27 May 2021

Ford Focus 2021 Car Review

The new fourth-generation Ford Focus was developed under the leadership of Ford Performance (the high-performance division of the Ford Motor Company) and offers a good range in terms of price, innovation and performance.

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Ford Focus ST-Line X 2021
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Ford Focus ST-Line X 2021
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Ford Focus ST-Line X 2021
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Ford Focus ST-Line X 2021
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Ford Focus ST-Line X 2021
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Ford Focus ST-Line X 2021

The Focus name has been around for over 20 years now, and like a fine wine, it has only improved with age. We liked it so much, that it won AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year 2019.

The new Ford Focus range starts from $37,990 (+ORC).

Small yet sleek

Our test model was the mid-spec model - the Focus ST-Line X 1.5-litre Hatch. It comes fairly well equipped, and is one of three Focus variants on offer:

  • Ford Focus Active from $37,990 (+ORC)
  • Ford Focus ST-Line X from $42,990 (+ORC)
  • Ford Focus ST from $59,990 (+ORC)

Buying a hatch some 20 years ago was far less of an ‘out there’ purchasing decision as it is in 2021. This surefooted compact five-door model has a lot going for it, and that starts with the C2 platform that it sits on, which equates to a safer car with superior interior space.

Alloy wheels are standard across the range and increase in size increments as you move up the spec levels. Our test model featured handsome 18-inch wheels with a standout design, finished with black accents.

The headlights are made from an arrangement of LEDs and include automatic high beam. Even the LED fog lights feature Adaptive Cornering technology to aid your vision around twisty country roads.

There are also innovative features on the Focus, like door edge protector that act as a protective barrier to shield the paintwork of your car and those cars alongside you when opening doors in tighter carparks. This is a brilliant idea, which we’ve only previously seen on a Skoda.

We recently reviewed the new Ford Puma, which we considered a great compact SUV, and the new Focus draws some similarities from it. However, the Focus has a much sleeker appearance, thanks to a 191mm increase in length and an increased width of 49mm.

Despite being a hatch, there is enough room for the family and their cargo with 443 litres of seats-up storage and if you want to throw down the back seats you get 1,320 litres, although it’s worth noting that the boot space is not completely flat.

We had no trouble fitting a baby seat or booster seat in this model - there are SOFIX child seat attachments and two anchorage points.

Internal Affairs

Modern interior features including a gorgeous 12.3-inch Full TFT/LCD colour instrument cluster adorn the ST Line X, which is a feature that the entry level Active does not possess. There’s even a modem built into the car to allow connectivity via the FordPass Connect app, which allows you to activate functions remotely like lock/unlock the doors, or even remotely start your car via your smartphone. You can also check on your car’s fuel level or tyre pressure.

The seats are all furnished in leather and dark grey textured Sensico fabric. Both front seats are heated, and the driver’s seat is four-way power operated. Red stitching garnishes the seats, which matches the soft leather flat-bottom steering wheel. Our model also had alloy foot pedals to complete the sporty look.

SYNC 3, which is a fully integrated voice-activated communications, entertainment and infotainment system designed to keep you connected while keeping your eyes on the road, comes as standard.

Sensitive and responsive, the touchscreen requires only a light tap for quick access to features. This is just another feature that brings added functionality to the Focus ST-Line X. It includes a high-definition eight-inch touchscreen display, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone capability, with six speakers, and your virtual assistant (i.e. Siri) can be accessed via the voice activation button mounted on the steering wheel. 

The Focus also features wireless smartphone charging as standard, which is one of the better implementations we have seen in a new vehicle thus far. There are other convenient features to the focus, too. It’s fitted with a very secure Thatcham Alarm system, along with Fords Immobiliser (EPATS) Passive Anti-theft System, that has proved itself as a reliable deterrent 1996.

Safety Sorted

The Focus has all the safety equipment a motorist would expect including Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, which will alert you if a crash is imminent and intervene if you don’t react with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).

There’s also blind spot monitoring, a driver impairment monitor, as well as Lane Centring Assist.

The new Focus also comes with the innovative Ford MyKey®, which allows you to set restricted driving mode settings in your Ford that promote safe and responsible driving. You can limit your Ford vehicle's top speed, max audio volume, require seat belt usage and more.

Frisky yet Frugal

The Focus is a punchy unit despite only having a pint-sized petrol 1.5-litre EcoBoost three cylinder. It produces 134kW at 6,000rpm with 240Nm of torque. Fuel economy is good for this segment at 6.4L/100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 148g/km.

The engine is married to a conventional eight-speed gearbox in place of the twin clutch units of yesteryear, which we think was a very wise move.

The e-Shifter rotary dial lets you select gears and is visually reminiscent of cars from Jaguar Land Rover. You can also choose between several different drive modes like ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Sport’. The latter provides an enhanced ride caused, in part, by the sports suspension. Overall, the ride felt much smoother than the Puma.

You can also jockey the gears in manual mode with the paddle shifters - a feature that isn’t available on the entry level model but is on the ST-Line X and ST.


If you’re looking for a practical and innovative hatch which is agile and fun, then the Ford Focus ST line X could be for you. Perhaps you’ve looked at the Toyota Corolla but want something with a bit more of a ‘wow’ factor, or you find the VW Golf a bit too flashy for your taste.

The latest Focus embodies a blend of European style and flair, along with Japanese-like efficiency and sensibility - all with an awesome sporty twist.

Watch this space for our upcoming review of the top-spec Focus – the ST.

At a glance


Ford Focus ST-Line X




From $37,990 (+ORC), ($42,990 +ORC as tested)

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star

Power and Torque

134kW, 240Nm


Eight-speed auto (Select Shift Technology with Paddle Shifters) 

Fuel economy/CO2

6.4L/100km, 148g/km

Towing capacity

1,200kg (Braked), 700kg (Unbraked)


2WD (Front)

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

443 litres

Safety systems

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with Cyclist and Pedestrian Detection
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Centring Assist
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) w/ Stop & Go
  • Driver Impairment Monitor
  • Hill Launch Assist
  • Driver, Driver’s side, Passenger Side and Full Curtain Airbags

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