Few drivers are as keenly aware of the overall impact of car use and ownership as young families, making the Mother&Baby and Parkers Best Small Family Car one of the toughest categories to judge; putting children first, the immediate need for safety and affordability has to be balanced with sustainability and ecological impact.
On top of that, as one of the largest drains on families’ resources, it’s vital to keep some feel-good fun in the mix too; the car plays a role in almost every child’s development and the parents’ wellbeing.
New entrants to this sector include the Skoda Scala and Kia’s Ceed, but Ford retains the title of Best Small Family Car for 2020 for a second year, thanks to a class-leading package of safety, comfort and value, features that are hard to beat.
Flexible specification, including a range of engines to meet the ecologically aware, the economically wise and the performance-oriented driver, means that there really is a Focus for every family. Power output from 85hp to 280hp exemplifies the flexibility of the Focus; you can choose petrol or diesel, manual or advanced eight-speed automatic, hatchback, estate or urban-rugged Active to build the car that suits your family’s lifestyle best.
The Focus just works. The interior is comfy and user-friendly, and it always surprises me just how much room there is in the rear seats for a compact family car
That diversity doesn’t mean that there’s a poor relation in the range, though – one of the key factors in selecting the Focus as the winner of this category. Even the most affordable Style models – available from less than £200 per month - come with driver-assistance and safety features that other marques keep on the options list, and every Focus retains the proven ergonomics and user-tested features that have contributed to Ford’s impressive brand loyalty.
Choose to spend more, and you’ll find luxury or performance with all the family-friendly touches intact; plenty of space for luggage, children and child seats, good ride quality for front and rear passengers, and Ford’s impressive Sync3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay support. Extras such as heated windscreens for winter ice, to active door edge protection provide real-world benefits and make life easier; it’s also possible to get big-car features like traffic-jam assistance and head-up displays for long-distance comfort.
Above any rival, Ford’s Focus feels like it’s been developed with real families and real drivers in equal measure, and the result is a package that works brilliantly no matter what your budget. With affordable maintenance and extensive dealer support, it’s hard to imagine a car better suited to modern life.
Winner: Ford Focus
Ford Focus range from £18,545
Leasing from £194/month
Miles per pound (mpp): up to 10.8mpp