by Seán Creedon

The Ford Focus is a very popular car, but it’s not a model I would associate with Station Wagons or Estates. When I think of an estate the Ford Mondeo or maybe the Opel Insignia or Skoda Combi come to mind.

Recently I got to drive the Estate version of the Focus Active and was very impressed. My test model came in a Frozen White colour and it certainly stood out from in the crowd in the supermarket car park around Christmas time.

A black roof complimented the white body colour. At first I thought it was a sunroof, but it looks like the black roof was for aesthetics only.

Ford had a manufacturing plant at the Marina in Cork city for decades and Irish people have a great love of the Ford brand.

The Focus, which was launched in 1998, replaced the best selling Escort and we are now into the fourth generation of the Focus. It has proved to extremely popular with Irish motorists, who have purchased over 130,000 units over the past 22years. The Focus was named Irish Car of the Year in 1999 and 2005.

Each revamp means more improvements and modifications. The new version includes significant changes to the grille and the rear lights. The letters Focus are now spelt out on the door of the boot which looks class. Volvo already had used the idea and I notice that Skoda has now done likewise with their new models.

You may remember the first versions of the Focus when the most popular colour seemed to be silver. You still see a lot of those silver cars on Irish roads. The Focus quickly established a reputation as the C-segment leader in terms of both technological excellence and great driving dynamics. 

Ciaran McMahon, MD of Ford in Ireland said: “In spite of the rise of the SUV over the last number of years, Focus is consistently in the top 10 for car sales in Ireland and we are sure that this high-tech new Focus will delight the many fans that the nameplate has won over the last 22 years.”

I have always been a huge fan of cars with the famous Blue Oval, but was a bit disappointed at the fuel consumption in the 1.0-litre Eco Boost Focus my daughter bought in 2015. It certainly was/is a bit thirsty.

The Estate version that I drove over Christmas was also a 1.0-litre Eco Boost and I couldn’t honestly say it was a frugal engine. It certainly was a relaxing car to drive and travel in. A few of my passengers commented on how comfortable the seats were.

It was an Estate so naturally there was massive room in the boot. And the really good news is that underneath all that space was a ‘mini’ spare wheel. The only thing I didn’t like was the electric handbrake. Please Ford bring back the old-fashioned hand-brake. There were front and rear sensors, but I probably would have preferred a reversing camera.

Prices for the regular Focus start at €23,364, while the Active Estate version I drove starts at €26,414. The Active version gives you lots of goodies, but of course you pay for them as all those goodies brought the price of the car as tested to €28.114.

Road tax is €190. For me, just one word describes the Focus range, dependable.