Ford took the wraps off its latest generation Focus at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, revealing a dramatic new look for its best selling medium sized car
The new car takes its styling cues from both the new Fiesta and C-MAX people carriers and lays to rest the cricitism levelled at the previous Focus for being too mundane. Gone are the trademark rear lights sitting next to the rear screen, instead being replaced by large light clusters that cut into the rear wings. At the front, the striking trapezoidal front grilles dominate the nose of the car, alongside swept back headlights. Inside, the fresh new look is continued with a cockpit that wraps itself around the driver, and features the latest technology and premium materials.
And whereas the last Focus didn’t make the journey across the Atlantic to America, the new car will not only be sold there, it will be built in the USA too. Production will commence in Germany, USA and China towards the end of this year, with the first cars going on sale next spring. All variants, no matter where they are built or intended for sale, will utilise up to 80 per cent common parts. Latterly, new Focus will be built in Spain and Russia too.
Both five-door hatchback and fourdoor saloons were revealed at the American show, with three-door hatchback, estate and up to four other model variants set to follow. European buyers will get their first taster of new Focus at the Geneva motor show in March, alongside the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX that is underpinned by the same platform.
The new Focus has been developed in Europe at the small and medium vehicle centre of excellence in Cologne, Germany, with development of engines concentrated in the UK at Dunton in Essex. Since the first generation Focus went on sale back in 1998, it has been hailed as the driver’s car in the medium car sector, and that is set to continue with the latest generation model, with extra refinement added for good measure. The control blade multi-link rear suspension remains, but has been further improved in this guise, while electric power steering has been tuned to provide exceptional levels of precision at high speed, while still remaining light at parking speeds.
For European buyers, there will be a choice of improved 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDCi engines, courtesy of the joint venture with PSA Peugeot- Citroën. The British built engines will boast fuel consumption and CO2 emissions improvements by between 10 and 20 per cent compared to those in the previous generation Focus, while the dualclutch Powershift automatic gearbox is expected to be offered. All engines will comply with the latest Euro V emissions regulations. When the new car goes on sale early next year, it will be available with an unprecedented amount of new technology, not previously found on a C-segment car. Adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system, automatic parking, and sensors to monitor the alertness of the driver will all feature on the options list.