Parkers overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 4.7

Should you buy a Ford Focus Active Estate?

Yes. It’s arguably one of the best Ford Focus models to go for, unless you really need a car that’s 190mm shorter (in which case the Focus Hatch is waiting for you) or secretly yearn for a hot hatchback, while considering the occasional thud of broken tarmac a welcome interruption in an otherwise uneventful drive. Not only is it big enough inside to cater for most family needs, it’s as capable as many larger estate cars at lugging furniture, appliances and of course, big dogs in crates.

It’s also equipped with sensible unpainted plastic on the extremities, and optional door protectors – it’s as if the designers spent some time watching how cars get treated in any suburban supermarket car park.

As well as being functional, it’s good looking – well proportioned, with plenty of pleasing details, and can be comprehensively equipped with technology for class-leading safety, driver assistance, and fairly impressive audio. Everything is well placed, pleasingly weighted and for the most part, well finished too. You’ll find a few bits that feel less premium if you dig, but then you’ll also find minor trim items readily affordable and available if accidents happen; the Focus (Active or not) makes it easy to shrug off the inevitabilities of using your car as a tool for family life.

It even represents good value. While there are cheaper models of Focus Estate, the Active specification is aligned with ST-Line – you get the same features with different styling and suspension tune, for the same price. All estate versions of the Focus feature the more sophisticated multi-link suspension normally reserved for the 2.0-litre and ST models, too.

There are some very credible rivals that could tempt you away, of course, and it seems this style of car is set to become a trend into the 2020s. There are two areas the Focus Active Estate hasn’t covered – all-wheel-drive, and any form of alternative power; efficient as the EcoBoost and EcoBlue engines are, there’s no zero-emissions option. It’s entirely possible both of those omissions could be rectified in the future, but for the time being Ford’s focus (pun intended) seems to be on making the conventional powertrains as efficient as possible.

Crucially, there’s not competition at this price bracket, unless you’ve gone crazy on the options list. Volkswagen’s four-wheel drive Golf Alltrack starts at £33,465, which is where you’ve run out of bits to add to the Focus Active, and the similarly-sized Volvo V60 Cross Country is over £40,000. What will prove tempting – and often, more affordable for higher spec with the bonus of 4x4 - is the high-riding and bulky crossover that the Focus Active Estate set out to distract you from in the first place.