It's hard to believe that it's nearly 15 years since the Ford Focus first rolled off the forecourt in the UK - and this versatile family car is still going strong.
The first Focus made an instant impact when it was launched in 1998 as it raised the bar for hatchbacks and much of its longevity is due to a combination of low running costs and the excellent value for money it provides.
Factor in responsive handling, fuel efficiency and an industry-leading safety record and it's easy to see why it's such a popular choice with motorists of all ages.
The Ford Focus range is strong across the board.
Ford prides itself on the sturdiness of its Focus models that shows out on the road. Most models have excellent fuel economy - ranging from 26mpg to over 74mpg - and drive with real purpose, so it's an all-round family car that will A to B and right through to Z with no problems, especially with the larger diesel engines.
The only problem with brand new Focus' is that they depreciate in value quite quickly, but this should work in your favour when you're buying a used model.
An impressive range of features is available across the entire Focus range, with the ST-3 packing the most bang for your buck into its comfortable interior.
The Ford Focus is one of those family cars that give you comfort, reliability and modern style without burning a hole in your pocket. Its affordability and expert engineering means that you get a sturdy and well-built car for a great price, whichever model you might choose.
The ST-3 at the top of the range has extra added comfort with heated seats in the front of the car, but the fact that that feature is missing from other models doesn't mean that you lose comfort in any way. Honestly, the Ford Focus is spacious and comfortable throughout the entire range.
It's one of the most affordable cars on the market, not just in terms of the initial purchase, but also in terms of what it costs to run it. Most models offer good fuel economy and maintenance and repair costs are normally rather reasonable.
Old Focus' tend to feel a little roomier on the inside and in the boot, but the sloping roof design on the new model seems to lessen that feel. It's still very comfortable and not cramped in the slightest, so it's perfect in terms of practicality.
Safety is paramount and the Focus always scores well in the Euro NCAP crash tests, with the Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI 'Trend' earning five stars in the 2012 Euro NCAP crash tests.
The Ford Focus launched in Europe in 1998 and succeeded the Escord as Ford's main family car.
Here's a brief overview of the history of the Ford Focus, from its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in the late 1990s to modern day.
- The Ford Focus launched in Europe in 1998 and succeeded the Escort as Ford's main family car.
- The arrival of the Focus attracted a lot of attention as 100,000 were sold in Europe alone by March 1999.
- A second-generation Focus was revealed at the Paris Motor Show in 2004 with a revamped interior and exterior. It was the first major redesign since the Focus was introduced six years previously.
- The Focus RS WRC edition secured the FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers' title in 2006, the first time Ford won the prestigious competition in 27 years.
- Ford successfully defended their FIA World Rally Championship manufacturers' title the following year.
- The next-generation Focus arrived in 2011, having been unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in the previous year.
The Ford Focus range has been going strong for well over a decade and there are many different models to choose from in the used car market.
Here we look at the key features that the various models offer to motorists.
Ford Focus Studio
Air conditioning, USB connectivity, 16" alloy wheels, Ford Easy Fuel with capless refuelling that means it's impossible to put the wrong fuel in the car, electric door mirrors with side turn indicators, front side and curtain airbags, ABS and ESP, Torque Vectoring Control, radio/CD player, Isofix child safety seat attachments.
Ford Focus Edge
Air conditioning, Thatcham category 1 alarm, Trip/fuel computer, 16" design steel wheels, radio/CD player, Ford Easy Fuel capless refuelling, front side and curtain airbags, Isofix child safety seat attachments, electric door mirrors, remote central locking.
Ford Focus Zetec
Quickclear windshield, front fog lamps, DAB radio/CD player, 16" alloy wheels, heated door mirrors, sport-style front seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel, Bluetooth, voice control and USB connection, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance.
Ford Focus Titanium
Engine start/stop button, dual-zone electronic air temperature control, DAB audio system, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, cruise control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, Bluetooth, voice control and USB connection, interior ambient lighting, automatic headlamp control, auto-dimming rear view mirror, rear lamps with LED technology.
Ford Focus Ztec S
Engine start/stop button, full-body styling kit, 17" alloy wheels, quickclear windshield, front fog lamps, DAB radio/CD player, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, Bluetooth, voice control and USB connection, sport-style front seats, sports suspension, heated door mirrors.
Ford Focus ST-1
Engine start/stop button, Front fog lamps, DAB radio/CD player, 18" alloy wheels, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance, Bluetooth, voice control and USB connection, ST suspension, premium centre console.
Ford Focus ST-2
Engine start/stop button, quickclear windscreen, dual zone electronic air temperature control, Rain sensing windscreen wipers, 18" alloy wheels, ST suspension, premium centre console, DAB radio/CD player, Bluetooth, voice control and USB connection, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance.
Ford Focus ST-3
Engine start/stop button, keyless entry, rear parking sensors, dual zone electronic air temperature control, rain sensing windscreen wipers, DAB Radio/CD player, 18" alloy wheels, heated front seats, ST suspension, premium centre console, quickclear windscreen.