6th April 2021
There’s been a flurry of hybrids coming and going from my care recently, and the latest is this Ford Focus 1.0T EcoBoost Hybrid in ST-Line X Edition trim. Aside from one of the longest model name descriptions you’ll encounter, the week ahead promises much with a pokey engine in the fine-handling Focus chassis. And we’ll see how this 48-volt mild hybrid tech fits in with daily driving duties.
This Focus has a list price from £27,155, which puts it in the crosshairs of some very classy competitors. In ST-Line X Edition trim, you get pretty much all of the bells and whistles Ford can pack into a small hatch. That includes the 12.3-inch infotainment screen and selectable drive modes, with the button down by the gear lever. Thankfully, this car also has a manual gearbox that works well with the petrol motor.
Another consequence of this trim specification are 18-inch alloy wheels and firmer sports suspension. Ever since driving the original Focus at its launch in 1998, and I know I don’t look that old, I’ve felt this hatch is at its best when suspended in a supple, subtle fashion. This car’s set-up strays a tad too far in the sporty direction, so there’s the occasional thump and bump on less cared-for stretches of road.
There’s very little evidence of the hybrid power to notice when driving the Focus. It offers smooth take-off from a standstill and acceleration is brisk, if not that swift with a 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds. However, the noise and eagerness of the 1.0-litre petrol motor compensate for this and the Focus feels peppier than on-paper stats suggest. Mixed with superb handling, it makes for a fun car across country, though refinement is not the best on the motorway.
Another effect of the mild hybrid set-up in this Focus is the regenerative braking. As well as recharging the battery as you slow, I’ve quickly incorporated it into my driving style to scrub off speed without the need for the brake pedal. There’s a little more retardation in the Ford’s system than some others, so it can easily slow the car for a corner or roundabout by modulating the throttle pedal for smooth progress.
With no massive EV battery to accommodate, the Focus Hybrid has a proper-sized boot and it’s not cluttered with charging cable and associated gubbins. The result is a boot as big and practical as any in this class. One small point, though, is it would be handy to have tie-down hooks closer to the boot floor rather than a third of the way up the boot sides.
Calculator time and the Focus Hybrid has averaged 40.1mpg during my time with it this week. That’s about 10% short of the car’s claimed lower average economy of 44.8mpg and some way shy of its upper figure of 61.4mpg. In defence of the car, I have been enjoying the 1.0 Turbo EcoBoost’s performance, so I think it would be easy to hoist that achieved figure into the upper 40s, which makes this a decent bet for higher mileage company users.