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First Drive

First Drive: Ford Focus MHEV

The story: Ford has added 48-volt mild hybrid tech to its Focus range, with the 155hp 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine gaining a claimed 17% fuel economy boost over the 150hp 1.5 it replaces.
Category:Lower Medium
Key rival:Volkswagen Golf
On sale:Now

Mild hybrid tech continues to make its way into more and more models, with the Ford Focus being the latest recipient on both its 125hp and 155hp petrol engines.

Ford claims that efficiency is boosted by 17% on the 155hp model versus the 150hp petrol it replaces, with the Belt-Driven Integrated Starter/Generator system recuperating energy under deceleration to either provide more performance or save the engine working hard. It also shuts the engine off when slowing at below 9mph, 12mph or 16mph, as set by the driver.

Apart from the stop start, the system works unobtrusively enough, although the regenerative braking is perceptible when you lift off the accelerator. It’s a useful little deceleration aid, and will be mild to anyone familiar with how regen works in plug-in vehicles. The extra power boost isn’t particularly noticeable and doesn’t transform this regular hatch, but the Ecoboost engine is a decent powertrain.

First Drive- February 2021- Ford Focus MHEV- Image 2Other changes include a new 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster, and a new entry Zetec Edition model that has the likes of a wireless charging pad, folding mirrors and front and rear parking sensors. Kit is also improved on other models, including the addition of keyless entry and auto wipers on ST-Line Edition and Active Edition cars.

The Focus also gets the Local Hazard Information technology where cars transmit and receive information from other Fords about incidents in their area.

The Focus strengths and weaknesses remain in terms of the good driving experience on the plus side and cheaper bits of cabin trim on the negatives.

paul barker

The verdict

Welcome economy boost has tax and fuel benefits for companies and drivers, while minor spec changes bring some extra luxuries.