2021 Ford Focus Review
July 19, 2021
The Focus ST-Line is one of the best-kept secrets in the small car class, offering warm hatch performance and dynamics with a dash of class.
Backed by German design and engineering (and currently, production), the Ford focuses on sharp, engaging driving dynamics and intuitive technologies compared to more mundane, comfort- or practicality-focused rivals.
The current SA-generation Focus first launched in Australia at the tail end of 2018, but for 2021 a range cut spelled the end of the base Trend, top-spec Titanium, and ST-Line wagon.
It also meant the ST-Line finally picked up the more dynamic multilink rear suspension previously reserved for the crossover-styled Active and now-defunct ST-Line wagon.
Power in non-performance versions of the Ford Focus comes from a 1.5-litre ‘EcoBoost’ three-cylinder turbo petrol engine, coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.
Outputs are rated at 134kW (6000rpm) and 240Nm (1750-5000rpm), with drive sent exclusively to the front wheels. ST-Line variants also feature steering-mounted paddle shifters. It’s one of the more powerful vehicles in the class.
Arguably the biggest part of the Focus ownership experience is the drive, and like previous generations Ford’s small hatch remains among the best in the business.
From the moment you set off, you feel super connected to all aspects of the vehicle – throttle, steering, ride. If you want to feel engaged during your daily drive, this is one of very few ways to do it.
Performance from the 1.5-litre turbo is strong. Don’t let the cylinder count fool you, peak torque is available right across the rev range, and there’s plenty of gears to play with so you’re always in the torque band.
Add to that the gravelly, charming note of the three-pot petrol, and it really is a fun thing to drive to work or up a winding B-road.