Ford Focus 1.0

Active Vignale

Ford Focus Active, front static 2
Ford Focus Active, side static
Ford Focus Active, rear static
Ford Focus Active, dashboard
Ford Focus Active, rear seats
Ford Focus Active, 2019, boot

THE once mighty Ford Focus is on the war path and fighting to win back sales.

Trouble is that so many other makers are churning out credible mid-size hatches - some with posher badges like Audi, Mercedes and BMW . So the cake is being divided into too many slices.

Nevertheless, the Focus remains one of the best choices for its blend of excellent driving dynamics alongside real-world economy and practicality.

In the form driven here, the Active Vignale is definitely an upper crust offering with loads of goodies on board - 13-inch touchscreen sat nav, heated front screen, electric folding door mirrors, selectable drive modes and parking sensors all round.

Keeping pace with latest trends, it's a hybrid which both aids economy and boosts the power output to an impressive 153bhp, pretty remarkable from a mere 1.0litre engine.

In fact, the three-cylinder, 999cc unit with 48-volt hybrid technology is a real stunner. It spins freely up to the red line without any sign of harshness, yet can provide ample torque if you'd prefer to potter along in a higher gear.

The six speed manual gearbox is among the best available with a short, slick change that would shame many sports cars.

The smartened exterior gives added road presence and makes the Focus a tad more squat-looking and purposeful. Inside, it gets Vignale sports seats, leather upholstery, a new engine start button and new digital instrumentation. All quite swish, which is exactly what's expected from the Vignale edition.

The car also had head-up display (£400) which is a worthwhile safety measure and Blind Spot Information system (£400), another useful feature.

The sparky little engine is pretty frugal when driven gently - 45mpg being easily attainable, but fall victim of its charms and floor the accelerator and consumption suffers noticeably. Well, you only have yourself to blame!

Special mention must be made of the Focus's precise steering. Unlike most bread-and-butter family runabouts, the Ford eschews vagueness and provides light but pin-sharp steering in the same way that Jaguar manages - in far more pricey models. A major triumph for a reasonably priced family saloon.

Handling is sporty and entertaining with excellent grip levels and little body roll. Nevertheless it remains comfortably composed over irregular surfaces. With acceleration to 63mph in nine seconds, it's no slouch either.

We found the sports front seats to be a trifle hard though decently shaped. No shortage of adjustment however. The steering wheel also raises and lowers as well as telescopes making a comfortable driving position easy to find.

Despite its compact external dimensions, there's ample room for four, or even five, in the cabin. Boot space is a competitive 375litres - marginally smaller than a Golf - and there are plenty of bottle holders and places to store the usual clutter. Practical and well planned, in typical Ford fashion.

Access and exit via the wide-opening four doors is good and legroom is reasonably generous in both front and rear.


999cc, 3 cyl, 153bhp petrol engine driving front wheels via manual gearbox







3yrs/60,000 miles


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