Steve takes a look at the Mk3 Focus to establish whether it makes a sensible used car purchase
Despite the oldest MK3 Focus models now nearing 9 years old the design still looks fresh and modern. The Focus did receive a facelift in 2014 which sharpened the looks by giving it a larger front grill and different bumper profile which helped bring the Focus design in line with the rest of the Ford range. The appearance of the Focus can differ greatly depending on the spec level with Titanium/Titanium X models benefiting from more chrome on the grill and larger wheels, whereas ST Line trim benefits from having sideskirts, rear diffuser and boot spoiler. Top spec performance models benefit from a similar bodykit also.
Sliding into the bucket seats on this model it is clear that the Focus has a very nice driving position with a great level of support from the seats. Furthermore occupants won’t be disappointed with the volume of space both in headroom and legroom which allows the Focus to carry four adults comfortably and five at a push. The boot size is 316 litres which is only 17 litres more than the Ford Fiesta. So I’d advise if you need more boot space then a Focus estate is more what you’re after. The dash is nicely laid out too with all the controls in easy reach and the infotainment set in your eyeline makes it easy to use.
The larger screen on facelifted models (post 2014) is far better than the predecessor as depending on model you’ll benefit from Ford’s Sync 2 infotainment system. Pre-faced models made do with an array of buttons on the dash, whereas the new touch screen as made the dash appear more tidy. I personally find Sync 2 one of the best infotainment systems on the market as the touch screen is very responsive and easy to use. It also benefits from a DAB radio. I would recommend trying to go for the sat nav extra on the sync 2 as is a superb sat nav, with clear instructions and good mapping. Facelifted models can also come with the self-parking function. Most Focus models come well spec’d even in the lower trim forms with electric front windows, electric heated mirrors, digital radio, Bluetooth and heated windscreen as standard. ST performance models range from ST through to ST3 which differ from engine options which is either a diesel or 2.0 litre petrol as well as bucket seats and leather trim on some models.
On The Road
The model I have on test is a 2016 ST Line fitted with the 1.5 Duratorq diesel engine and mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox. As you’d expect various engine options are available to cater for all tastes and budgets including a 1.6 petrol, 1.0 litre Ford Ecoboost petrol engine which is sprightly but unfortunately do not match their claimed MPG figures and 2012-2013 models had a tendency to experiemce engine failure. There was also either a 1.5 in 105 or 118bhp, 1.6 or 2.0 diesel which will average between 30-50mpg. All engines come with either a 6 speed manual or option Fords Powershift automatic. The latter is very smooth but can become problematic if not maintained correctly. Whichever Focus model you choose you’ll find a car that has great road manners with suspension with his compliant and is able to absorb bumps well. As you’d expect ST models have very firm lowered suspension making you feel more bumps in the road. Good suspension is complimented by direct steering which is light but provides a good feel as to where the wheels are pointing. The brakes are also more than capable at bringing the Focus to a stop quickly and without fuss, as you’d expect the brakes on performance models are beefier than other main stream models.
Now in its third generation the Mk3 Focus does make a sensible used car purchase and despite being slightly smaller than some of its rivals it certainly makes excellent all round family transport.