Britain's best-selling family hatchback is now smarter than ever before


Ford has taken its much-loved Focus range and given it an extensive makeover to maintain its position as not only Britain's best-selling hatchback but also the world's.

In come fresher and smarter looks, higher quality materials and more technology. But let's start with the looks.

The Mark III Focus could never really be described as handsome – especially with its fussy front end. For 2014, however, Ford has given the Focus its new family nose; but unlike the Fiesta, which received the same treatment over 12 months ago, the corporate schnoz works much better with the Focus. It looks more complete rather than stuck-on, a la Fiesta.

There's also a new bonnet to help give the car a lower and wider presence. To the rear the previously oversized lights have shrunk and there's a slightly altered boot lid.

The interior has received an extensive makeover, too. Gone is the old Focus' fiddly centre stack and in its place is a much clearer and easier to use arrangement.

The updated stack is dominated by a new eight-inch touchscreen which handles all the usual features such as sat-nav, Bluetooth, air conditioning, Ford's clever MyKey (which enables owners to programme a key – usually for younger drivers – that restricts the top speed and other features) and so on.

But, this time around, the Focus debuts Ford's new Sync2 system which has 3D mapping and Michelin guides. The whole interface is smartly designed too, with nicer graphics and colours.

Speaking of graphics, New Focus also gets easier to read dials thanks to clearer typography, better quality switches and dashboard plastics (some models even come with a leather covered dash and heated leather steering wheel) and a very VW Golf-like sliding compartment which hides the cup holders on the centre console.

Under the bonnet, New Focus gets a selection of tweaked engines with the range boasting 19 per cent lower fuel economy figures than the previous car.

New Ford Focus

New Ford Focus

New Focus also debuts Ford's 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine (available in 148 and 178bhp guises) and a new 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine (94 and 119bhp).

There will also be a 99 g/km CO2 version of the clever 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, and Ford also promises it has worked hard on making the already-excellent Focus handle even better with the 2014 New Focus.

There's a raft of natty safety features available but the most impressive is Ford's new hands-free Perpendicular Parking technology. It helps drivers reverse into spaces side-to-side with other cars, so embarrassing supermarket car park manoeuvres can be banished forever.

"We weren't satisfied with being No. 1; we wanted to blow people away with a stunning new version of the Focus," said Stephen Odell, president of Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Whether Ford will blow away customers across the world is unclear, but we're pretty sure this new, better and nicer-to-look-at Focus will continue where it left off – a best-seller.