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How long can the Focus hatchback hold off the SUV onslaught?

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Ford’s Focus 1.0 Ecoboost ST Line

Fords fourth generation Focus doesn’t change the formula, they stick to what their customer knows. Ford have updated the exterior with handsome lines, a lick of paint and some nice touches here and there.

With Ford’s Focus ST Line comes aesthetic body styling in the form of dual chrome exhausts, twin exhaust, chrome details, 17” alloys and this fantastic Desert Island Blue which is striking.

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Inside, the cabin has evolved with Ford’s Sync 3 system technology pack. You can also synch your phone using Apple Car Play or Android Auto. Which is quick and painless. There’s a wireless charger (€180) for phones with the accompanying software. You have to set the phone just right to charge it and even then, it drops out of wireless charge. The pad should have a wider charging surface, as it’s distracting to have the warning going on and off as you’re driving.

The 8” touch screen is responsive and includes, Sat Nav, DAB Radio and Vehicle system info. It’s a simple but effective system.

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The optional heads up display slides into view as you start the engine. It projects the driving information in front of the driver onto a see through screen. It’s supposed to be see through but the tint on the glass reveals the edges. You slowly adjust to it’s presence, it feels a bit gimmicky as it’s easier to just read the dials in the dash as normal.

The head up display includes information such as local speed limit guides, adaptive cruise control, with both lane assist and Stop/Start systems (additions that manufacturers are really wasting time and money on as they’re more a hindrance than an assistance).

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Cabin storage is good, with plenty of well sized cubby space available. The arm rest holds a two story removable tray, which leads to a second USB charger. The cabin will easily seat 4 adults and fit their luggage in the 375 litre boot for a weekend away. The 1.0 Petrol Ecoboost engine will struggle with the weight of 4 adults and their bags but the 1.5 and 2.0 Diesels are more than capable. The 1.0 Petrol is more suited to the daily grind of commuting, shopping and short hop lift giving.

Individual touches include a quirky door protector on the front doors which folds out when you open the door. It’s a good idea but needs some aural tweaking. It sounds like it’s broken but it’s not, it’s just very plasticky.

As mentioned above, the engine range includes a 1.0 Ecoboost Petrol, a 1.5 as well as a 2.0 EcoBlue Diesel. You can get these with the 6 speed manual or 8 speed auto gearboxes. Zeneca models come with 16” alloys as standard, a heated windscreen, a 6.5” touch screen and Apple/Android systems.

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The ST Line adds 17” alloys, a rear spoiler, sports steering wheel, sport pedals, red stitching on the wheel and seat trim, and ambient lighting.

There’s plenty of competition out there to keep the Focus on it’s toes, it has been the top dog in the hatch market and deserves a place for your consideration. But it will have to fight hard to stay in this competitive and increasingly niche market.

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Special mention : The Desert Blue paint enhances the aesthetics of the car and really draws the eye to every line.

Needs work :  The 1.0 petrol engine is a little soft around the edges, the 3 cylinder struggles with weight on board but it’s economy is the reason behind this.

Specs:

Max Power 120ps 1.0 Petrol / Manual
0-100 km/h in 11.3s Road Tax € 190.00
Prices start at €22,495 Claimed economy 58.8 mpg

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voU_CKisUE8&w=560&h=315]