Ford Focus Estate

Review of the Ford Focus Estate

The new Ford Focus Estate is more handsomely designed than ever before. But while style matters to large family car buyers, substance matters more. This Ford isn’t as practical as some rivals, but it’s still efficient, versatile and gets the job done.

The estate version doesn’t cost all that much more than the hatchback from which it’s derived, but you get more space and a bigger boot. And like the hatchback, this estate variant handles well. You definitely won’t be losing out in that area if you’re looking for something bigger for your family. OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our Ford Focus Estate review.

On the Road

Ford would have been a bunch of wallies had they failed to recapture the hatchbacks excellent drivability here. Sure, the Estate version is bigger, but you have to double down on your strengths – and Ford have done just that. The Focus Estate has a range of punchy, responsive engines, and is arguably the best handler in this class. The steering is direct, and the suspension is well-weighted.

Ford Focus estate in teal blue in showroom

There are a handful of diesel and petrol engines available, with the range kicking off with the ageing 1.6-litre TDCi diesel. It’s getting on in years, but at least it’s fairly cheap. You can get it in either 94 or 118bhp guise, and fuel economy is the same for each. A 1.6-litre diesel engine is available in either 94 or 113bhp guise, but both are not as refined or as economical as the 1.5-litre option.

There is also a 2.0-litre TDCi available with the powerful Titanium models.

We like the petrol engines, which benefit from the brand’s energy-saving EcoBoost tech. The engines seem might small, but thanks to turbochargers they are able to give the estate all the shove it needs while matching the fuel economy of bigger units.

A 1.0-litre 125bhp is a bit of a star. It costs less than £50 a year to tax, and offers sprightly acceleration. It combines well with a 6-speed manual transmission. If you want a bit more power, a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol power plant comes in either 148 or 180bhp form, with the latter capable of turning the car into a sports car (well, almost).

If you’re operating on a budget, though, a smaller 1.6-litre petrol unit is a safe bet. It can deliver either 104 or 123bhp, but doesn’t have as much life to it as the other engines.

Interior, Design and Build

ford fiesta estate interior

Ford couldn’t really go wrong with the interior, as the hatchback’s was already comfortable and a pleasant place to be. They focused on making it even more comfortable, and they’ve succeeded by and large. The supportive seats are adjustable, and the cabin is especially quiet at low speeds. But even when you put your foot down, not too much external noises creeps in.

One area that’s been revised is the dashboard. The outgoing Focus Estate’s dash had way too many buttons that led to a lot of confusion. It’s now much more user friendly and easier on the eye, largely thanks to the introduction of a sizeable colour touchscreen. Build quality, meanwhile, is good, though it’s not the best in the class.

Ford went all-out to make the Focus Estate’s bigger than last time around, but its capacity of 476-litres is still well-beaten by many rivals. Still, in isolation 476-litres will be more than enough for most people most of the time. Moreover, you can increase it to 1,502-litres by folding down the rear seats.

In terms of overall practicality, the Ford is hit and miss. There is a good amount of leg, head and storage space upfront, but it doesn’t have as many smart practical touches as its rivals. Underfloor storage, for example, would have been welcomed. Three adults moreover will be just about comfortable in the rear, but it’s more a case of “making do” than anything else.

Equipment

Trim levels start with the Style model, which means the Studio model that you’ll find in the hatchback range is missing. The Style model is well-equipped, and gets air conditioning, 16” steel wheels, electronic stability control, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, and a DAB digital radio as part of its standard kit.

The Zetec is even more impressive, and gets alloys, heated door mirrors, a leather steering wheel and front fog lights, while the Zetec S comes with bigger alloys, LED daytime running lights, and sports suspension. If you’ve got the cash, the range-topping Titanium X has heated front seats, an enhanced parking assistance system and a rear view camera. It will, however, lose its value quicker than the other models.

Review Of The Ford Focus Estate

Costs of the Ford Focus Estate

Prices for the new car start out from £17,300 and rise to £27,500. For more information on our Ford Focus Estate lease deals, you can check out our page here.

In terms of running costs, the Focus Estate fares well. The most basic model does without the more efficient EcoBoost petrol or TDCi diesel engines, but apart from that fuel economy is generally excellent.

The cheapest engine to run is the 1.5-litre TDCi diesel unit, which averages returns of 74.3mpg in either 94 or 118bhp guise. Both are also exempt from road tax. The 1.6-litre TDCi diesel engine is cheaper to buy, but returns of 67.3mpg are the best it can muster.

The petrol engines are cheaper to run than ever, thanks to turbocharging technology. Still, the 58.9mpg managed by the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is still some way off the diesels.

Pros and Cons of the Ford Focus Estate

Pros:

Cons:

Fun to drive

It’s never going to be as dramatic as a BMW, but you won’t find a better family estate to drive in this class.

Comfortable

Ford have done a great job of blending sharp handling with excellent ride quality.

Looks great

 Not much has changed from last time around, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The Zetec and Titanium models get treated to a slicker multi-bar chrome grille, while the lights are now smoother.

Relatively small boot

The dimensions are the same as last time around, which means the boot size remains unchanged. So again it’s almost 200-litres smaller than the one in the Peugeot 308 SW.

Depreciates badly

If you don’t want it to depreciate so badly, it’s better to shop in the used market.

Can you see yourself whizzing around in the Ford Fiesta Hatchback? Before you do that, we recommend having a look at their history

Ford Focus Estate vs Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Estate vs Volkswagen Golf Estate

Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our Ford Focus Estate review.

Ford Focus Estate vs Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Estate

The new Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer Estate is much better than last time around. It’s more stylish, and comes packed with some genuinely useful and neat advanced tech.

The Astra Estate is hands-down one of the best cars in this sector to drive. It’s a family estate that isn’t too big, which means the Vauxhall team have been able to make it as agile and as entertaining as possible. It’s also comfortable, which makes it a bit of an all-rounder.

Vauxhall Astra sports tourer in red driving

In bends, it does a good job of resisting body lean while offering you lots of grip. It weighs significantly less than last time too, which further strengthens its on-road abilities. No complaints at all about the way this car drives.

The engine range is rich in choice. Petrol engines include a naturally aspirated 99bhp 1.4-litre four-pot, a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-pot 104bhp, a 1.6-litre turbocharged 197bhp – plus lots more. Some are remarkably quick too, with the 1.4-litre 123bhp able to get you from rest to 62mph in just 8.2 seconds. The 1.6-litre 197bhp does it a whole second quicker.

There are a handful of diesel engines to choose from too, and all offer event performance. Our top pick is a 1.6-litre 134bhp. This the mid-range diesel engine that is both performative and cheap to run – fuel economy returns veer between 63 and 74mpg if you opt for an automatic or manual transmission.

The cheapest engine to run, though, is a 1.6-litre 108bhp unit that can achieve returns of 83mpg while costing you nothing in road tax.

The cabin is vastly improved. All of a sudden, the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer feels upmarket, both in terms of the quality of its materials and its design. The driving position is fab, the dash is visually striking and easy to use, whole the Intellilink infotainment system is a highlight. It’s minimal and smart.

In terms of practicality, the Vauxhall fares reasonably well. The 540-litre boot is far from being class-leading, but it’s still usable. Moreover, there are lots of other storage spaces to be found in the cabin, including plenty of cubbyholes, a good-sized glovebox and good-sized door bins. Leg and headroom is good upfront and in the back, and wide-opening doors make it easy for your kids to get in and out.

Price:

Ford – £17,160 – £27,710

Vauxhall – £17,200 – £25,500

Ford Focus Estate vs Volkswagen Golf Estate

Volkswagen gold estate in grey driving

The new Volkswagen Golf Estate has always excelled when it comes to quality and practicality, but it’s always been a bit dearer than its rivals. That remains the case.

This 2017 VW Golf Estate manages to be better to drive than its predecessor. This is a huge bonus, because the outgoing model received criticism for its dour driving experience. Now, the light but weighty enough steering makes the car agile in the town. It’s also much more precise.

However, the Focus Estate is still the better handler.

The Golf does a good job at hiding its weight, though. It’s actually heavier than last time, but you wouldn’t really notice it. Even the slowest 1.2-litre petrol engine can do 0-62 in 12.6 seconds. This means that keeping up with traffic won’t be a problem for you.

However, you will want some more shove, and a 1.0-litre TSI BlueMotion petrol can offer a satisfactory amount. It has enough power in its armoury to get you from rest to 62mph in 9.7 seconds.

Diesels are better suited to cars of this size, though. Deriving most of their power from mid-range, they make it easier to haul a hulking estate car such as this through the town. And although the 1.6-litre 104bhp does 0-62 in 10.7 seconds on paper, the reality is that it feels quicker than that.

As always, the Volkswagen Golf Estate’s cabin is a nice place to be. It’s well insulated from exterior noises, comfortable (though adding the £815 Dynamic Chassis Control will make it much more comfortable), and feels upmarket throughout. The 5.8” touchscreen might sound small, but it looks great and is used to control your stereo among other things. It also handily removes the need for button clutter. All the materials used are top quality – poke your head around and we’re sure you won’t find cheap plastics.

The 605-litre boot is super useful, though it’s not as big as some of its rivals. Its wide opening makes it easy to load larger items, while tugging the handles drops the rear seats to create up to 1,620-litres of space.

A large transmission tunnel will upset the middle-seated passenger’s enjoyment on longer journeys, but apart from that interior room is good upfront and in the back. There are plenty of storage spaces to help you keep the place tidy, and these include a sizeable cooled glovebox, a pair of cup holders at the front, and a cubby hole beneath the centre armrest.

Price:

VW – £19,000 – £30,000

Verdict of our Ford Focus Estate review

The new Focus Estate majors on being fun to drive, and no rivals can compete with it in this area. However, it falls a bit short when it comes to both practicality and economy.

Still, it isn’t woeful on either count. It also looks smart, and can boast a stellar engine line-up. Moreover, its solid reputation precedes it. As ever, the new Ford Focus Estate will continue to be a popular choice and for good reason.

Is the Ford Focus Estate the car for you? Let’s take a look at how reliable  Ford are on the road

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