fbpx

Independent, impartial advice for car buyers and car owners

Find an Expert Rating: 
New car review

Ford Focus Estate review

Can the latest estate version of Ford’s mass-selling Focus turn buyers away from new challengers?

Summary

Having taken what was a very good family hatch and made it a whole lot better, Ford has now applied the same treatment to the estate version. At the same time, the opportunity has been taken to address its predecessor’s major failing – you can now actually make good use of the estate’s load compartment.
Design
8.0
Comfort
8.0
Driving
9.0
Value for money
8.0
Safety
9.0

Summary

Having taken what was a very good family hatch and made it a whole lot better, Ford has now applied the same treatment to the estate version. At the same time, the opportunity has been taken to address its predecessor’s major failing – you can now actually make good use of the estate’s load compartment.

Inside the Ford Focus Estate

This is where the new Focus estate scores big time over its predecessor and over virtually all rivals. The car is 10cm longer than the outgoing model with a wheelbase extended by 5cm, and this translates into a major liberation in carrying space.

With the rear seats up you get 608 litres of luggage compartment, which is only two less than the class-leading Skoda Octavia Estate. Folded down the Focus will now swallow some 1,653 litres, which is a massive 118-litre improvement on the old estate.

But it’s not just luggage that will feel the benefit. Rear seat passengers get significantly more leg, knee and shoulder room – even if you are the third rear-seat passenger this will feel a spacious car to travel in, because it is.

The load compartment is well thought-out too. Releasing the tonneau cover is an easy job and once you take it off there is a neat space for it under the load floor. Dropping the rear seats is a single-lever operation and if your cargo exceeds all this room every estate comes with roof rails.

We commented very favourably on the interior quality of the new Focus hatch, and of course that holds true for the estate as it is basically identical, a major advance with a much less cluttered and therefore upmarket appearance.

This is notable in the driver’s controls – only manual models retain a gear lever, auto versions using a much more compact rotary dial. The old handbrake lever has been replaced by an electronic switch, and on the centre console only the most important functions remain as buttons, the rest accessed through menus on the touchscreen.  On the upper-end models the tech available includes an effective head-up display.

Still certain rivals, notably the Volkswagen Golf, retain the edge on quality and one wonders if the Ford interior will be as durable in use as they will, but combining build quality with layout and space, the Focus is hard to reject.

Driving the Ford Focus Estate

Like the hatch the estate offers, a choice of up to eight power outputs across four engines, depending on trim level selected.  A 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit is available with 85, 100 or 125hp, its bigger 1.5-litre sister with 150hp and strictly for the ST-Line X and Vignale models, 182hp. All include cylinder deactivation technology to save fuel.

Ford expects more than 60% of sales to be of these 1.0-litre units, but also predicts significant diesel take-up, even in today’s market, from those for whom the Focus will be a long-distance motorway cruiser. For them the choice is between a 1.5-litre unit with either 95 or 120hp and a 2.0-litre with 150hp.

We spent most time on the hatch launch with the 125hp petrol unit so this time the 120hp diesel attracted much of our attention – it’s expected to be the engine of choice for the motorway muncher and it is easy to see why, this is a refined unit with impressive efficiency figures, especially the sub-100g/km CO2 figure.

2019 Ford Focus Estate road test | The Car Expert

It does feel slower than its 10.3-second 0-62mph time suggests, and you do have to work the six-speed manual transmission hard to get the most out of the powertrain. Alternatively, there is Ford’s brand-new eight-speed auto transmission which is impressively slick in operation.

On the hatch which model one chooses determines which rear suspension is fitted, lower spec versions using an industry-standard torsion beam. Reflecting its more load-carrying pitch, every estate comes with the rather better independent rear suspension.

Add in the lower ride height of our ST-Line car and adaptive dampers on the options list, and the result is a very effective on-the-road package. And our ST-Line did not produce any of the compromises in ride quality that sometimes comes with choosing a sports-pitched trim.

The car especially has to tick this particular box, as the Focus has always been renowned its road-holding and handling.  Rivals will continue to be frustrated as the new car, even in stretched estate form, rides in comfort and corners with confidence. It’s that old cliché – it really does not feel as if one is at the wheel of a load lugger…

Summary

Having taken what was a very good family hatch and made it a whole lot better, Ford has now applied the same treatment to the estate version. At the same time the opportunity has been taken to address this car’s major failing – you can now actually make good use of the estate’s load compartment.

For anyone who needs to rack up a lot of miles carrying a lot of stuff, the new Ford Focus Estate is a compelling proposition.

Good points
Major improvement in rear space
Independent rear suspension on all versions
Lots of new tech, including safety 

Bad points
Not as high quality as a Golf
Not (quite) as spacious as an Octavia
Vignale is not what it was launched as.

Key specifications

Make & model Ford Focus Estate Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Skoda Octavia Estate
Specification 1.5 TDCI EcoBlue ST-Line 6-sp manual SRi 1.6CDTi (110PS) S/S ecoTEC BlueInjec SE Technology 1.6 TDI 115PS
Price (on-road) £23,950 (range starts £19,400) £24,120 (range starts £19,700) £22,915 (range starts £18,900)
Engine 1.5-litre diesel 1.6-litre diesel 1.6-litre diesel
Power 120 hp 110 hp 115 hp
Torque 300 Nm 300 Nm 250 Nm
0-62mph 10.3 sec 10.6 sec 10.4 sec
Top speed 120 mph 121 mph 123 mph
Fuel economy (combined) 76.3 mpg 64.2 mpg 48.7 mpg
CO2 97 g/km 116 g/km 109 g/km
Insurance Group TBA 12E 12E
Euro NCAP rating 5 stars (2018) 5 stars (2015) 5 stars (2013)

 

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.
Having taken what was a very good family hatch and made it a whole lot better, Ford has now applied the same treatment to the estate version. At the same time, the opportunity has been taken to address its predecessor’s major failing – you can now actually make good use of the estate’s load compartment.Ford Focus Estate review