Menu

Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Sorry, there are no cars that match your search

Ford Focus ST-Line hatch 2019 review

Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

18 Feb 2019 • 12 min read

Wait, what? Small cars for families? Well, they can be, if you choose the right one. Ford’s Focus has undergone a rather dramatic makeover of late, and this new 2019 model has more interior space than in the past. It’s in a tough category and competes with cars like the Mazda3, Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla. 

I was in the Focus ST Line, which is in the middle of the range. Prices for this model start at $28,990 before on-road costs. Does it have what it takes to compete with the others? I drove it for seven days with my family to find out. 

How does it look?

I wouldn’t have actually picked this car as a Ford, the Focus has had some serious plastic surgery. The kind where you know something has been done to make it look better, but they’ve cleverly hidden the nips and tucks and overall it’s slicker, sleeker, chic-er and more modern. The exterior now helps it compete effectively in this category.

There is a leather steering wheel which has a flat bottom - it’s not super sharp, but it is flat and I much prefer a flat-bottomed steering wheel. There is a leather steering wheel which has a flat bottom - it’s not super sharp, but it is flat and I much prefer a flat-bottomed steering wheel.

Inside too, has had an overhaul. The Focus ST line has fabric seats, but they are a nice fabric and comfortable to sit on. There is a leather steering wheel which has a flat bottom - it’s not super sharp, but it is flat and I much prefer a flat-bottomed steering wheel, it’s great to get it on a lower-priced car. 

It also has a circular gearshifter which is very similar to the one Land Rover uses. On a Ford. Someone’s punching above their weight with the design in here, and we like it. It looks more expensive than it is and even in the middle of the range car, I felt good driving it.

I wouldn't have actually picked this car as a Ford. I wouldn't have actually picked this car as a Ford.

How does it drive?

It’s a fairly nifty car to zip around town in, and is one those cars you don’t have to think too much about. Get in, go. There’s a 1.5L turbo engine which is enough to get up hills quickly and have you overtaking if you need to. It’s three-cylinder but has as much power as a four-cylinder and will actually shift down to two cylinders when you don’t need the extra push, so it saves on petrol.

There's a 1.5L turbo engine which is enough to get up hills quickly and have you overtaking if you need to. There's a 1.5L turbo engine which is enough to get up hills quickly and have you overtaking if you need to.

Given the size, it’s really easy to park and do U-turns - I am always amazed at the difference this makes to my everyday life, being able to do U-turns more often than three-point turns. It’s especially helpful on the school run. 

There is a reverse parking camera on the 8.0-inch screen and also collision warnings so you are warned when getting too close to something while parking.

It's a fairly nifty car to zip around town in, and is one those cars you don’t have to think too much about. It's a fairly nifty car to zip around town in, and is one those cars you don’t have to think too much about.

How spacious is it?

There’s more space than the previous model inside the car. In the front, both my taller husband and I had enough leg and headroom, we didn’t feel squashed. Of course there’s not as much room as in an SUV but still, I didn’t feel like I was in too small a car. I am little though - 161cm.

In the back, my kids aged five and seven had enough room on each side and they were comfortable and happy. I was even able to fit in a third child seat in the middle. It will be squishy, but it does fit.

In the back, my kids aged five and seven had enough room on each side and they were comfortable and happy. In the back, my kids aged five and seven had enough room on each side and they were comfortable and happy.

You will probably be sweating while trying to do three seat belts up in the back though, if you choose to have that as a permanent situation. I did it with two booster seats and a baby capsule. 

The boot is quite large for a car this size. It sounds small - 273L - but that is measured just up to the cargo cover and other companies may give their sizes to the roof.

The best indicator is that it fits the bulky CarsGuide pram really easily, and that pram doesn’t fit into some of the small SUVs, like the Mazda CX-3. So the boot is good for a car this size. There was even room around the pram for groceries and school bags.

The boot is good for a car this size. There was even room around the pram for groceries and school bags. The boot is good for a car this size. There was even room around the pram for groceries and school bags.

How easy is it to use every day?

It’s a small car, which are often the easiest to use, but you will have to bend right down every day to do kids’ car seats up, and this is especially annoying if you’ve got a baby capsule. 

There are two cupholders up the front and none in the back, which I think could be improved. You do get good storage in the front though - a large spot for keys and a phone, another flat-ish small section with non-slip rubber so your phone won’t slide around, a decent sized centre storage bin and bottle holders in each door.

Given the size, it’s really easy to park and do U-turns. Given the size, it’s really easy to park and do U-turns.

The rear has pockets on the back of the front seats and no air vents, but we were driving it on a 38 degree day and the kids didn’t complain about being hot at all, I quizzed them on whether they had enough cool air back there, and they were perfectly happy. 

Apart from that, there’s nothing out of the ordinary with the Focus. All worked and functioned well but there is nothing to stand out about it.

It looks more expensive than it is and even in the middle of the range car, I felt good driving it. It looks more expensive than it is and even in the middle of the range car, I felt good driving it.

What’s the tech like?

You’ll get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. It’s just the easiest tech to use because you plug your phone in and are instantly hooked up to the 8.0-inch multimedia screen. It takes the main apps from your phone like maps and Spotify and lets you use the screen as you would your phone. You can also use voice control to make calls and send texts. Easy. And safe.

You'll get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. You'll get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

How safe is it?

The Focus ST Line comes standard with airbags for driver and front passenger, plus side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points for kids car seats. 

More advanced safety features like Auto Emergency Braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection is also included, as are collision warnings and lane departure warning. Other features like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are part of the 'Driver Assistance Pack' which you can opt in at $1250.

What does it cost to own?

The Ford Focus ST Line starts at $28,990. I drove the one with the Driver Assistance Pack for an extra $1250, and also 'Shadow Black' paint job for $650, taking the car I drove as tested to $30,890 before on-road costs. 

Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.4L/100km and it’s covered by Ford’s five year/unlimited km warranty.

Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km and services are capped at $299 for the first four services.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.4L/100km. Fuel consumption is a claimed 6.4L/100km.


The Wrap

While the Ford Focus might not instantly come to mind when you think 'family car', it actually works quite nicely. Certainly, there’s not as much space as an SUV, but it does compete with small SUVs, space wise, and there is definitely enough space to get by for a family of four. It’ll fit a pram, the kids are comfortable and the new design on this Ford Focus is really good, so you feel great driving it. As a second car, it’s spot on.

I gave it a family rating of 7.5 out of 10. My kids also gave it a 7.5, I think they liked it because they could reach everything which is not often the case with larger cars. 

Likes

Design
Boot size

Dislikes

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

3.8

$28,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS