Diesel cars are facing a hard time in the media at the moment after many who were encouraged into them for economical benefits found their new cars to be highly polluting in gases other than CO2. Whilst some manufacturers have actively worked to reduce these emissions already, there are talks of increased charges for diesel cars. So what is the solution within this conundrum? Well, unless you are doing serious motorway miles every year your answer remains the same as it has been for years… Small capacity petrol turbocharged engines. Ford’s award winning EcoBoost three cylinder 1.0 litre is back in the latest incarnation of the Focus. We snagged the keys to a 2015 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium X to see how one of our favourite little engines has progressed along with this heavily revised update for the model.
“1 litre you say? That must barely have enough power to pull you out of bed!” Such comments are now only made by those who have never sampled the little marvel that is this EcoBoost engine. In this guise it produces 123BHP and 200Nm of torque whilst getting to 62MPH faster than the outgoing 1.6 litre unit. A claimed combined 60.1MPG and very little in the way of road tax results in sceptics having to sit down and think of a comeback. But as always, the proof is in the pudding.
Here we have a top specification 2015 Focus with literally every toy on the options list. In Frozen White with a new and very up-market chromed grill, it is smart little number. 17 inch alloy wheels compliment the external changes to this new car. Angled headlights and bonnet creases presents a more aggressively stylistic model. However, the changes to this car go far beyond visual alterations. Thanks to pressure being applied by competitors, the Focus is upping its game to maintain its hatchback domination.
The interior has undergone a much needed transformation with the previous “mobile phone” console replaced with a much more modern 8 inch touchscreen. This change along with its surrounding facias bring the cabin up to date int terms of functionality and aesthetic. The screen is responsive and the systems interface is very easy to use. In addition Ford’s new Sync 2 voice command service is even more intuitive than before. Simply speak a command, no preset orders or phrases you must use, and it is capable of doing things such as finding your favourite album to a good restaurant near your destination. Ergonomically the Focus’ interior is brilliant with everything in logical locations and the seats offering high levels of support thanks to their bolstered nature. In this top spec vehicle there was a plentiful number of toys, but on an ice cold afternoon the heated steering wheel was very welcome. The split folding rear bench seats three with ample space even for those who are tall. Boot space is still vast, as it has been in previous generations, with 363 litres available when loaded up to the shelf or a huge 1,148 litres if you fold the seats down and pack it to the roof. All-in-all the perceived quality of the passenger area has taken a leap forward.
A big factor in why you might choose to buy a Focus over its rivals is the way it drives. Every generation has been the undeniable top of class champion when it comes to handling. This 2015 Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost Titanium X doesn’t disappoint. With revised steering and suspension the chassis setup is an improvement over the already very good MK3. There is notably more weight to the steering at speed which translates more feel as to what those front wheels are doing. Its Lateral body control is very pleasing. Allow the little 1.0 litre to thrum its three cylinder battle cry whilst throwing the car into a corner and you will find plenty of grip and the excellent torque vectoring system makes this Focus very agile. Further adding to its agility is the lack of weight as the engine block is actually only the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Producing 123BHP and 200Nn of torque on overboost, this turbocharged hatchback never feels out of puff despite its small capacity. Returning to what would be deem more normal driving, the 1.0 litre engine is very quiet. Thicker seals sound insulate the cabin promoting an even more tranquil environment on the move. However, these larger than standard alloy wheels do have a tendency to thud into potholes. You might think that with this car having an odd number of cylinders it would have a vibration at idle. Nothing… There is less noise and vibration than many other cars in its class. Around town the torque from the turbo is very usable and on a motorway this model never feels out of its depth. In my eyes this engine makes the 1.6 litre petrol engine of the previous car obsolete.
Whilst £24,650 is a lot of money for this sort of car, remember that every option box has been ticked for us. It is a great family car and these changes for 2015 make the Ford Focus better than ever. Whilst there are still some questions to be answered about its official 60.1MPG rating VS the real world, 108g/km CO2 will see you paying very little road tax. From its playful driving nature and practicality to its peppy 1.0 litre turbocharged engine, this is our favourite Focus variant.