Ford Focus Buyer’s Guide – (2011 to Present)
The Ford Focus a well-loved car across the UK, so here's a buyers guide to ensure you get the best one! read more...
The Ford Focus has been one of those cars that has been a smash-hit since its introduction and is considered right up there with the very best mid-sized hatchbacks. What are its biggest rivals though, and should you consider any of them ahead of a Focus? Well, personal taste aside, let’s take an objective look at the rivals and compare them one vs one.
Nissan should have had a success story on its hands when it came out with the Pulsar – a mid-sized hatchback that should have benefited from Nissan’s recent successes with its other cars. However, it all ended up being a bit flat, and though the Pulsar is undoubtedly a good car, it’s also lacking in any sort of fun and character. The Focus wins this hands-down – it’s better to drive, more desirable, and more stylish.
Another Japanese contender fairs much better against the Focus by going about things in a different way. The new Civic hatchback is probably the best car in the entire mid-sized hatch segment in terms of comfort and ride, so if you’re not somebody who likes to drive quickly, you’ll find the Civic a better machine to make a journey in than the harder, more sporty Focus. For us, the Civic’s diesel engine is also the best in class, making the Honda probably the best mid-sized hatchback to travel over long-distance in.
Probably the only thing that holds the Vauxhall Astra back is its lack of desirability. It’s unfashionable, but it’s a very good car with a great set of skills. It rides very well – more comfortably than the Focus – it has a good interior and a particularly strong performing bi-turbo diesel engine. It’s far from stylish and nobody really lusts after one, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it if you give it a chance, and we think it deserves one.
Though they are the same size, these two cars now operate almost in two different areas. In recent years, Volkswagen has made a big push to become a premium brand, meaning its prices have gone up and though it is a quality product, we can’t help but feel the Golf is now more for people with a more disposable income. Much like the Audi A3, in that sense. It’s a fine car that does just about everything you want it to, but to get one equipped like a Focus you’re going to have to spend more than you think.
The Skoda Octavia is built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf and shares many parts with its more expensive German cousin, but it is bigger, more practical, and cheaper to buy. The quality is the same as what you get in a Golf and if you want a hatchback that’s more like a saloon in size, this is your best bet, though it doesn’t drive as well as a Focus.
Often a brand that goes forgotten, Mazda currently makes some of the best handling cars on sale today. The Mazda 3 is perhaps the best car here for going up against the Focus in terms of sheer dynamic enjoyment. It has a modern, stylish look to it as well. You could do a lot worse than a Mazda 3, so if you fancy a Focus this is right up there with its strongest rivals.
The verdict, from Carsnip’s Editorial Chief, Tim Barnes-Clay:
The Ford Focus is an awesome car and it fends off the competition. But if you want something a little different, then the perhaps the dynamic Mazda 3 should be top of your shopping list.