little beforehand in mid-2020. While cosmetically not a great deal changed, the biggest upgrade was been the addition of a fancy 13.2-inch navigation display on the dashboard. This is standard across the entire range now and, not only does its size give it some visual clout, it's also brilliant to use.

Tech aside, the interior of the Ford Focus is officially 'a nice place to be'. It's more spacious than many of its competitors (although the Skoda Octavia wins if you need outright versatility), while even the most affordable trim levels aren't exactly sparsely equipped. A few more plush materials wouldn't go amiss, but there's a reason the Ford Focus is cheaper than premium competitors like the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes A-Class.

One of the most appealing things about the Focus is the range of different personalities available. You can get it in sporty ST-Line flavour, which takes styling cues from the Ford Focus ST hot hatch, as well as in more rugged Ford Focus Active flavour (which is a bit like an SUV without actually being an SUV). You can no longer buy a Ford Focus Vignale new but it's worth looking out for one on the used market if you fancy a bit of class in your family hatchback.

All Ford Focus models are great to drive, thanks to eager steering and compliant suspension. There's plenty of technology on hand to make your life easier, including a reversing camera and even an Active Park Assist feature which'll essentially park the car in a space for you.

The most disappointing thing about the Ford Focus is the reason why it'll face the axe within the next few years - its lack of electrification. You can't buy an electric Ford Focus, or even one with a significant amount of hybrid power. The closest you'll get is a mild-hybrid, which does little more than capture a little energy ordinarily lost under braking.

That said, there's lots to like about the popular 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine (which is available with or without mild-hybrid electrical assistance if you're buying used - all new Focus have mild hybrid motors). It feels punchy and eager, although its characterful burble does mean it's not the most refined choice. If you cover a lot of miles, the Ford Focus was offered with a surprisingly refined diesel engine.

It's a shame the Ford Focus doesn't sell in the same huge numbers as it once did. Many buyers now overlook it in favour of SUV alternatives or, at the very least, hatchbacks with a more premium badge. But if you want a used family car that represents great value for money and offers an impressive amount of versatility, you really can't go wrong with a Ford Focus.

Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of Ford Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of Ford Focus models for sale. If you're looking for the previous version, you need our Ford Focus (2014-2018) review.

Well, the Ford Focus is right for thousands and thousands of other people, so why wouldn't it be right for you? It’s been one of the UK’s best-selling cars for many years, and popularity like that doesn’t happen by accident.

The Focus delivers just the right blend of family-friendly comfort, young-at-heart handling, jack-of-all-trades practicality and penny-pinching affordability, and that’s why it’s found so many homes right across the UK. Yes, there are family hatchbacks that are cheaper, roomier, more versatile and better on quality. However, no rival is better to drive than the Focus, and the Ford does well enough on all those other points to ensure its popularity. It may be one of the obvious choices in the class, but that’s because it’s one of the best.

While the world might be moving towards SUVs, there's still a wide choice of very impressive family hatchbacks on the market. The Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf are two direct rivals for the Ford Focus, as well as the stylish SEAT Leon and left-field Mazda 3. We rate the new Honda Civic, too, as well as the ultra-frugal Toyota Corolla.

Then you have premium offerings like the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. Then there's electric alternatives like the Renault Megane E-Tech, Volkswagen ID.3 and MG 4. If you're looking for a versatile family car, we'd suggest looking at family SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai Tucson, too.

Comfort and design: Ford Focus interior

"The interior of the Ford Focus is pretty roomy, while standard kit is excellent. The driving position is good too, while the infotainment works well. We just wish it wasn't so dark and bland in terms of appearance."

Ford Focus Review 2024: front interior

The interior of the Ford Focus gets the fundamentals right, being reasonably well made, laid out with thought, and it's comfortable for driver and passengers alike. However, it's just a bit dark and dull in there. 

Taken in isolation (and particularly when compared to some older family hatchbacks) it's fine, with enough soft-touch plastics and curved surfaces to avoid being completely drab. But when compared with some new rivals - in particular the lovely interior of the Mazda 3 - the dark plastics and absence of colour make it feel gloomy. 

By modern car standards, there are also rather a lot of buttons and switches to control various functions, but not too many that you feel overwhelmed by them, and the markings make it clear what everything does.

The seats are very supportive, and there’s loads of movement in the seat and steering wheel to help you find a comfortable position. Go for ST-Line X, Titanium X or Active X trims, and the seat moves electrically. Your view of the road ahead is pretty clear, and while your rear view is hampered slightly by a small rear window, it’s a similar story in many of the Focus’s rivals.

The cabin on pre-facelift models is relatively button heavy and a little cluttered for our liking. But the physical buttons are big and easy to find by feel following a quick glance, not something you’d be able to do if the corresponding function was operated through the touchscreen. The steering wheel is the exception to the Focus’s ergonomic excellence, though, because it’s covered with small, fiddly buttons that are tricky to hit at a glance. At least they're not touch sensitive, though, like the latest Volkswagen Golf. 

The Ford Focus is a mixed bag here. In all the places where your eyes or hands fall most often, there are pleasing soft-touch surfaces and textured finishes, and these bits feel pretty good.

Unless you find yourself an early Style car, you’ll also get nice leather wrappings for the steering wheel and gear shifter. Elsewhere on the dash, however, are plastics that are harder, scratchier and of a considerably lower perceived quality, and many of these are in plain view the whole time. 

One or two of the panels don’t line up with quite the precision that they do in rivals, either. This doesn’t give the cabin a low-rent feel overall, but these inconsistencies means that the Ford Focus feels some way behind not only the Volkswagens and Hondas of the world for poshness, but also the very latest Kias and Hyundais.

Each version gets a slightly different ambience, with the odd bit of (fake) chrome, (fake) wood or (very fake) carbon fibre splashed about to tart things up. Find a Vignale and you'll even get a dashboard wrapped in leather to match its full leather seats. Despite that, though, the cheap-looking stuff is still very evident, so there’s still a rather flimsy feel in places.

Tech fans should look for one of the latest Ford Focus models with the new infotainment setup. Launched late in 2021, this uses the brand's SYNC 4 tech with an impressive 13.2-inch landscape digital display. It's leagues ahead of the infotainment used in earlier Ford Focus models - with sharp graphics, intuitive menu layouts and fast responses we'd go as far as saying it's one of the best systems available in a family hatch. Look for a Focus Titanium X, Active X or ST-Line X for an equally impressive 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

If you find an early Style-trimmed Ford Focus, you’ll only get a very basic stereo system. It still has DAB and Bluetooth, but it has a tiny 4.2-inch screen that looks a bit cheap these days. 


Pre-facelift Zetec and ST-Line cars get an 8.0-inch screen with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. However, while the screen size stays the same, the upgrade to ST-Line X, Titanium or Titanium X trims gets you a more sophisticated system that also includes built-in sat-nav and voice control. Upgrade further to Vignale trim, and your system is enhanced by a reversing camera and an upgraded surround sound system with 10 speakers and an output of 675 watts.

This was always a slight weakness for the previous Ford Focus because rear space was always on the tight side compared with rivals. That’s no longer the case, though, with this generation of Focus. 

Rear legroom is among the best in the class, and headroom is very good, too, and this allows tall passengers plenty of room to stretch out, even behind a comparatively lofty driver. Bear in mind that cars with a panoramic roof are appreciably shorter on rear headroom, but still, your passengers would need to be pretty gangly to feel short-changed. 

Sitting three in the back is comfier than it is in most rivals, too, because the cabin and the middle seat are wide, while the central tunnel running down the middle of the floor is low and flat, so it’s comfy enough to sit with your feet on top of it if you wind up in the middle.  

A pair of bulky child seats will also fit in without a worry. What’s more, space in the front is as generous as you expect, and there are lots of storage spaces dotted around, even if the door pockets aren’t particularly large.

The boot is satisfactory rather than class-leading. At 375 litres, its size is similar to that of its main rivals and a good chunk bigger than the old Focus, but down on the biggest cars such as the Honda Civic. There’s a lip that you’ll need to heave heavy items over, too, but it’s only small. The rear seats drop to boost your cargo bay, and they lie almost flat, with no awkward steps in the floor.

In terms of exterior dimensions, the Ford Focus is 4378mm long, 1825mm wide and 1471mm tall. That makes it longer and wider than a Volkswagen Golf, but not quite as tall. It's roughly in the middle of the family hatchback field in terms of size. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the Ford Focus like to drive?

"Driver engagement has always been a Ford Focus trademark, and the latest version carries on that tradition in fine style."

Ford Focus Review 2024: rear dynamic

Key rivals may be closer than ever to the Ford Focus in terms of its ride and handling, but they're still not able to beat it. The suspension gives truly impressive control over unwanted body movements, while there’s oodles of grip and steering that’s quick, responsive and packed full of feel. This makes the car feel assured and agile as it changes direction, allowing you to scurry along your favourite backroad with a smile on your face, and with a satisfying feeling of stability.

If you’re worried that such nimble handling will result in a car that’s uncomfortable over bumps, you needn’t. The suspension is supple enough to absorb most of what a ragged road surface can throw at it, and the ride is also superbly controlled at all speeds, so your life is comfortable and civilised at all times. Sure, a VW Golf is slightly better at isolating you from big potholes, but it isn't as fun to drive.

ST-Line models sit 10mm lower, which makes them marginally more agile, but happily, that doesn’t put a big dent in your comfort levels. An adaptive suspension was also available through the options list, which varies its behaviour according to which driving mode you select.

All current Focuses have a range of driving modes, which make minor changes to things like steering weight and throttle response. You can feel the subtle differences, they don’t really change the character of the car in any way.

There have been a number of revisions to the Ford Focus engine line-up over the years, although the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine has been a mainstay of the range since this model arrived in 2018. It was initially available with a power output of 85, 100 or 125PS but, today, the 125PS model is now the entry-level engine. This will be more than powerful enough for the majority of Ford Focus buyers, with its turbo power providing plentiful performance for joining the motorway or keeping up with traffic on rural roads. The 125PS engine now shares the same mild hybrid tech as its more powerful sibling.

A 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol was also originally offered, available with 150 or 182PS. This was replaced in 2020 by a punchier, mild-hybrid version of the 1.0-litre petrol with 155PS. This isn't a 'full' hybrid - don't expect an electric motor to propel the Focus in silence - but a 48-volt system will provide a small power boost and minor improvement in fuel economy.

You can get mild-hybrid versions of the Focus with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed PowerShift automatic gearbox. We quite like the manual - it feels direct and suits the slightly sporty nature of the Focus, although the PowerShift is fine for those seeking an easier life.

Diesel power is very much out of fashion, but you could have the Ford Focus with a 115PS 1.5-litre EcoBlue engine. This isn't particularly powerful but the torque on offer means it'll make light work of long-distance motorway driving.

The 1.0 EcoBoost engine is nice and quiet in the Ford Focus, but it does transmit a bit of vibration through the steering wheel and pedals, especially with a few revs on. The power delivery also has a slightly stuttery, staccato quality that also makes things feel a shade less smooth. It’s noticeable, but it’s not something that’ll annoy you. You could almost call it character.

You’ll have no complaints over the 1.5 EcoBoost, though: it's very smooth and quiet when you want it to be, and emit a pleasant rasp when you work it harder. Special mention, though, should go to the 1.5 diesel, which stays amazingly smooth and quiet at all times. Many executive saloons don’t have diesel engines this cultured.

Other sources of noise are very effectively isolated, too. Wind- and road noise are both audible, but both are kept to very low levels, and you’ll hardly ever hear a peep out of the suspension. It all makes the Focus a very civilised, sophisticated, grown-up way of getting around.

Importantly, automatic emergency braking is standard across the entire Ford Focus range, along with lane-keeping assistance, electronic stability control, hill start assist and brakes that lock themselves on after an accident to help prevent any further impacts. 

The standard roster also includes MyKey, a programmable fob you can give to your kids when they drive the car, which allows you to pre-set maximum thresholds for things like speed and stereo volume. Clever stuff. Meanwhile, Vignale models add brighter LED lights and a head-up display that beams key driving information onto the windscreen so you don’t have to look away from the road as often.

Optional extras for buyers of new Focuses included blind spot monitoring and a Driver Assistance Pack, which includes traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with lane centring. Emergency Call is also another option for new buyers.

The Focus was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2018 and scored the full five-star rating.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Ford Focus cost to run?

"The diesel will appeal to drivers who cover a lot of motorway miles but, in reality, most Ford Focus buyers will be better looking at the petrol or mild-hybrid models. These are very efficient, returning up to 54.3mpg in official WLTP fuel economy tests."

Ford Focus Review 2024: side profile

The electrical assistance in mild-hybrid models doesn't make a huge difference to the economy figure, although the 1.0 EcoBoost MHEV 155 is the most efficient - capable of that 54.3mpg mentioned above. Pairing this engine with the automatic gearbox drops the official fuel economy to 53.3mpg (a small price to pay for not having to change gears yourself, we reckon).

Although the WLTP testing regime is meant to produce more realistic results than the old system, the laboratory figures will still prove tricky to match in real-world mixed driving. They'll get close at a motorway cruise, but really the figures best used for comparisons with other cars.

It's disappointing that Ford is in the bottom five car brands in the latest Satisfaction Index. However, modern cars are generally pretty reliable, and the fact that Ford sells so many cars means it's more likely that problems are reported. 

Having said that, we've seen an unusually high number of reports of electrical or electronic issues with the Ford Focus. Whether they were just early teething problems on a new car remains to be seen, but if you're looking to buy one make sure everything works and take advantage of heycar's 30 day warranty on every car. 

If you ignore the hot ST model, then insurance groupings for the Ford Focus lie between groups 8 to 19. That's pretty much par for the course for this type of car, although some are pricier. 

Between these extremes, though, look at the versions that will appeal to most buyers, and they all sit in the mid-teens. This should mean affordable premiums, especially for those with a decent no-claims bonus, and importantly, the Focus compares well with rivals on this score.

As all examples of the latest Ford Focus have been registered since 2017, they'll be subject to the latest VED road tax rules. That means you'll pay a flat rate of £180 a year in tax and, as it's impossible to spec a Focus to more than £40,000, you don't have to worry about the premium car tax. Mild hybrid models qualify for a £10/year discount in VED, so you'll pay £170 a year in tax. Click here to check out the latest tax rules and how much your car will cost to tax. 

How much should you be paying for a used Ford Focus?

"The popularity of the Ford Focus means you can get a secondhand bargain with examples of the latest model now dropping to £9000."

Ford Focus Review 2024: static

As most people buy new cars on three- or four-year finance deals, you'll notice a flood of models around this age on the used market. Expect to pay around £13,000 for a three-year-old Ford Focus Titanium, or a little bit more for one with a few desirable options. If you want a sporty Focus, a three-year-old ST-Line could be yours for £14,000 or so.

A nearly-new or pre-registered Ford Focus could be a good way of buying an as-new car without having to wait. There are some chunky savings available by doing this, too - we've seen Titanium models with less than 500 miles on the clock available for as little as £25,000, while a nearly-new ST-Line could be yours for less than £26,500.

If you're looking to buy a brand new Ford Focus, the range starts off at around £28,500 for a Focus Titanium, while the Titanium X is priced from £30,700. You'll pay around £29,300 for a Ford Focus ST-Line, or £31,500 or so for an ST-Line X. All these prices are with the entry-level 1.0-litre 125PS EcoBoost petrol engine - you'll pay a premium for the 155PS engine and also for the seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The Ford Focus line-up has changed a few times over the years, but the current range is made up of 'regular' Titanium trims and the sportier ST-Line cars.

The Ford Focus Titanium was once quite a posh model, but it's now the most affordable Focus you can buy. Standard equipment on the Titanium includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, electrically operated door mirrors, a Quickclear heated windscreen and a grille with a chrome surround. You also get selectable drive modes, dual-zone climate control, Ford's SYNC 4 navigation with a 13.2-inch touchscreen display (including DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), black cloth trim, four-way front seat adjustment with manual lumbar adjust for the driver (two-way passenger seat adjustment on mild-hybrid models).

Further standard equipment on the Focus Titanium includes keyless entry/start, cruise control (with adjustable speed limiter), front/rear parking sensors, lane-keeping aid with lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, Ford's MyKey, a Thatcham alarm system and a 4.2-inch analogue trip computer.

The Ford Focus Titanium X builds on this with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, rear privacy glass, premium seats finished in synthetic leather, power seat adjustment for the driver, heated front seats and steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a premium B&O sound system with 10 speakers, wireless phone charging and a load through ski hatch.

The Ford Focus ST-Line comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED rear lights, electrically operated door mirrors, rear privacy glass, a Quickclear heated windscreen, a unique ST-Line grille, full bodystyling kit, a large body-coloured rear spoiler, sports suspension, selectable drive modes, dual-zone climate control, SYNC 4 navigation with 13.2-inch touchscreen display (including DAB radio, emergency assistance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), black cloth trim with red stitching, manual seat adjustment, keyless entry/start, cruise control, front/rear parking sensors, lane-keeping aid with lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, a Thatcham alarm, MyKey and polished twin exhaust tailpipe.

The Ford Focus ST-Line X adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a B&O premium sound system with 10 speakers, faux-leather seats with red stitching, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless phone charging, red brake calipers and a load through ski hatch.

Highlights of the Ford Focus Active, which is now only available as a used model, include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED rear lights, electrically operated door mirrors, rear privacy glass, a Quickclear heated windscreen, a rugged bodystyling kit, rough road suspension with increased ride height, selectable drive modes, dual-zone climate control, the SYNC 4 navigation system with 13.2-inch touchscreen display (including DAB radio, emergency assistance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), cloth trim in black with blue stitching, manual seat adjustment, keyless entry/start, cruise control (including adjustable speed limiter), front/rear parking sensors, lane-keeping aid with lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian/cyclist detection, a Thatcham alarm system, MyKey and polished twin exhaust tailpipe.

The Ford Focus Active X builds on this with 18-inch alloy wheels, a B&O premium sound system with 10 speakers, synthetic leather trim, heated front seats and steering wheel, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and wireless phone charging.

Used buyers can also look to the base Zetec trim, though it is quite sparingly fitted out with just a 4-inch infotainment screen. There's not even leather wrapping the steering wheels, so unless you just need transport at the lowest price, we'd look elsewhere in the Focus range. This could include the opulently equippped Vignale models with its unique grille, leather-covered seats and dash, and uprated stereo.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The Ford Focus is an excellent car. It's one of the best all-round family cars you can buy, combining a versatile interior with low running costs and even an element of style.
Ford has announced that the Ford Focus as we know it will be discontinued in 2025. It'll be replaced by an all-electric model.
There's a Ford Focus to suit all drivers - whether you're after something sporty, sedate, economical or load-lugging. Best balance of cost and equipment is the Titanium trim.
The Ford Focus is a mid-size family hatchback, which means it goes up against models such as the Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf.

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