Ford really connects with customers by launching new, hi-tech, class-leading Focus
PUBLISHED: 09:44 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 03 October 2018
Ford celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Ford Focus with a new model that brings new affordable technology and connectivity to the class, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Ford’s Focus, launched 20 years ago to replace the Escort, was an instant hit and the best-driving car in its class. The UK’s best-selling car for nine years until the Fiesta became top dog and now, even though outsold by the Volkswagen Golf, it’s still the car to beat with two million UK sales.
Now owners want more safety, connectivity and technology, to fit their lifestyle, and this fourth-generation Focus aims to answer those needs.
Looks and image
The hatchback – estate follows in November, a raised Active crossover in January – has a sharper, more dynamic look with ‘Focus’ spelled out in individual letters across the tailgate.
It’s the same size outside but much roomier inside, overcoming an issue with its predecessor, and is available with its own modem – standard on top models, optional on others – for 4G WiFi for 10 devices.
Under the bonnet
Petrol is expected to be 71pc of sales, the bulk 85, 100 and 125PS, three-cylinder 1.0-litre EcoBoost but there are new 150 and 182PS, 1.5-litre triples in ST-Line X and flagship Vignale.
Cleaner, more efficient 95 and 120PS 1.5-litre and 150PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesels suit high-milers. The 120PS unit has a broad spread of pulling power and refined, sprightly top-end performance. The six-speed manual gearbox is slick but a new eight-speed auto, with a rotary gear selector, is slow to respond and dents economy and emissions.
How it drives
Debuting a new platform, the new Focus is 88kg lighter, stiffer and has two rear suspension set-ups – lightweight twist beam for 1.0-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel models and more complex independent rear suspension for the others. Adaptive damping is optional on top models.
Regardless of set-up, it’s a fine balance between ride and handling, even with the most popular ST-Line’s 10mm lower, firmer, sports suspension more susceptible to poor surfaces at low speeds, especially with ST-Line X’s bigger 18in alloy wheels.
Well-honed handling benefits from good feel from the electric power steering and little body lean. Standard normal, sport and eco modes adjust the driving characteristics.
Space and comfort
The new platform adds 53mm between front and back wheels, giving rear passengers 56mm more knee clearance, 60mm more shoulder room and 78mm more legroom to comfortably seat four six-footers, five at a squeeze. An extra glass panel in the back door improves visibility.
The boot has grown to 341 litres with the 60/40 split rear seats raised and a mini spare wheel but it’s 273 litres with a full-size spare or the B&O underfloor speaker.
The interior has an upmarket quality feel and the classy, new fascia 50pc fewer buttons with most functions controlled via 6.5 and 8in touchscreens with rotary controls and buttons for heating and ventilation. An electronic parking brake is standard.
With the modem, FordPass Connect allows remote control of locking and unlocking, checking fuel levels and tyre pressures and, on automatics, starting the engine via a phone app. It also puts a host of information at your fingertips such as where to park and how much it costs, enhanced navigation with live traffic and an SOS button for emergencies.
Systems to warn of the risk of a collision, emergency braking, stop the car crossing the white line and stick to speed limits are standard but many driver aids are optional or part of affordable packages. Highlights include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering and cross traffic alert when reversing from a parking space.
You can’t ignore a new Ford Focus and this one is the most connected Ford ever. It enhances the customer experience with the car – much technology is optional but it’s affordable and accessible.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Ford Focus ST-Line 1.5 EcoBlue 120PS hatchback, £22,500 (hatch £17,930 to £29,240; estate £19,300 to £30,340)
Engine: 1,499cc, 120PS, four-cylinder turbo diesel with six-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 10 seconds; top speed 122mph
MPG: Urban 68.9; extra urban 80.7; combined 76.3
CO2 emissions: 97g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 23pc
Insurance group: 17 (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,378mm; W (including door mirrors) 1,979mm; H 1,452mm
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