It was released back in 2011, and announced even longer ago in 2010. I sure do feel that the LW Ford Focus has aged extremely well when compared to Corolla, i30 and Cerato of that time. Modern technology (still not found in some 2019 small cars), advanced driving aid firsts, and also class-leading driving dynamics made this German-built small car so good that it was even in the top 10 best selling cars in Australia in 2012 - receiving many awards from various motoring outlets.
Stunning first drive reviews - namely CarAdvice's review of the Focus where there was praise all around - made the decision for us clear; the new Ford Focus was destined for our driveway.
Mid-2011 marked the start of our extensive Focus ownership with a mid-spec Trend Sedan model, finished in striking ‘Panther Black’ metallic. The options available were the Convenience Pack and the PowerShift dual-clutch. We didn’t need the diesel so a $27,090+ORC was an acceptable price for what we were getting. We picked it up on September 24th, 2011 just over eight years ago and the car has been flawless, except a few hiccups along the way.
Upgrading from a Golf MkV, which presented poor South African build quality, cheap materials in areas commonly touched and also flimsy and dull ride and handling. Opening the door on the Focus was like entering a completely new world of a well-engineered and built car, from the solid door handles and the comfortable seats. It begged the question of why do people actually buy the Golf.
The driving dynamics of the Focus are definitely its strong point. It feels as though there is an axis through the roof and in between the middle of the front seats, the whole car seeming to pivot around it. The steering is direct and feels well connected to the road. Torque Vectoring is noticeable when cornering the car at a higher speed than the corners should been taken, the car begging you to push it further. Yet, the suspension is still able to superbly damp any bumps and potholes littered throughout the road without being too soft and affecting the handling of the car.
The 2.0-litre direct-injected petrol has a good amount of power at 125kW and around 200Nm. I wish peak torque was achieved higher in the rev range, but the PowerShift transmission is able to pick the correct gear to suit the conditions, with those shifts happening quickly with the dual clutch set up. Although, low speed roughness from the transmission is unsettling while moving around car parks or taking off from a stop, but it is nothing too serious.
Adding to the driving dynamics are the super comfortable and supportive seats. They offer plenty of bolster without being uncomfortable, and the standard lumbar support ensured comfort in long distance travel. There is plenty of adjustment in the seat to suit any of the drivers lucky enough to pilot it and seating position is superb.
The interior was rather stylish for the time when compared to its rather conservative competitors, but now the amount of buttons seems over the top in today’s age of touchscreen infotainment systems. While it may look confusing at first glance, when you get to know how the infotainment works it’s quite simple and easy to use. You don’t have to use all fifty buttons to change the radio - well, you don’t even have to use any buttons due to the standard fit voice control, which can take care of changing the station or the input with very little error.
The rear seat is not used very often but it can be tight for taller occupants. For normal sized people it would be okay. The boot also offers plenty of space as well, and the folding seats have come in handy a few times when transporting larger items.
The safety of the Focus is also of a high standard with six airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, and reverse sensors. Autonomous Emergency Braking and Adaptive Cruise Control were available back in 2011 but it was only available on the top-of-the-line Titanium. It would have been nice to have it as an option for all models as it was very advanced safety spec for the time and the class the car was in. But the standard safety in the Focus Trend was more than enough, and of course there was the 5-star ANCAP Safety Rating.
After-sales support from Ford has overall been very good, with 5 years free servicing included with the purchase so there was a few thousand saved. A nice service loan car has been provided each time, even before the free loan car guarantee, so I’d get a nice test in a brand new Ranger, or Everest and once even in a Mustang. The lumbar support did break at one point but it was fixed under warranty, and a nice Ford Kuga Titanium for the time it took to repair. Overall, very good.
To conclude, the Focus is a terrific car that excels in many different areas, such as comfort, pricing, specification, and mainly driving dynamics and handling. If you’re considering one of these 2011-18 LW-LZ Focus, you will not regret it, and you also wouldn’t regret buying one of the new 2019 Focus.