Nothing gives a better clue to the state of modern motoring than the humble family hatchback.

And few cars on the road fulfil that mid-size, family-friendly role better than the Ford Focus.

For more than two decades it has led the way for Ford in Europe and the latest model has successfully raised the bar again.

Prices start from just over £18,000 with a huge amount of choice both in trim and powertrain and a clear emphasis across the entire range on packing in the latest technology.

As you can see from the price tag on the stylish Titanium X specification car driven here, this particular car is well up the range and sports a level of equipment that was only seen on much more costly, luxury vehicles just a few years ago.

Part of the latest package is a head-up display, the first to be fitted to a Ford vehicle in Europe, which is large and bright and helps you keep your eyes on the road by projecting useful information into your field of vision.

Other new technology helps with everything from easing the pain of stop-start traffic to seeing more clearly in the dark and parking simply by holding down a button.

With its long bonnet and muscular rear haunches, the new Focus is both sporty and spacious. Even its apparently small 1.0-litre engine is a revelation, delivering plenty of oomph with average fuel consumption in the 55mpg category.

Inside, a smart combination of upmarket materials and soft-touch materials deliver a more premium feel.

But as good as it looks, the new Focus is also more practical with more space inside for passengers and luggage. More than five centimetres of additional length between the front and rear wheels gives rear seat passengers more leg space and everyone on board benefits from the wider interior.

The boot space is a decent size and folding the rear seats has also been simplified – they now drop simply by pulling a switch in the boot space.

But it is the technology packed inside that is the car’s star feature.

Adaptive cruise control, which helps the vehicle maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead, is enhanced with another system which enables the Focus to come to a complete halt in queuing traffic. The car will automatically pull away if stopped for less than three seconds, or the driver can push a steering wheel button, or the accelerator, to pull away after more than three seconds

Speed sign recognition can be set to adjust the vehicle speed to within legal limits by monitoring speed signs and information from the satellite navigation system and a lane-centring system helps keep the car in its lane.

A new adaptive front lighting system pre-adjusts headlamp patterns for maximum visibility before reaching a bend, junction or roundabout, using a forward-facing camera to monitor lane markings and detect roundabout, stop and give way signs.

A parking assist system controls forward and reverse gear selection, throttle and braking, as well as steering – and automatically manoeuvring into perpendicular parking spaces and parallel spaces just 1.1 metres longer than the car.

A wide range of other systems include pre-collision assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection, evasive steering assist, blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, rear-view camera, wrong way alert and post-collision braking.

What is crystal clear is that there is nothing humble whatsoever about the latest Focus.

Auto facts

Model: Ford Focus Titanium X 1.0L EcoBoost

Price: £27,005 as tested

Insurance group: 13E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 57.6mpg

Top speed: 124mph

Length: 437.8cm/172in

Width: 182.5cm/71.7in

Luggage capacity: 12 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 11.4 gallons/52 litres

CO2 emissions: 111 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles