With my new found freedom desperate to hit the road, my dad took me to one of the local garages, where I also had my first experience of applying for vehicle finance and I came away with an N reg Ford Escort, which at the time looked incredible. Over the years I have owned numerous Ford cars including the KA, Fiesta and Mondeo and I have seen first hand the improvements that they have made to the vehicles in this time. Therefore when Evans Halshaw got in touch to ask me if I would be interested in driving the All-New Ford Focus for the weekend, I jumped at the chance!
Obviously since passing my driving test, my wants and needs in a vehicle have changed considerably. My younger self wouldn't often think about the safety aspect, but more about the cars appearance and speed. However, these are now usually the last things I would look at, instead opting to consider the safety features, boot size, fuel economy and space instead. As a family we often travel in the car altogether, so these are all important factors that I now need to consider. But what if there was a car that literally ticked all the boxes, something that could appeal to my inner youth as well as the sensible thinking mum?
We were therefore very excited about putting the new Ford Focus ST-Line to the test and my husband went to collect our vehicle from the helpful representatives at our local Evans Halshaw Garage. When he arrived home, he was greeted by a flurry of oohs and aahs from the children whose first impressions speak for themselves. Before he had even had the chance to get out of the drivers seat, the children were asking if they could sit inside and explore what would be our car for the weekend.
As a family that travels regularly, we decided to test the car by driving through coast and country and enjoying a weekend break on the west coast of Wales. This would give us the opportunity to test every element of the car from suitcase capacity to speed. With plenty of hills to drive up we could also determine its power and control on the roads.
The exterior design was so sleek and stylish and this car definitely stands out from the crowd. We loved the black mesh grille with the elegant front bumper and felt that this was complimented nicely by the 17 inch alloy wheels. The ST-Line badge featured on the rear of the car, as well as on the door trim and it certainly turned a few heads when we were parked up. The windows were shaped nicely and my children especially liked the fact that they were tinted. It would appear that being able to pull funny faces at people when they can't see you is a big plus point for my kids!
The interior was just as great, with a really modern feel to it. We loved the little extras that made it look really trendy and sporty, such as the red stitching on the steering wheel and the sports seats. Chrome pedals and the silver trim around the dash finished the look off nicely and most importantly it was extremely comfortable. I felt well supported and snug in the both the driver's and passenger seat and also had plenty of leg room. My children felt that they had ample space in the back and although Riley is still in a car seat, all three of them could fit easily without feeling squashed.
In the front of the car there were two USB charging points and one 12V socket and in the rear was another 12V. This was great for keeping the kids connected whilst travelling and ensuring that any devices could remain charged. My mobile battery drains really quickly, so it was great to be able to use the USB port from the passenger seat whilst catching up on social media. There was a large touch sensitive LCD screen which could be used to control the radio, bluetooth connectivity and general settings. This was really easy to use and was handy for making phone calls whilst on the move using voice control. Our vehicle did not have Sat Nav but this can be purchased as an optional extra.
As we were heading away for the weekend we were a little concerned beforehand that we wouldn't be able to fit everything in the boot. However, there was in fact plenty of room for both our suitcases, a large plastic tub of food and even a portable fridge. In the space that was left, we managed to fit a large box of wooden train track that Riley insisted on bringing with him, some toys and a couple of footballs. Due to the fact that we could fit everything in the boot, this meant that none of us had to place anything by our feet. This usually happens quite regularly when we are heading off on a trip, so we were all happy that we could sit comfortably and relax on the journey without being surrounded by our belongings.
In terms of vehicle functionality, there are some very clever features that can assist drivers greatly. A particular favourite of ours was the Stop & Go function, which meant that the car would detect when you had come to a stop and automatically apply the brake. It would then release again when you were ready to move. As we were travelling during the Friday night rush hour, we experienced plenty of stop and start traffic, so we found this to be a superb little function.
Another element we were impressed by was the Speed Sign Recognition. When travelling along country roads the speed can change quite quickly in some areas from the National Speed Limit to as low as 20 mph depending on which village you are passing through and sometimes it can be easy to miss the signs. The Speed Sign Recognition tells you on the screen in front of the steering wheel what the speed limit is and based on our experience, this was extremely accurate. It actually became a bit of a travel game as the children would look out for speed signs and we would see how quickly the car would tell us and whether it was accurate. I am pleased to report that it had a 100% pass rate, which is very impressive.
The lane centre assist works to ensure that you are central to lane marking and has the ability to correct steering and ensure that your car is within the marked lane. Whilst we didn't actually need to use this feature, I did see plenty of other drivers who would probably make good use of this, considering the amount of vehicles we spotted crossing the lines on the dual carriageway.
Cruise control was very simple to manage and we found that all the features were well placed for the driver to use with ease. The whole design both internally and externally has been expertly thought out and we were left extremely impressed with our experience.
The Ford Focus ST-Line was very fuel economic and despite driving a 200 mile round trip, we still had just under half a tank of fuel left when we returned it to our local Evans Halshaw garage on the Sunday.
Overall we had a fantastic time driving the New Ford Focus ST-Line vehicle and had lots of fun trying out of all its functions and features. I found it to be a really smooth drive regardless of the type of road surface we were driving on. It could maintain its speed and climb hills with ease and my husband particularly loved the Sport mode, which would give it that extra boost on the acceleration and made it more responsive. It was great to be able to use a car that not only appealed to us as adults, but that also ticked all the boxes for a suitable family vehicle, with both safety and space being paramount throughout. Whether cruising down the motorway or tackling the welsh countryside lanes, this vehicle made driving a pleasure and we would definitely consider it for our next family car.
If you would like to find out more about the All-New Ford Focus then you can visit the website here: All-New Ford Focus
Alternatively, you can find out more about the great new Ford vehicles Evans Halshaw have on offer over on their website: Evans Halshaw Ford
To find your nearest Evans Halshaw dealership, then please visit: Evans Halshaw
*Disclaimer: We were provided with a Ford Focus ST-Line for a weekend, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. Thoughts and opinions are my own.