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Ford Focus (2011-2018) Buying Guide

Ford Focus (2011-2018)
Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Ford Focus (2011-2018)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

If ever you needed proof that mainstream doesn't have to mean mediocre, the Ford Focus is it. One of the UK's biggest-selling cars, the Ford Focus is one of the most accomplished contenders in the small family car segment and it's also one of the most affordable, thanks to so many of them having been sold. If you're looking for a car that's as frugal as possible you've got a choice of ultra-economical petrol or diesel models - just bear in mind that the 1.0 Ecoboost engine isn't as parsimonious as Ford claims. But if you're looking for driving thrills the ST or even hotter RS should be just the job - buy the latter at the right price and in the long term it could even prove to be a shrewd investment.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Great to drive
Lots to choose from
Wide model range
Keenly priced
Cheap to run
Smart design
Small boot
Basic entry-level models
Unsupportive seats
Key Dates 
3/11The Ford Focus Mk3 hatchback arrives with 1.6, 1.6T, 1.6 TDCi or 2.0 TDCi engines.
4/11There's now a Ford Focus estate, with the same engine choices as the hatch.
12/11The Zetec S hatch brings sporty styling with a choice of four engines. An estate arrives two months later.
3/12The Focus Econetic arrives with CO2 emissions of just 95g/km
6/12A 1.0T Ecoboost engine appears in 99bhp and 123bhp forms, along with the 247bhp Focus ST.
6/13An electric Focus is introduced, with a 100-mile range.
8/14A facelifted Focus reaches showrooms, with greater connectivity, 1.5-litre petrol or diesel engines plus revised suspension and steering.
1/16The first 345bhp third-generation Focus RS rolls off the production lines.
6/16The Focus ST-Line features sporty styling with frugal 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine.
Checklist 
  • Rear parking sensors are a must, as visibility through the back window is poor. They're part of the Convenience Pack.
  • Premature failure of the clutch and/or dual-mass flywheel can be an issue, but it's not especially common.
  • Some Focuses have stop/start which some owners find works erratically or not at all. It's usually down to the battery being on its way out.
  • Some engines can use coolant - potentially a lot of it. It's usually because of a leaking thermostat housing, which is easily replaced.
  • Some cars have a space saver spare wheel and some a compressor with some sealant; you can buy a full-sized spare though.
  • 18-inch wheels aren't unusual and they look great. They don't seem to harm the ride either, but they do increase road noise noticeably.
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