The fourth generation Ford Focus Estate gets more boot space, sleeker looks, a more user-friendly interior and some suspension tweaks that aim to remind us what made the Focus great in the first place. There are more efficient engines too, including a frugal mild hybrid mHEV petrol unit. This isn’t the biggest or the cheapest estate in its sector, but it might just be the most appealing all-rounder.
The Focus has always sold well in estate form – and that’s because Ford has often made an extra effort to differentiate this body style for the needs of station wagon customers. This fourth generation design is a case in point. Usually, Estate cars share exactly the same mechanical configuration as the hatches or saloons they’re based upon.
With this Focus station wagon, things are a little different. Ford have standardised the supple independent rear suspension configuration that you can’t have on the volume 1.0-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel Hatch variants and that makes quite a lot of difference to the ride over this car over poor surfaces.
What hasn’t changed from the Hatch is this car’s class-leading handling prowess. True, estate buyers don’t usually want to throw their cars around too much, but even these people will enjoy the confidence you get in this car at speed, particularly when cornering in slippery conditions.
The driving position, the feedback through the wheel and in particular, the way the car responds as you throw it into a turn continue to set this car apart in its sector. This is aided further by this MK4 model’s stiffer ‘C2’ chassis and a very effective torque vectoring system that helps to get power down through the bends. There’s still nothing else in this class that feels quite the same.
And of course it’s practical too. A typically-specified Focus Estate model fitted with a mini-spare offers up to 575-litres of luggage space - or as much as 728-litres if you load to the ceiling.
Vanarama customers get a choice of various core Focus Estate trim levels. Things kick off with ‘Zetec Edition’ trim. From there, if you want something sporty, there’s ‘ST-Line Edition’ or ‘ST-Line X Edition’-spec. Or the top ST performance variants. If you want a lifestyle SUV-style vibe, there are ‘Active Edition’, ‘Active X Edition’ and ‘Active X Vignale Edition’ models. If you’d prefer to focus on luxury, you’ll be offered a choice of ‘Titanium Edition’, ‘Titanium X Edition’ and ‘Vignale’ models.
Engine-wise, most of our leasing customers choose this Focus with a 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125PS powerplant. You can have this engine in conventional form with manual or automatic transmission. Or as a mild hybrid with a manual gearbox. The mild hybrid can also be specified in 155PS form.
The diesel alternative is a 1.5-litre EcoBlue unit with 120PS. There’s also a 2.0-litre EcoBlue 150PS diesel. The top ST version comes with either a 2.3-litre EcoBoost 280PS petrol engine (with the option of a paddleshift auto gearbox); or a 2.0-litre EcoBlue 190PS diesel.
Obvious rivals include the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, the Kia Ceed Sportswagon, the Peugeot 308 SW, and the Renault Megane Sport Tourer. If you’re happy with a hybrid, there’s also Toyota’s Corolla Touring Sports.
The estate car is quietly staging a revival and models like the Ford Focus are the reason why. The estate car has never been a more complete product. If the concept of a small station wagon seems to you a contradiction in terms, then this one might make you think again.