Ford Focus makeover retains fun-to-drive DNA

off-my-wheelsBrian Joss –

The new Ford Focus which made its debut this week boasts an intuitive interior, a suite of new or improved driver assistance technologies, and major fuel economy improvements.

The engine line-up comprises the award-winning 1litre EcoBoost and a new 1.5‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine.

The new Ford Focus: customer feedback “incorporated into new design. Picture: QuickPic
The new Ford Focus: customer feedback “incorporated into new design. Picture: QuickPic

Tracey Delate, general marketing manager for Ford SA said the new Focus marries modern design, advanced technology and leading fuel efficiency “with the fun-to-drive DNA for which the Focus has been applauded”. The redesign reflects the One Ford global design language and it is available in four and five-door guises, and in the new exterior colour Deep Impact Blue. Design features include has a lower, wider stance, with a new bonnet, front fascia and grille.

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 by incorporating our very latest ‘face of Ford’,” Ms Delate said. “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 manufacturer said. The centre storage console has been redesigned to offers more space.

The new Focus offers fuel efficiency improvements of up to 19% 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-litre EcoBoost engine that was named the International Engine of the Year for a  third successive year in 2014. One in three Focus models in Europe was sold with the 1litre EcoBoost engine during the first half of last year.

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 N.m 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.

The Electric Power Assisted Steering has been retuned to make the driver feel even more connected to the road.

The 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.

Other technologies help the driver manoeuvre out of parking spaces, a Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them. Park-Out Assist helps drivers as they exit a parallel parking space.

The new Focus will be equipped for the first time with Ford’s MyKey technology which 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.

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.

Ford has 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.

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