Ford Focus 2017There is a reason why the Focus has been in the top three of the UK’s sales charts almost continuously for years. It’s a well-priced and rather attractive everyday family car that makes sense for buyers simply looking for a balance of attributes.

It’s not the roomiest and its boot falls well short of the class leaders, which is potentially a deal-breaker, but it’s packed with convenience and safety technology. Ford’s latest SYNC voice control system is among the most intuitive systems of its type, too.

The range of trims has shrunk over the years and the range now consists of four sections: entry-level Zetec Edition, the two Titanium models known as the Luxury Collection, the low-CO2 and electric versions in the Environmental Collection and the ST-Line, ST and RS in the Sport Collection. That makes it easy to narrow down your choices.

While the Focus doesn’t quite have the zesty, eager drive of models past, it’s still a good steer. The controls are easy to navigate around, too, and as part of the latest updates navigation has been standardised. That’s an impressive touch.

Hatchback and estate body styles are available, but neither is spacious versus their rivals. They are, however, pleasant and likeable. The interior plastics leave a little to be desired, but most of the Focus’ flaws are small. Overall it’s a good car.

Ford Focus 2017

Styling and status 3/5

It’s hard for a car as common as the Focus to achieve a premium image, and it won’t particularly draw the neighbours’ eyes. It’s stylish all the same, particularly from the front.

Engines 4/5

The Focus has excellent engines in terms of performance and drivability, but they struggle to match their official fuel economy. The diesels are still frugal for steady cruising.

Trims 4/5

Its impressive standard equipment lists are persuasive. Sat-nav, DAB radio, eight-inch touch-screen, heated windscreen and rear parking sensors are yours even on basic models.

Interior 3/5

Ford’s interior design isn’t as flowing or pretty as some, but the layout is functional and and mid-range trims accentuate the cabin with blue ambient lighting.

Equipment & technology 4/5

On top of the mighty standard kit list, highlights include a reversing camera, bi-xenon headlights, electric and heated seats, semi-automated parking, cruise control and leather upholstery.

Space & practicality 2/5

The hatchback’s boot is much smaller than that of a Golf, while the estate can only muster enough space to compete with compact SUVs. Rear legroom is adequate.

Safety 4/5

It may be ageing but the Focus scores the maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing. The active safety provision is comprehensive, even adding Trailer Sway Control when a towbar is specified from new.

Fuel economy & emissions 3/5

On paper the figures look good, but the petrols in particular fall well short of their targets. Likewise, the diesels are efficient, especially at a steady 60mph, but the claimed figures are well out of reach.

Prices 3/5

Ignore the retail prices, because dealers regularly knock thousands off brand new cars. The Focus sells well because it’s good value.

Verdict 3.3 stars

The Focus is an affordable, well-specified small family car that’s easy to drive and live with. The biggest problem is boot space, but otherwise it’s a solid choice.