By Franky Johnson
The new Ford Focus elevates the world's best-selling nameplate** with a bolder, more emotive exterior design, a finely crafted, intuitive new interior, a suite of new or improved driver assistance technologies, and major fuel economy improvements.
The new Focus offers a more powerful, yet frugal engine line-up, consisting of the award-winning 1.0 EcoBoost and new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engines.
"We weren't satisfied with being No. 1; we wanted to make the best even better with a stunning new version of the Focus," says Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager for Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa.
"New Focus marries modern design, advanced technology and leading fuel efficiency with the fun-to-drive DNA for which Focus is rightly acclaimed."
Sophisticated designFord has crafted a more sophisticated and advanced Focus with a redesign to reflect the One Ford global design language.
Available in four and five-door guises, and in the new exterior colour Deep Impact Blue, the new Focus has a lower, wider stance, with a new bonnet, front fascia and grille. The bonnet is sculpted with a dynamic shape from the front pillar to the corners of the upper part of the inverted trapezoidal grille to deliver a strong, proud look.
Slimmer, chiselled front headlamps and elongated fog lamps add to the bolder front end. Subtle chrome details add to the feeling of elegance while the rear of the car also is sleeker with a new fascia and tailgate arrangement, as well as thinner tail lamps.
"The vision was to add more emotion to the design of Focus by incorporating our very latest 'face of Ford'," Delate says. "The new Focus is more toned, and more athletic, with more refined surface language; and clearly offers a promise of the drive experience to come."
When redesigning the interior of the new Focus, Ford listened to customer feedback and responded with a more intuitive layout, complemented by a steering wheel and central stack with fewer controls and switches. The new black satin trim and chrome detailing contribute to a cleaner, more modern look.
The redesigned centre storage console offers more space as well as a new sliding, integrated armrest. The adjustable console accommodates a variety of bottles and cups with the capacity to simultaneously hold a one-litre water bottle and a 0.4-litre cup. Focus customers also will experience superior interior quietness, achieved with thicker carpets, thicker side window glass, and improved engine bay insulation.
"We've responded to a clear customer desire for more simplicity inside the car, creating a clearer visual connection between the key components and significantly reducing the number of buttons in the cabin," Delate states.
Fuel-efficient and fun-to-driveThe new Focus offers fuel efficiency improvements of up to 19 percent compared with the current model and a significant reduction in CO2 emissions across the range.
For the first time in South Africa, the Focus is available with the 92kW 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine that was named the International Engine of the Year for an unprecedented third successive year in 2014. One in three Focus models in Europe were sold with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine during the first half of last year, proving just how successful this combination is.
The new Focus is also offered with Ford's new fuel-efficient 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine that delivers 132kW of power and 240 Nm of torque. Both EcoBoost engines use a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed SelectShift Automatic will be available on the 1.5 EcoBoost models later this year.
With enhanced handling and steering, the new Focus takes the model's driving dynamics and acclaimed fun-to-drive DNA to a new level. Ford engineers have delivered a more solid, responsive and connected-to-the-road feel by increasing the structural stiffness at the front, revising the suspension geometry, increasing lateral stiffness of "steering-relevant" suspension bushes, and retuning the shock absorbers.
The Electric Power Assisted Steering has been retuned to make the driver feel even more connected to the road. Ford's industry-first Enhanced Transitional Stability system monitors vehicle speed and the driver's steering input to predict a loss of traction before it actually happens and trigger Electronic Stability Control sooner to enhance safety and help deliver smoother journeys.
The highly acclaimed driving experience is further refined with improvements to noise, vibration and harshness that help deliver greater levels of interior quietness, and contribute to a more relaxing and stress-free environment.
Advanced driving technologiesThe new Focus offers Perpendicular Parking (a segment first for Ford), a new hands-free parking technology that helps drivers reverse into spaces alongside other cars.
The current Focus introduced parallel parking aid Active Park Assist that, at the push of a button, uses ultrasonic sensors to locate parallel parking spaces and steer the vehicle while the driver controls the accelerator and brake. The addition of two new sensors to the rear of the new Focus enables Perpendicular Parking to operate, in the same way.
The extra sensors also enable Ford to offer technologies that help drivers as they manoeuvre out of parking spaces:
- Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them. Operating with radar at a range of up to 40 metres, the system will issue three distinct warning signals if it detects a vehicle approaching from either side
- Park-Out Assist helps drivers as they exit a parallel parking space. After the driver has chosen either the left or right hand side the system operates the steering while the driver operates the accelerator and brake
Ford also has improved its Active City Stop collision avoidance system, which uses sensors at the front of the vehicle to look for stationary objects in the road ahead and pre-charges the brakes if the vehicle is approaching an object too quickly. If the driver still does not respond the system reduces engine torque and automatically applies the brakes to reduce the impact of collisions. Active City Stop now operates for the new Focus at speeds of up to 50 km/h, increased from 30 km/h.
In the case of moving objects Active Braking works in a similar way to Active City Stop but with a vehicle detection range of between 8 km/h and 180 km/h. It supports drivers at higher speeds, for example on a highway, by issuing warnings and applying braking as required.
Existing Adaptive Cruise Control technology enables Focus drivers to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead, even when that vehicle is travelling more slowly than the cruise speed.
For occasions when Adaptive Cruise Control is not active, Ford is now introducing Distance Indication, which enables drivers to set a preferred distance they would like to maintain with the vehicle ahead. Should the driver get any closer, the system issues a three-stage dashboard display warning - from grey to yellow to red.
New Focus also will be equipped for the first time with Ford's MyKey technology. MyKey enables owners to programme a key - usually for younger drivers - that restricts the top speed, reduces the maximum volume of the audio system, and can disable it altogether if driver and passengers are not using safety belts. The system can prevent the driver from deactivating safety technologies.
"New Focus offers a host of new and cutting-edge features and technologies, but at the same time this latest version has been refined and simplified," said Jim Baumbick, Ford's global C-car vehicle line director. "The sophisticated redesign has given Focus a new, fresh and modern style both inside and out, but the soul of Focus is the fun-to-drive feeling you get when you're behind the wheel, and we've not compromised on that - in fact, we've improved it."
Ford first launched the Focus in 1998 and since then more than 12 million have been sold worldwide, including 6.9 million in Europe - where Ford builds a new Focus every 90 seconds.
To meet growing customer demand for Focus, which is sold in more than 140 markets, Ford has now ramped up capacity worldwide to build the car in eight plants on four continents. Factories in Germany, US, Russia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Argentina have a combined capacity to produce more than 1.5 million Focus vehicles annually.
*The declared fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures were acquired according to the technical requirements and specifications (SANS 20101: 2006 / ECE R101: 2005) within laboratory conditions, as stipulated by legislation. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures are used to compare different vehicle types under uniform conditions and are not necessarily indicative of real-life driving conditions. Note that the actual fuel consumption and emission will depend on many factors including your driving habits, prevailing conditions and your vehicles equipment, condition and use.