Ford Focus Estate, review of the Titanium X

In Car Reviews, Ford by Neil Lyndon

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Living with the new Ford Focus Titanium X Estate for a week, there are times you could swear they must have sent you the wrong car.

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Just looking at the Focus standing outside my house made me almost rub my eyes and check the badge on the back. “If this is what you call a small family estate,” I thought, “I’ll eat my Mondeo.”

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I remember the original Focus Estate of the late 1990s as a dumpy little blob with the sexual allure of a plumber’s mate (the sink unblocker, that is: not the bloke) and the carrying capacity of a small backpack.


When I had to shift a big Calor gas cylinder in the back of that car, it loomed so large in the load space that there wasn’t much room for a full carrier bag in there as well. Today, you could lug an entire gas-fired power station in the back of a Focus Estate.

At the risk of making your eyeballs fuzz, let me give you the figures. This latest Focus Estate is 4563mm in length, 2010mm wide and 1492 mm high. The original Focus Estate was 4438 mm long, 1998 mm wide and 1447 mm high – so, placing old beside new, there’s solid body sticking out in all directions. Even more dramatically, however, the new Focus Estate is also bigger than the original Mondeo Estate (l:4531m; w:1745mm; h:1441mm). It’s not (just) that I need new glasses, therefore, that makes me think the Focus Estate is bigger than anything we might previously have called a “small family estate”: it’s a matter of fact.

Is it possible that Ford have found the solution to the global problem of the mid-range executive car? Pretty much everywhere around the world, sales are sluggish of the classic motorway trudger for sales reps who top 30,000 miles a year. Despite their undoubted excellence, the Passat, the Mondeo and the Mazda6 are generally failing to set the sales ledgers alight, while customers flock in droves (as the headline writers love to say) for SUVs, crossovers and MPVs. All those major manufacturers are wrestling with the same conundrum. Perhaps Ford’s answer is to eliminate the very class of car that Mondeo always dominated by shifting Focus up a notch to occupy the space?

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Just a thought. There’s more than a hint of the Mondeo about the Focus Estate in other dimensions, too. The cabin fittings are a straight lift, as if much of electronic gadgetry. Everything on the long list of standard equipment from “rain sensitive windscreen wipers” to Hill Start Assist could have been taken directly from the Mondeo spec sheet. If there’s a difference between the SYNC2 system between this car and its larger cousin, it wasn’t obvious to me. If you got all that much car in Mondeo that cost £26725, you’d probably feel you were doing very nicely. In a Focus Estate? Not so sure.

The 1.5 litre TDCI engine on the Titanium X Estate I borrowed isn’t available in a Mondeo and neither should it be. With only 120 PS, it is too short of grunt to shift a Mondeo and is barely up to the job in a Focus. The steep left turn uphill at the end of our drive nearly made the Focus faint dead away even in first gear and the car had to be kicked like an old burro to force it into the climb. If, however, you installed the 150 bhp EcoBoost engine also available in the proper Mondeo, you’d find more than enough poke.

You would then, however, have to sacrifice some of the 1.5 TDCI’s fuel economy. Ford’s official figure of 74.3 mpg is an exaggeration by 50% over the 50 mpg I recorded during my week with car; but, even so, I imagine we would agree that 50 mpg is exceptionally good going for a large, load-lugger of a Mond…sorry, Focus Estate.

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Ford Focus Titanium X Estate 1.5 TDCI Start/Stop 6 Speed Manual

On the road prices: £24,095. Price as tested £26,725

Engine: 1499cc diesel EU6
Power: 120PS/3600rpm
Torque: 270Nm/1750rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Top speed: 120 mph
Fuel economy: combined 74.3 mpg
CO2 emissions: 98 g/km
Load Capacity: rear seat up 476 litres / down – 1502 litres

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About the Author

Neil Lyndon


Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK's national stage for 40 years, writing for every "quality" newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 - the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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