By 2005 the Focus name had firmly replaced that of Escort, and while this second generation lost some of the original model's more radical styling, it gained space in compensation. With a bigger interior and improved materials throughout the second generation Focus built on its predecessor's sales, continuing as a family favourite in the hatchback marketplace. Competing head-to-head with Toyota’s Corolla (and latterly Auris), the Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra, the Ford has always appealed to those who enjoy driving as well as to the mass market.
Available in three- and five-door hatchback, four-door saloon and estate body styles the Ford Focus offers an extensive range for every type of buyer. That’s true too of the engine choice, which encompasses everything from an entry-level 1.4-litre petrol unit, to a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged screamer in the range-topping sporting ST model. Fun as the three-door only ST is, it’s not for everyone, not least as its spectacular performance comes with a fairly hefty economy premium - the official combined consumption figure of 9.3 litres/100km hitting you hard at the pumps.
Best then to stick to the smaller petrol and diesel choices - there being two TDCi turbodiesel offerings. The first, a 1.6-litre unit, comes with either 90- or 109hp, while the 2.0 TDCi engine develops 136hp. That 1.6 TDCi delivers ample pace though - reaching 100km/h in 12.6 seconds from rest, mixed with good consumption of 4.5 litres/100km. A mid-life refresh in 2008 saw the Focus gain back some of the edge it lost in 2005, while equipment levels were adjusted across the range. That range consists of Ford’s now familiar trim lines of Style, Zetec and Ghia, with that ST at the top of the line-up. You’ll struggle to find anything but Style models in the classifieds, as it was by far the biggest selling trim level. It came with air conditioning, alloy wheels, electric windows and mirrors and remote central locking.
You’ll be doing well to find anything but 90hp 1.6-litre TDCi models in Style trim, and it’s difficult to argue against the market forces in action. There’s so much choice out there you can afford to be picky and bargain hard, so shop around and buy the best condition, lowest mileage car you can afford.
Engine: 1,560cc four-cylinder turbodiesel
Maximum speed: 177km/h
0-100km/h: 12.6 seconds
Fuel consumption: 4.5 litres/100km
Euro NCAP: **** *
• Decent space
• Fun drive
• They’re everywhere
• No image
• Dowdy styling
Lacking the sharp looks of its predecessor the second generation Focus gained in practicality. A solid, if understated family car then, which retains Ford’s usual fun to drive character. Plentiful choice is a big draw, too, though it lacks the image of a Volkswagen Golf or sewing machine reliability of a Toyota Auris.