Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First drive: Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBoost. Image by Ford.

First drive: Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBoost
The new Ford Focus is astoundingly good - more so than its mildly facelifted look suggested.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> Ford reviews

Ford Focus 1.5 EcoBoost

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

As mid-life facelifts go, the new Ford Focus is one of the most successful. The new model looks great, has a considerably better interior, plenty of new technology and some decent new engines. The chassis dominates proceedings though, seemingly modest changes taking a good set-up and turning it into a great one. The new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is fun, if lacking in torque at times.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Ford Focus 1.5T EcoBoost Titanium X
Pricing: Focus starts at 13,995; as tested was 23,520 on-the-road
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
CO2 emissions: 127g/km (Band D, 110 per year)
Combined economy: 47.9mpg
Top speed: 139mph
0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
Power: 182hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 240Nm at 1,600- to 5,000rpm

What's this?

On the face of it, a mildly updated Ford Focus, with a new face, some new engines and a revamped interior. But it turns out to be so much more. The bonnet, rear hatch, bumpers and lights have all been redesigned, giving the Focus a handsome new look in keeping with Ford's corporate design language. Inside, the dashboard is all new and materials are tangibly of better quality. The switchgear is more tactile too and refinement in terms of noise suppression has taken a step up.

Ford introduces SYNC 2 on the Focus, which is the second generation of its voice-activated system -and it's mightily impressive. It features a crystal clear eight-inch touchscreen that's highly intuitive to use, making the new Focus feel like a premium model. Other tweaks to the interior mean more useful cubbyholes for your bits and pieces.

The range is vast as ever, with six trim lines (Studio, Style, Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium and Titanium X) and either five-door hatch or estate body styles. When the new Focus hits UK showrooms in November the starting price will remain at 13,995. New engines include the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel (available in 95- and 120hp guises and cleaner than the old 1.6 it will eventually replace) and the 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol unit tested here. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is still offered in 100- and 125hp states of tune and until an automatic gearbox comes on stream for that unit the only automatic option is the dual-clutch Powershift transmission, available with the old-gen 1.6-litre petrol engine.

Apparently the new auto will be a torque converter style transmission and it will also eventually be offered with the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine in time. Other future models include the new Focus ST, which will be available in 250hp petrol format as before, plus in 2.0 TDCi 180 guise.

How does it drive?

In a word: brilliantly. The Focus has long been the chassis benchmark in the segment, even if its shine has dulled somewhat of late, but the new car really ramps things up. Ford showed us the relatively modest component changes and the results are astounding. The steering is more responsive than before, with even less slack in the system, yet it's not overly sensitive as to make it fidgety on the motorway. There's even genuine feedback through the tactile new steering wheel. The suspension itself is incredibly well-judged, offering great bump absorption and perfect body and wheel control along with a feeling of agility and adjustability. The Focus really flows down the road, no matter what the surface, making it one of the few regular hatchbacks of this size you'd take out for a drive for the sake of it. The six-speed manual gearbox is slick and the brake pedal incredibly easy to modulate smoothly, no matter how fast you need to slow down.

The new 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine combines with the chassis to create a subtle junior hot hatch. Its power output of 182hp makes it fun, though curiously for a modern turbocharged unit there's not enough torque low down the rev range. It means you have to drive it like an old-school hot hatch to extract its performance. Not that that's a hardship...

Verdict

Ford has done a thoroughly good job on the updated Focus, lifting it once more to the top of the class. It unquestionably has the best chassis in the segment now, making it brilliant to drive no matter what the specification. The new 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine is unlikely to be a big seller in the UK, but it turns the Focus into a rather subtle fast hatch.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

5 5 5 5 5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Shane O' Donoghue - 17 Sep 2014



  www.ford.co.uk    - Ford road tests
- Ford news
- Focus images

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.



2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 

2014 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©