Ford Focus ST-Line X Review
A full review of one of the best-selling family cars in the UK.
This review was written almost six months ago, so optional extras, specifications, and pricing may have changed slightly.
The fourth-generation Focus is one of the best-selling cars in the UK and used to be ‘the’ best-selling car in the UK, although that was back in 2008. But the Focus has come a long way, seeing as it’s been in production since 1998. The new, or should I say all-new Focus is built on a brand-new platform. So, it gets a re-engineered body that’s stiffer for dynamic handling and it’s safer too, with a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
It’s had a few different looks over the years and the design has improved massively, it really has. Ford have given the new Focus a much sleeker design, compared to its predecessor. The interior has improved an awful lot, too. It feels more premium, especially with the sporty-looking ST-Line X trim. There is of course the even sportier ST, and not forgetting the RS, which is now sadly discontinued due to emissions.
Just like the Fiesta MK8, the Focus also gets a few new trim levels, the chunkier-looking Active range, and the luxury Vignale. As for the ST-Line X, you get a good amount of features as standard. I mean, rightly so considering it starts at £25,590, and works its way up to just over £35k. Ooft, you can buy a Focus ST with the Performance Pack for that price. Decisions, decisions.
The Focus ST-Line X is available with diesel and petrol engines, and they can all come with a choice of automatic and manual transmissions, which all send power to the front wheels. For the petrol's, there’s a 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine with 123bhp or a 1.5-litre four-cylinder 180bhp. As for the diesels, there’s the 1.5-litre EcoBlue 118bhp or the 2.0-litre EcoBlue 148bhp.
I tested the 1.5-litre EcoBlue, with the six-speed manual. It has a slightly low-end turbo lag, but it’s relatively smooth once it picks up. It can sound a little grumbly, although it’s not as bad as I’m possibly making it out to be. It’ll do 119mph, with 0-62 mph time in 10 seconds, we’re talking 221lb-ft and it’s expected to get around 70mpg. I didn’t get anywhere near that, mind you, that’s probably because I wasn’t driving like my Nan.
I personally wouldn’t recommend any of the diesels unless you’re doing long journeys. The 1.0-litre 123bhp will suit most people. For those who feel they like more power, you know where to look – as there’s only one other petrol option. As for gearboxes, I haven’t tried the automatic, but I would always recommend a manual gearbox, unless you live in an urban area.
The Focus feels firm around the corners, even at a push. The steering feels well-weighted and I’m not just saying this, but it did put a smile on my face a few times. There’s not much to dislike about the drive, or even the car if I’m honest. Since my review has been uploaded, I’ve driven some of its rivals, the Vauxhall Astra, Honda Civic and the Skoda Octavia. None of them drove better than the Focus.
The inside feels smart and well-laid-out. There’s red stitching on the centre console, gear gaiter, door trims, floor mats, flat-bottomed steering wheel, and the partial leather seats. It gets a few more features like an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a dual zone climate control. Oh, did I forget to mention, the front seats are also heated. Yeah boy.
The 8-inch infotainment touch screen uses Ford’s Sync 3 system, equipped with Sat Nav, DAB, USB, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi hotspot. It’s also compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The system is responsive, and the positioning is great, especially as it’s just under eye level. You can get the directions displayed on the instrument cluster, in case you have a nuisance passenger who keeps fiddling with the music.
All controls felt they were in the right place. At the end of the left indicator stalk, there’s a button for lane centering assist, which is included in the Driver Assist Pack for £800. This also gets you traffic sign recognition, auto high beam, adaptive cruise control and stop & go – for auto transmission only. There’s some optional extra features including a blind spot mirror system, head-up display, driver assist pack, convenience pack, CD player, openable panorama roof, a wireless charging pad, keyless entry, heated steering wheel, B&O surround sound system, and a hands-free tailgate.
Most Focus’s come with the FordPass integration, which allows you to connect to the car via the FordPass app to check when the service is due, check tyre pressures, fuel range, find where the vehicle is located and it allows you to lock and unlock the vehicle from a certain distance away. If your Focus is fitted with an automatic transmission, it also enables you to turn your car on and off. Cushty.
In the back there’s a good amount of room. The seats are comfy, and you could fit three people in the back without a problem. And even though the new Focus is slightly longer than its predecessor, it’s also lighter, too. Weighing 1,322kg for the base model and 1,363kg for the ST-Line X. The boot gets 443-litres without the rear seat area, and 1,320-litres with.
Although in my YouTube review I might have been harsh finding faults with the car. But looking back at it, the only things I’m still not too sure on were the top outer edges of the rear doors, as it doesn’t look quite right when the door is open, and the audio. When I listen to some music in the car, I like to crank up the volume so it’s loud, like, REALLY loud. The problem is, up to volume numbers 14/15, the audio is fine. But if you turn it up even more, the music gets quieter. It’s like it’s a safety feature, for the driver or audio system. Whatever. Frustrating is the word. Nevertheless, it’s a great car overall and there’s not much to dislike.