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In review: The all-new Ford Focus ST-Line

Four drivers take the all-new Ford Focus ST-Line for a spin and share their thoughts about this popular hatchback.

2018 Ford Focus ST

2018 Ford Focus ST

The all-new Ford Focus ST-Line offers something for everyone. These four drivers all have different needs when it comes to cars, from commuting to work to family road trips. Let's see how they fared with this exciting new hatchback.

Name: Claire Barry

Needs a car for: Commuting to work and weekend trips

I used the car to travel to Portpatrick from Glasgow. I was away for the weekend with friends and family so I was looking forward to having a large enough car to fit all our cases and food (my MINI was nowhere near big enough).

The seats were very comfy for a 2-hour drive. There was enough room for everyone and the driver’s seat was great for me. I usually get a sore back after a long journey, but not this time!

The sat nav was very accurate and gave plenty of notice when I had to change route. I sometimes find cars tell you at the last minute which direction to go, but the Ford Focus gave you more time to react.

There was definitely enough room for everyone in the back. Everyone was very comfortable and it had enough head and leg room. The boot size was also good for five small suitcases and a few extra bags.

The only downside was that the car was not as fast or powerful as my current car (I drive a MINI S, which is a pretty powerful car!). I would definitely use the Focus for another long-distance journey.

Name: Julie Rooney

Needs a car for: A family of five

I had the car for a few days just for the usual commuting and ferrying the kids about. The longest journey I made was about 50 minutes and it was very comfortable.

My kids loved the fact that they could use their iPads, and there was no drama over YouTube or their favourite game not working. Overall, the whole family seemed happy with the Focus. In fact, my six-year-old son said this was the best car we’ve ever had!

Julie Rooney's children in the Focus ST.

Personally, I really enjoyed driving the Focus. It’s smaller than my 7-seater but there was still plenty of space for a family of five. In the back, there’s loads of room for adult passengers too, even in the middle it’s not too squashed. I am 5’5” and found it really comfortable.

The Focus handled much better that my current car, too! I tried the various different driving modes and would say that the Sport mode is the most fun, and although I drove in Sports mode for the majority of the time, it didn’t really impact too much on fuel consumption.

The sat nav was great. Even my kids managed to use it – finding their friends’ homes easily. The console is easy to navigate and it’s easy to switch from media to navigation.

The park assist was great. There are parking sensors all around the car making parking much easier.

Name: Cameron Day

Needs a car for: A city run-around

I had the Focus for two days, using it for commuting and some other short journeys.

The first thing I noticed when I got into the all-new Focus is how far the interior quality has come on from the last generation, which I spent quite a bit of time in. The interior plastics are of a much better quality, making it feel like cars at a much higher price point.

The technology that comes with the new Focus takes this new premium feel even further. I was overwhelmed by many different comfort and safety features, like the automatic lights and wipers which made morning winter commutes just a bit easier, and the lane departure warning which would give an audible alert when the car got close to coming out of its lane.

One thing that is familiar from the last generation Focus and other cars in Ford’s range is the way it drives. On back roads the car felt composed and took on road bumps with ease. The handling was just right and one thing that took me by surprise is how little the Focus leans in corners.

The 1.0-litre car I tested had 123bhp, which was more than enough for my journeys and would be plenty for most buyers. It was fitted with a 6-speed manual box that was sharp and precise, with a light clutch. This made my drive through town smooth and comfortable.

My commute involves a long stretch of the M74 motorway, which is notoriously bumpy. The Focus made light work of this, and gave the impression of being in a much larger car. At motorway speeds the lack of road and wind noise was a pleasant surprise.

Name: Angelos Sfakianakis

Needs a car for: The joy of driving

The hatchback segment has always been my favourite but it’s the most demanding too. People have high expectations from these cars: from serving as day-to-day commuters, carrying all the family and luggage on weekend trips to bringing a smile to the driver’s face on a B-road every now and then.

In my opinion, this Focus is one of the best hatchbacks on the market right, now covering all the above expectations – and then some!

Starting with the interior, it feels so much tidier, better designed and ergonomic too, when compared with the previous generation model. Everything seems well screwed together , and the soft plastics that cover most of the dashboard give a pleasant touch.

What makes this car really stand out is the way it drives. I was testing it for just two days but straight away I appreciated the substantial steering wheel with the reassuring feedback that is genuinely a rare thing for a car of this segment.

What’s more, the 1.0-litre engine is more than enough, managing to hit 0-60 miles in just ten seconds. It never felt off the pace and I bet it will be cheap both to buy and run. That said though, if you are slogging up and down the motorway, one of the diesels will be a far better choice in the long run. In particular, the 120hp 1.5 diesel has equally all the punch you’ll need and can comfortably achieve 60mpg.

So, the new Focus keeps its spot at the top for driving dynamics, but adds extra improvements too. A highly recommended car. Or even better, a multi-talented hatchback.

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Ford Focus ST-Line test drivers