Ford Focus (14-): Material World

  • We're impressed with the quality of the cabin on our Focus
  • Materials feel hard-wearing but there are softer parts too
  • Could Ford go even more premium with its trim levels?

As one of the top-selling cars in the UK, the Focus is very much a pile-‘em-high product. There are often deals and discounts offering better-still value for money, but does that mean you have to scrimp when it comes to quality?

I’m happy to report that it doesn’t. Our Focus long-term test car is in a high specification, but the basic materials employed in the cabin are great too. It’s a mixture of hard-wearing plastics and softer-touch surfaces in all the right places, which mean the cabin’s finishing should stand the test of time while remaining a pleasant place to be for many thousands of miles.

Of particular note was the contrast you can see here on the door card, which blends the two types of finish stylishly and seamlessly.

It’s a similar case with the main components of the car too – the doors and bootlid feel solid, terminating with a pleasing ‘clunk’ when closed.

There’s a sense that all the weighting in the car has been very carefully thought out. All the controls feel perfectly resolved; the switches click pleasingly, the steering feels solid but accurate, the pedals offer just the right level of feedback.

Considering common knowledge sits the Focus way behind the real premium entrants in the family hatchback market – the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series – we’re pleasantly surprised in this sense. Sure, those more expensive German cars are allowed to make use of some shinier, higher-priced materials, but the basic make-up of the Focus doesn’t feel like it’s lacking anything either.

One area I wouldn’t mind a little up-lift in is the stereo, though. In fact, it isn’t the actual SYNC2 multimedia package, but the speakers – I’d like just a little better sound quality and punch from them. This is on offer from Ford through the Premium SYNC2 system, which costs an extra £400 but features a set of 10 Sony speakers and even includes a sub-woofer. You do lose a little boot room on one side of the enclosure where the sub sits, but I don’t think I’d have missed the space.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Ford extends its new Vignale range to the Focus. We’ve driven the Mondeo version – complete with the same sort of leather Bentley uses along with far more kit – and came away impressed at what’s possible when Ford tries to do luxury. Whether there are enough buyers of super-plush Focuses to warranty the project or not is another question, though.

As a final note, I was impressed with the performance of the variable cup-holder. That might sound like an odd thing to say, but it's very useful: simply adjust the retaining bars forwards or backwards to trap in the vessel you'd like to keep sercure. And it's not just for cups - I very often used it to secure my smartphone in place too, slotting down in front of the forward-most bar. 

Fuel economy: 48.8mpg

Mileage: 7,133