Need a small family car? It has to be either a posh VW Golf or a hardworking Ford Focus.
No one ever made a mistake by choosing a VW Golf. Even now, after the diesel scandal, these are still regarded as well built, practical and reliable. The Ford Focus has a bit more of a twist, it is still practical and cost effective to run, but it is also fun to drive. Many buyers like that.
The 2004-2009 Golf is regarded as the period when the model returned to form. They have decent safety equipment and the SE is the best spec. The all-new Focus had a tough act to follow, but it is stylish, spacious and reliable. LX specification has air conditioning.
Are they reliable?
The Golf has proved to be very trustworthy, the trouble is that fixing the Golf is always more costly than the Ford, by some margin. Also, Warranty Direct makes it clear that overall the Focus has proved to be the more reliable buy. So for cost and overall reliability the Focus wins.
How much do they cost?
It is now possible to buy high mileage examples from 2004 to 2005 at below £2000. Late examples are now around £8000, usually the high spec sporty ones. The focus is often discounted and around in large numbers so prices start at just over £1000 rising to £7800 or so.
Sum Up: Golf means style and quality, but it will cost more to run. The Focus means low running costs and reliability, the sensible choice.
Average Repair Cost: £306.97
Axle and Suspension: 19.41%*
Warranty Direct Rating: Average
* Failure rate
Average Repair Cost: £280.83
Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average
* Failure rate