If estates are being killed off in favour of SUVs, nobody has told Ford. While other manufacturers are pushing their SUVs and letting their estates fade into the background, Ford is proud of its new big-booted Focus.
FIRST UK TEST 2019 FORD FOCUS ESTATE ST-LINE 1.5 ECOBLUE
A[/dropcap]nd it is simply a case of Ford having grafted a larger luggage bay onto the rear of the car. The wheelbase remains the same as the normal five-door hatchback, but the overall length has increased by around a foot. As a result, the standard car’s 341-litre boot has swollen to a far more commodious 575 litres. Granted, it isn’t quite as roomy as a Peugeot 308 SW, but it’s slightly more spacious than a Volkswagen Golf Estate and way ahead of the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer. Rear seat passengers will appreciate the extra legroom that the latest Focus benefits from, together with extra headroom afforded by the estate bodystyle. And this added practicality has failed to spoil the looks.
The new Focus is more upright than its predecessor, but that silhouette has absorbed the overgrown rear with much more dignity. Unless you see them side-by-side, you might struggle to tell the Estate from the standard five-door hatch.
You won’t notice the difference from behind the wheel, either. Except for the boot, the two cars are almost completely identical, so you’re faced with the same solid, stylish dashboard. It feels better built than its predecessor, not to mention more attractive, but it still can’t quite match the quality of a Golf. The driving position is good, the controls well ordered and clearly arranged, and while the touchscreen may seem like an afterthought to some, we rather like its floating design. The chunky steering wheel is nice to hold, and the red highlights that mirror those on the seats and gear lever deliver a splash of well needed colour in the largely dark cabin.
On the road, however, it’s more than a match for the VW. You get the same cohesive, composed driving experience that sets the normal Focus apart, and the car feels enormously well balanced. The steering is very accurate, too, so you can really chuck it about if the mood takes you. But the trade-off for all that driver involvement is a slightly firm ride. We’d never call it uncomfortable and there’s no jarring over potholes or speed bumps, but you can feel exactly what’s going on under those alloy wheels.
Beneath the bonnet, you can choose from the same three quiet, economical diesel engines you’ll find in the hatchback. The entry-level 94bhp unit is 1.5-litres in capacity and capable of returning up to 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 96g/km, making it the likely choice for many fleets. We’d be tempted to spend a little more on the 118bhp engine found in our test car, though. It’s only very slightly less economical, but it offers noticeably improved performance. There’s also a 2.0- litre, 148bhp diesel powerplant on offer, which is even more sprightly, but it can’t match the 1.5’s fuel economy and it’s £1,450 more expensive to buy.
Speaking of price, the Focus Estate is around £1,100 more expensive than the equivalent hatchback, starting at £20,700 for the cheapest diesel version. That money buys you an entry-level Style model, which comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and manual air conditioning. You can, however, spend more than £30,000 on the top-of-the- range Vignale with a 2.0-litre engine and brand-new eight-speed automatic gearbox, but we’d recommend opting for the mid-range Titanium, or a sportier ST-Line badged edition.
“The new Focus is more upright than its predecessor, but that silhouette has absorbed the overgrown backside with much more dignity.”
On sale Now
In showrooms Now
Prices £20,700 to £30,650
Bodystyles 5-door estate
Engines 1.5 manual (94bhp), 1.5 manual and automatic (118bhp), 2.0 manual and automatic (148bhp)
Trim levels Style, Zetec, ST-Line, ST-Line X, Titanium, Titanium X, Vignale Also consider Peugeot 308 SW,
Volkswagen Golf Estate
Model tested ST-Line 1.5 EcoBlue
Built in Saarlouis, Germany
Bodystyle 5-door estate, 5-seats
Powerplant 1,499cc, 4-cylinder,
16-valve, turbo diesel
Transmission 6-speed manual
Max power 118bhp @ 3,600rpm
Max torque 221b ft @ 1,750-2,250rpm
Top speed 120mph
CO2 emissions 97g/km (Euro-6d-Temp)
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 68.9/80.7/76.3mpg
Fuel tank size 47 litres
Range 789 miles
Insurance group 14 BIK rate 24%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,668/1,979mm
Boot space (min/max) 575/1,620 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,413/1,400kg
Euro NCAP crash rating (hatchback)
Verdict The added practicality of the overgrown boot has done nothing to dull appeal of the Focus.
Drive-My rating 4/5