2019 Ford Focus Trend Review
Isaac Bober’s 2019 Ford Focus Trend Review with price, specs, performance, ride and handling, ownership, safety, verdict and score.
In an nutshell: All-new Ford Focus is bigger and better to drive, gets a punchy new engine and plenty of active safety.
2019 Ford Focus Trend Specifications
Price From $25,990+ORC Warranty 5 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5 star ANCAP rating Engine 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbo Power 134kW at 6000rpm Torque 240Nm at 1600rpm Transmission 8-speed auto Drive Front-wheel drive Dimensions 4378mm (L), 1825mm (W), 1454mm (H), 2700mm (WB) Kerb Weight 1332-1347kg (hatch) Towing 1200kg braked Towball Download 120kg Boot Space 443 litres Spare Space saver Fuel Tank 52 litres Thirst 6.4L/100km
Watch our Ford Focus Trend Video Review
It’s fair to say the Focus has never been as popular in Australia as it has been in other markets around the world, like the UK, for instance, although even there the vehicle’s popularity has been on the decline. Ford is hoping its all-new Focus which arrived here in December last year will turn things around.
What’s the price and what do you get?
Ford has done away with a traditional entry level model in the Focus range, opting to hope into the segment half-way through. Meet the Trend. This thing is priced from $25,990+ORC and is the cheapest way into a new Focus.
That puts the thing up against mid-spec rivals from other brands and, in that way, Ford’s approach mimics that of Toyota’s with the Corolla, eschewing entry-level $19,990 specials.
And the Focus Trend is intended to be competitive with a raft of active safety features and a feature packed infotainment set-up. Sure, there’s only a cloth interior for the money but that’s the same for many of this car’s competitors, including the Corolla.
There are some clever features you won’t find on competitors, though, like a active front grille which has louvres that can open or close to either improve engine cooling or aerodynamics. There are dusk-sensing headlights and rain-sensing wipers, 16-inch alloys instead of steel wheels with plastic covers, power windows with one-touch up and down for all four windows, selectable drive modes, an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple and Android connectivity. There’s native sat-nav too, with the ability for the car to be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot and more.
READ: Our international first drive of the Ford Focus HERE; and
READ: Our local first drive review of the Ford Focus HERE.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
Right off the bat the new Focus both is (50mm wheelbase stretch) and feels much bigger on the inside than its predecessor. Indeed, the cabin is one of the roomiest in the segment.
The dashboard is thinner and more compact than its predecessor and mounted a little lower which emphasises the glasshouse and adds to the sense of space from behind the wheel. Even the tablet-esque infotainment screen is right in your eye-line but doesn’t impact on vision out the front of the car.
In terms of design, the interior is very black but there’s enough difference between surface types that it doesn’t come off as boring. And there’s plenty of soft-touch materials too which have a quality the Corolla can’t match; press down on the soft-touch stuff in a Corolla and you can feel the hard-plastic core, you can’t on the Focus. Sure, there’s some harder, scratchier plastics down around the base of the dashboard but that’s not an area you touch much.
And then there are some nice touches, like the felt-lined door bins and the rubber lined storage bins or the cup holders with illumination rings. It’s stuff like this that adds to the air of quality in the cabin. And I’m a huge fan of the single-zone climate control design, it’s so simple and easy to use, honestly, every other car maker should copy what Ford’s done.
The front seats are nice and comfortable with decent length in the base which those of us with longer legs will appreciate on longer drives. The driver’s seat offers six-way manual adjustment and there’s a good range of movement on the steering wheel too.
Vision out the front of the Focus is excellent, as is side and rear vision either when shoulder checking, via the mirrors or the 180-degree, widescreen reversing camera.
But it’s over in the back where the Focus stands out from the segment. The backseat room is impressive and seems to be the place that’s benefitted most from the wheelbase stretch. There’s excellent knee, leg and foot room, the seats are comfortable and headroom is good too.
The floor in the back is mostly flat which means the middle seat is, despite its perch-ish shape, usable by an adult on a shorter journey. There’s no fold down armrest in the back, but I’ve got kids and they hardly ever fold down the armrest…and there are no directional rear air vents in the back of the Trend either but don’t panic because there are pipes underneath the front seats.
Around at the boot, the Trend offers 443 litres which eclipses the Corolla’s boot, no matter which variant you’re looking at, by a lot. It’s also one of the bigger boots in the segment. The shape is nice and square meaning you can load the thing right up to its extremities and there’s enough of a load lip to keep stuff from falling out when you open the tailgate but not so big for when you’re loading the boot. It’s worth noting that raising and lowering the tailgate is a one-hand job, and one thing I like is that the tailgate opening is the full width of the boot.
What are the infotainment and controls like?
There’s an 8.0-inch tablet-esque infotainment screen standard across the range. It features Ford’s SYNC3 system which we like a lot; it’s feature rich yet quite simple to use when you’re deep diving into it. It also offers Apple and Android connectivity and because it’s a latest-generation system offers access to Google Maps on an iOS device.
The touchscreen is nice and easy to use with a small shelf below it to rest your hand on when stabbing at the screen; and the touch sensitivity is perfect. But I’m a fan of hard buttons and you do get shortcut buttons below the screen.
The general controls are simply laid out and very easy to use when driving. The climate control functionality has already come in for mention earlier in the review, it really is very simple and clever.
Other controls, for some of the active safety is also very easy to access via buttons on the steering wheel. Unlike some Fords, the Focus seems to have just the right number of buttons rather than crowding the wheel.
In all, the controls and infotainment are simple and easy to use with the Ford setting an example others in the segment should follow.
What’s the performance like?
Standard across the range for the Focus is a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine and that sounds like it belongs on a sewing machine. But with 134kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1600rpm this thing is one of the cleanest revving and urgent-feeling engines in the segment.
No matter the hill, corner or overtaking manoeuvre, the Focus has grunt to burn, and the eight-speed automatic is smooth and slick, helping to keep the engine fizzing when you need it.
That said, there are some chinks. The gearbox is better with some speed on-board; at low-speeds it can surge a little. But time behind the wheel allows you to drive around this thanks to a nice progressive throttle.
There are several drive modes to choose from, Normal, Eco and Sport, and these do the usual, tweak the throttle, transmission and steering feel. I fiddled with them all and Normal was the pick.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.4L/100km and in our week with the Focus Trend averaged just slightly higher than that at 6.7L/100km which is still very impressive and only a litre more than we managed in the Corolla ZR Hybrid. And the Focus is a spritelier vehicle than that one. That said, Ford recommends 95RON fuel in a segment where 91RON is the norm, although it’s not alone.
What’s the ride and handling like?
Wow. Just wow. The Focus Trend rides, like plenty of others in the segment, on a torsion beam rear end. And not only is the ride and handling better than any other torsion beamed car in the segment, it’s also better than most others with independent rear ends.
There’s a fluidity and agility to the way the Trend rides and handles that is truly impressive. There are ‘sporty’ models in the segment that aren’t as good as this thing, and it’s a ‘base model’ car.
Vehicles that are fun to throw at a corner can often be a bit of a pain across poor surfaces, but that’s not the case with the Focus. The chassis is taut but it irons out bumps in the road without any thump-through into the cabin and a general control you normally associate with more expensive vehicles.
The steering too feels good, both the wheel in your hands, and the way it behaves. There’s excellent weight and feel, a progressive and consistent action, and excellent straight-ahead composure.
The other thing you’ll notice, or, rather, won’t notice is wind and road noise. There’s next-to-no tyre noise either, even across coarse bitumen and the cabin is incredibly quiet.
Does it have a spare?
Yes, a temporary spare. It’s worth mentioning that the spare in our test car was a full-size spare with a steel wheel. This is because it was an early delivery car, according to Ford, which has told Practical Motoring that the Focus is officially equipped with a temporary, space saver spare. So, that means some lucky buyers will get a full-size without realising.
Can you tow with it?
Yes, up to 1200kg braked but it’s a small car, so, if you really need a car that can tow, maybe you’d be better off with something bigger.
What about ownership?
The Focus is covered by Ford’s five-year unlimited kilometre warranty with servicing for those first five years capped at $299 per service. Those owners who take up Ford’s Service Price Promise will also be able to access a loan car and tyre-price promise. Servicing is 12 months or 15,000km.
What safety features does it get?
This is where Ford is hoping the Focus will woo buyers. Standard across the range is an impressive line-up of active safety, like autonomous emergency braking, with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning (but the active cruise control needs to be on for this to work), rear parking sensors with a 180-degree, wide-angle reversing camera, hill hold assist, speed limiter, post-impact braking to stop you from ricocheting into another vehicle, emergency assistance, six airbags for the front and back, and a five-star ANCAP rating.