3 July 2019

Ford Focus Titanium 2019 Car Review

Back at the updated Focus launch earlier this year, our notes focused on the vast array of electronic safety systems – barely news these days, as so many cars get the sort of tech that until recently was the province of the very rich.

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Ford Focus Titanium 2019
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Ford Focus Titanium 2019
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Ford Focus Titanium 2019
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Ford Focus Titanium 2019
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Ford Focus Titanium 20196
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Ford Focus Titanium 2019

What should have equal billing is also a trend – smaller engines with enough vigour to please the average Kiwi, who is used to bigger motors as a legacy of cheaper fuel and longer distances between servos than most of Europe suffers.

One thing in common with every generation of Focus so far is excellent dynamics, and when Ford opted to put this Focus on its new C2 platform, the aim was to improve interior space and crash safety performance without compromising that. There’s a longer wheelbase than before, and arguably more natural proportions.

So here we have the top-spec Titanium Focus powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol engine mated to an eight-speed auto transmission, with Normal, Sport and Eco modes. It’s an impressive little unit, pulling well at lower speeds and feeling equally comfortable around the open-road speed limit. It’ll drop a cylinder and run on two under a light throttle, but we didn’t do enough motorway driving for a noticeable effect on fuel use, especially given we didn’t spend much time in Eco.

We found using a dial as a gear lever took some getting used to – especially when completing manoeuvres which require drive-to-reverse swaps – though likely it’d seem natural after a week or two of ownership. On the plus side, the dial does create a little more cubby space between the front seats – otherwise narrowed a tad to give the occupants more room.

As for handling, our tester didn’t get too wild – our favoured stretch for handling evaluation was winter-slick during the test period – but we can believe Ford’s claims of suspension enhancement and chassis stiffening. The car felt predictable, controllable and secure at all times.

Next, safety. There are lots of goodies fitted to this car, most of them cutting in only when things turn pear-shaped. The stuff you’ll see include the head-up display, especially nice for long-sighted drivers as they barely need to change focal length to check their speed, or the speed limit – the car recognizes the signs and clearly signals the information to the driver. The active cruise tailors your speed to the car in front, pulling to a halt if necessary. The Focus actively tries to keep you in the centre of the lane – like some other functions you can cancel this if you don’t like the wheel tugging your hands now and again.

The self-parking is also improved – you only have to move the gear selector, the car will do the rest – including braking: we didn’t have a chance to try it.

The eight-inch touchscreen is super-clear, with some manipulation available via cellphone-style finger swiping and pinching, Android Auto and Apple Carplay is now standard, there are two USB inputs and of course Bluetooth with voice control, while Satnav is also standard.

Other safety features include an excellent rear-view camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Cross Traffic Alert – both great if your quick glance wasn’t as efficient as it should be – and an array of items you’ll hope never to encounter, like auto emergency braking and post impact braking (in case you’re shunted by another car towards oncoming traffic, and you may be too shaken to keep your foot on that brake).

The trouble with some of these items is they’re good – but not quite good enough for some of our bendier roads, for example those regularly approaching tight corners with assertive warning signs will find the Forward Collision Warning working overtime as it thinks you’re about to hit a car – or a wall. Auto headlights are getting better and better though – a boon for oncoming traffic, less likely to be blinded when you forget you’re on high beam.

As for accommodation, the car is comfy enough, assisted by heating for the leather front seats – leather’s particularly cold when the weather’s chilly - while the rear are about par for the compact hatch course though back-seat passengers are likely to enjoy the panoramic roof, for bringing a feeling of space into the car.

There’s a reasonably roomy boot, though with a step up once you fold the rear seats.

Overall this should be an impressive little car – the moderator is the price. If you’ve over 40K to spend there’s a lot of choice out there. From the same bracket Mazda’s more recently-launched 3 comes to mind – or  the likes of VW’s Golf – while BMW’s opening 1 Series isn’t much further up the price scale, and some bigger SUVs actually undercut it.

At a glance


Ford Focus Titanium (hatch)


1.5-litre EcoBoost GTDi petrol



ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

134kW at 6000rpm, 240Nm at 1600-4500rpm


Eight-speed auto

Fuel economy


Towing capacity



2WD front

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

443 litres (seats up) 1320 litres (back row folded)

Safety systems

  • Auto emergency braking
  • Evasive steer assist
  • Lane Centring Assist
  • Blind Spot Monitoring with Cross Traffic Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Post-Impact Auto Braking
  • Parking sensors front/rear and reversing camera
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