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First drive: Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.

First drive: Ford Focus Estate
Ford adds a wagon to its Focus range, giving small families room to grow.

 



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| First Drive | Hook, England | Ford Focus Estate |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

As small family hatchbacks go you can't really go wrong with Ford's Focus - unless you need loads of boot space. Step up the new Focus Estate, which not only adds some additional capacity, but to our eyes looks even better than its less practical siblings.

Key Facts

Model tested: Ford Focus 1.6 TDCi Estate
Pricing: 19,595
Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel, four-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: Estate
Rivals: VW Golf Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, Nissan Qashqai+2
CO2 emissions: 109g/km
Combined economy: 67.3mpg
Top speed: 120mph
0-62mph: 11.1 seconds
Power: 113bhp at 3,600rpm
Torque: 210lb.ft at 1,750 - 2,500rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Like the hatchback, the Focus Estate adds some flair to an otherwise relatively staid class. Certainly its dramatic front and tail-lights make its key VW Golf rival look overly conservative, yet for all its show it's not too extrovert or brash for its apparent everyman audience. The Estate's longer roofline and upright tailgate help, giving it a slightly more mature look than its hatchback sibling.

Ford's people could learn a lot about interiors from their opposite numbers at Wolfsburg, with the Focus' cabin a touch over-styled for our tastes. Despite its somewhat haphazard look it all works well enough. Of more importance here is the boot, and it's spacious with good access. Folding the rear seats is a cinch, though there's nothing particularly clever about the design of the load space. With the Estate now competing for attention alongside cars like Nissan's Qashqai and even its C-Max relations it does feel a touch ordinary.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Powered buy Ford's 113bhp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission, the Focus is a balanced, economical all-rounder. Much as you'd expect really. As is the ride and handling, which retains Ford's typical fine control and driver appeal - without quite delivering the thrill on the road its predecessor could.

The 1.6-litre unit isn't overly rapid, but its 11.1-second 0-62mph time only demonstrates a portion of its available performance. Where it works well isn't in off-the-line drag races but rather its ample flexibility. There's no real need to work the slick six-speed transmission too much thanks to the 1.6-litre's useful torque delivery. The only real difference between this more practical of Focuses is the view out of the back, which looks more iMax than widescreen thanks to the large upright rear window.

What you get for your Money: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Decently rather than comprehensively specified this Zetec model gets by with manual air conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, a USB connection and sports style front seats. Nothing extraordinary; and you'll need to stump up an additional 750 for a DAB audio system incorporating satnav. Rear parking sensors and folding mirrors add 525 to that - both being items we'd haggle with our dealer to have added at their cost.

Worth Noting

Zetec specification features Ford's Quickclear windscreen. There's no doubting its usefulness on a cold morning, but we're not big fans of it otherwise. The fine elements running though the screen bounce headlights around at night, particularly when the screen is wet. We're perhaps being a touch fussy though, as few others seem to pick up on it. We'd rather it were completely clear and buy an ice scraper though.

Summary

A useful estate body grafted onto one of the class leading hatchbacks was always going to appeal to us here. If you're looking for a small estate then the new Focus is the best out there. Though with its natural marketplace now eroded by compact SUVs and MPVs the Focus Estate will be a rarer sight on the roads than its predecessors might once have been.


Kyle Fortune - 8 Jul 2011









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2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.



2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 

2011 Ford Focus Estate. Image by Ford.
 






 

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