Perfect for the family motorist who also likes a bit of fun behind the wheel
As a used buy, Ford’s Focus isn’t perfect. It doesn’t have most space in the back or the biggest boot. If those elements are important to you and your family, the Skoda Octavia should be at the top of your wish list.
But the number of people who have happily bought and run a second- or third-generation Focus since their respective launches in 2006 and 2011 tells you that this good value, sporty to drive and reliable Ford shines in many other areas. It’s a very good alternative to rivals like the Vauxhall Astra, Renault Megane, Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3, and the number of buyers means there’s no shortage of choice on the used market.
We’ll concentrate on the third-gen Focus here. How much money will you need to pick up a good used example? The answer to that is at least £3500 for a 100,000-mile 1.6 diesel. For petrol-powered cars you’ll need to add around £1000 to get yourself into a 1.6-litre.
Expand the budget to £7000 and that should open up the way to a 60,000-mile 1.0 Ecoboost petrol, which despite the small-sounding engine capacity is actually both speedy on the road and light on fuel consumption. This would be our recommended engine choice. However, make sure you check that the official service work has been done to rectify a coolant leak on 1.0 Ecoboost cars registered between 2012 and 2013. Left unsorted, this can lead to engine damage.
In 2014 Ford facelifted the Focus. £8500 will secure an early one of those. For true enthusiasts the ST model is a great option, but even the oldest ones are still only two years old so you’ll need around £15,000.
Coming back to the mainstream range we’d plump for Zetec spec cars because they give you pretty much everything you might want – air conditioning, Bluetooth, a USB port, DAB radio and a heated windscreen. Buyers agreed, favouring Zetec above other trim levels, which means that you can afford to be choosy from a massive selection of used cars, only considering those with full service histories and no signs of accident damage.
Focus Powershift automatics need to change smoothly up and down the gears, and manual transmission cars have shown clutch problems, so check those too.