Despite the exterior dimensions being virtually unchanged compared with the last Focus
, there is a good bit more cabin space, and that’s particularly noticeable in the back. Legroom is generous and headroom is adequate, and the wide cabin means there’s more shoulder room than in many competitors. This aspect will only really come into play when you’re carrying three people across the rear bench, and the wide middle seat and flat transmission tunnel will help on that score, too. The boot is a very presentable size
at 375 litres, and although there is a load lip you’ll have to lug heavy items over, it’s only small. The rear seats drop to extend your cargo space to 1354 litres (which is pretty par-for-the-course), and you’re left with an almost-flat load floor with no steps in it.
The materials used in the cabin are fine, and should prove fairly hard-wearing, but most of the surfaces don’t have the tactility or texture to cut it with those in, say, a Volkswagen Golf
. The touch-screen infotainment system will take a bit of getting used to, but after some playing about, it soon becomes second nature.
The rest of the dashboard has a fairly sensible layout, too, although there are still more buttons than you’ll find in many competitors, and the steering wheel is also festooned with the things, which can be a little bamboozling when you’re trying to use the trip computer. That said, there’s lots of adjustment, so it’s easy to find a comfy driving position, and visibility is pretty clear in every direction, with no major blind spots.
However, it’s on driver engagement where previous Focuses have always excelled, and happily that’s still the case here. It feels sophisticated and grown up at all times, because the ride is compliant, comfortable and superbly controlled at all speeds, while exterior noises are also extremely well isolated. And despite that impressive comfort, you still have every ounce of trademark Focus agility. There’s bags of grip, body movements are really well tied down, and the steering gives you quick responses and a decent amount of feel. The car flows really nicely from bend to bend, giving you a feeling of safety, as well as putting a smile on your face
What’s more, that’s all on the most basic suspension setup on offer. Cars with the bigger petrol and diesel engines have a more sophisticated setup on the rear end, and although the ride is even smoother with this arrangement fitted, the difference is very marginal indeed.
ST-Line models sit 10mm lower, which helps to further improve agility. The Active models, meanwhile, have a suspension that’s jacked-up by 30mm, but again, this makes very little difference to how the car behaves. So, rest assured that whatever Focus you pick, you’ll have a car that’s fabulous to drive.
The options list also offers an adaptive suspension that alters its behaviour according to which driving mode you select, but we haven’t had a chance to try it yet. All Focuses have driving modes that alter things like steering weight and throttle response, but while you can feel the differences the modes make, they don’t really make the Focus any more engaging to drive. Good job it’s already pretty engaging in the first place.
The ST is the hot hatch in the range, and in petrol form includes adaptive suspension and an electronic limited-slip differential as standard. It’s brilliant to drive, with great agility, superb traction out of the corners and sharp steering, even if it can feel a bit rubbery. The diesel version doesn’t include the adaptive damping or diff, and isn’t quite so spectacular behind the wheel, but it’s still really fun to drive.