This fourth generation Focus estate, like its predecessors, has a reputation as a family station wagon with the ability to entertain at the wheel - and if you enjoy your driving, that's something you'll appreciate pretty early on the first time you try one. Twenty years ago, the original version of this model achieved much the same thing by standardising advanced multi-link rear suspension across its model line-up. Today, you get that too - in contrast to the hatch body shape which restricts this more advanced damping set-up to its most powerful 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol and 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel variants.
To give you the engine line-up in full, things kick off with the brand's familiar three cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol powerplant, available in 85, 100 or 125PS variants that now feature cylinder deactivation. Next up for petrol people is the 1.5-litre four cylinder EcoBoost engine with 150PS, borrowed from the Fiesta ST hot hatch, this unit also available with 182PS. The Focus ST gets a 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol unit with 280PS. As for diesels, well there are 90 and 120PS versions of Ford's 1.5-litre EcoBlue powerplant, then 150 and 190PS versions of the company's 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel.
The ride isn't overly firm, but body control through the bends is exemplary, allowing you at the wheel to make the most of the stiff new C2 platform, the feelsome power steering and the torque vectoring control system that helps you get the power down through the bends. It all combines to create a car that really can still reward at the wheel, even in its most affordable forms: there's still nothing else in this segment that feels quite the same. Yet it still does the sensible stuff well too, being decently refined, with confident braking and a lovely tactile gearshift.