The Ford Focus was the top selling car in 2013, surely over 1 million people can't be wrong? When shopping the small car market there are plenty of options from cheap and cheerful to stupidly fast (cough... Mercedes A45). So where does the Focus fall?
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this rings true when it comes to cars. The Focus is in my opinion is one of the better looking small cars on the market, with strong character lines and an overall cohesive design. The only downside would be the rear, which can look slightly busy. This has been addressed with the updated model, due in Australia soon.
Step inside and you start to see Ford has done a great job here. The design of the cabin is modern and suits the target market for the car. Most things are ergonomically placed and easy to use. Materials are generally high quality and everything is held together nicely.
Main touch points, like the upper door trip, steering wheel, gear selected and dashboard are all covered in high quality materials. There are however, some cheaper surfaces towards the rear of the cabin. Speaking of the back seats, they're comfortable and there is plenty of storage back there. If you're on the taller side though, you're not treated like a first class citizen as knee and leg room is tight. But your kids and shorter friends will be fine.
Up front, things are much better. There is plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel to find a good driving position for most drivers. The seats are comfortable and are covered in partial leather.
Cabin tech is where this car shines, keeping in mind this is a small car from 3 years ago. It has everything you could want. Push button start, self parking, front and rear parking sensors, satellite navigation, heated seats, etc. A rear view camera would be nice, but with the parking sensors it's not missed too much. I have heard complaint after complaint about the button heavy centre console. But after 5 minutes with the car you will know how to use almost every function. Try saying that about Mercedes Command or BMW iDrive.
Prefer a touch screen, wait until the new model which will receive MyFordTouch, which is already outdated by SYNC 3, but I digress. One thing that the larger touch screen will be much appreciated for is the satellite navigation.
But you buy a car to drive it and the Focus won't disappoint. Starting with the engine, the 2.0L provides good power. The engine does make more power at the top end so to get the most out, you will need to rev it.
The overall driving experience is good thanks to a good engine/transmission combo. After a software update, the 6 speed auto has no issues and holds gears to get the most out of the engine. Real world fuel economy is good, averaging 8.5 over the 3 years of ownership. Keep in mind that is driving in and out of Brisbane during peak hour.
Once you get out to the open road you can really have some fun in the focus. It has great road manners. The car corners confidently, offering plenty of grip and minimal body roll. The steering is also great; it is heavier then other cars at slow speeds though.
The ride can be slightly harsh, bad road surfaces can really be felt and is not as composed as other small cars. That is the price you pay for 18” wheels and sports tuning.
I can't help but wonder how much better this car would be if it lost some weight. Even though there is a solid feel to the way the car handles, taking some weight out would do it wonders. The Focus is on the heavy end of the market and it can be felt at times.
At the end of the day, the Focus is a great car. Fun to drive, a nice place to be in and and relatively cost effective to run. There are small issues here and there, but perfection cannot be had in this world. Judging from what I have seen many of these little issues` have been sorted with the updated model. So, to answer the question from the beginning, are 1 million people wrong in choosing the Focus? No