The Focus delivers all-round crash protection. But, despite its four-star rating, further improvements are possible. In particular, the driver’s left foot and lower leg needed better protection in the frontal impact. The Focus was tested without side airbags because they are optional extras but it still protected its driver reasonably in the side impact. The child restraints performed well although the three-year-old’s head was not sufficiently contained during the side impact. And, in common with other cars here, pedestrian protection was inadequate.
The passenger cabin remained stable during impact. The driver’s knees and legs were protected by energy absorbing foam fitted inside the column but there were stiff structures in this area. The front airbags worked well. Readings taken for injury risks to the passenger’s chest were higher than those for the driver so these were used when computing the star rating. The driver’s door was hardly damaged by the impact and opened easily afterwards.
The driver was well protected for the most part but his abdomen was exposed to injury risk because it struck a door-mounted arm-rest. Nonetheless, the car’s performance was reasonable for a model without side airbags.
A passenger airbag is standard, presenting a real danger of death to any child placed in a rear-facing restraint on the front seat. Only a pictogram fixed to the end of the facia warns against this, which Euro NCAP considers inadequate. Ford says much clearer warnings will be attached to cars from February 23. What’s more, fitting instructions were not visible if installing a restraint from the left-hand-side of the vehicle. Ford says that an additional label will be fixed to seats manufactured from the beginning of January. In the frontal impact, the child restraints protected the 18-month and the three-year-old. But the three-year-old’s head was not contained within the restraint during the side impact.
The car’s front end was very stiff, particularly around the bumper, and the bonnet gave too little protection where a child’s head would most likely strike.