The new Ford Focus has been redesigned both inside and out; so much so that it is claimed that the design of the Focus is now a blueprint for the bold new face of Ford.
Recently shown off at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, the new Ford Focus takes its ‘proper’ bow at the Geneva Motor Show that starts this week, before going into full production prior to going on sale in the second half of 2014 – and it not only debuts the new design and Ford look but also forms an integral part of the European debut of SYNC 2, Ford’s advanced in-car connectivity system, as well as the new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel engines.
All part of Ford’s plans to continue with the Ford Focus where it began back in 1998. Since then it has sold over 12 million worldwide (6.9 million in Europe) and holds the current title of best-selling passenger car in the fastest-growing new car market in the world with estimated sales of 1.1 million in 2013, including more than 300,000 in the growing Chinese market.
“We weren’t satisfied with being No. 1; we wanted to blow people away with a stunning new version of the Focus,” said Stephen Odell, president of Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa. “New Focus marries modern design, advanced technology and leading fuel efficiency with the fun-to-drive DNA for which Focus is rightly acclaimed.”
“The vision was to add more emotion to the design of Focus,” said Martin Smith, executive design director, Ford of Europe. “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.”
It’s the redesign of the more sophisticated and advanced Focus that will be carried through to other iconic Ford cars such as the new Mondeo and Fiesta, starting with the additional new exterior colours of Deep Impact Blue and Glace Blue.
When it comes to looks there is a lower, wider stance, with a new bonnet, front fascia and grille, slimmer, more chiselled front headlamps and more rectangular, elongated fog-lamps, a new rear fascia and tailgate and thinner tail lamps.
Inside the Ford Focus, it is obvious that customers have been listened to with fewer controls and switches (more logical and functional then) on the central stack and steering wheel, more space in the centre storage (including room for a 1-litre water bottle and a 0.4 litre cup), and thicker carpet, thicker side window glass and improved insulation from engine noise. It looks good too with new black satin trim and chrome detailing giving it a cleaner, more modern look.
“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,” added Martin Smith.
As stated earlier, the new Focus will be the first vehicle in Europe to offer SYNC 2, Ford’s advanced in-car connectivity system that features a high-resolution, 8-inch colour touch screen and advanced voice control for easier access to audio, navigation, climate control and compatible mobile phones; complete with a first for European driving in the shape of a split-screen display with detailed intersections, spoken street names, 3D highway junction and landmark views, and the MICHELIN guide and MICHELIN Green Guide.
Basically it is the future where you can issue directions to it and it will respond; for example you can ask it to play a certain music artist and it will, and by simply pushing the voice control button and saying “I’m hungry”, it will bring up a list of local restaurants, which you can then get directions to.
Driving these days isn’t the chore that it always seemed to be, with the new Focus carrying with it a whole host of driver-friendly aides as well as revisions and refinements to both suspension and shock absorbers and the Electric Power Assist Steering.
By ‘aides’ we are talking Perpendicular Parking – again a first for Ford - hands-free parking technology to help drivers reverse into spaces alongside other cars (which is an enhancement to Ford’s Active Park Assist); Cross Traffic Alert to warn drivers of approaching cars behind them whilst reversing; Park-Out Assist to help drivers get out of parking spaces; Active City Stop collision avoidance system that can operate at up to 50 km/h; Pre-Collision Assist system (similar to Active City Stop but with a much greater vehicle detection range; Adaptive Cruise Control Distance Alert and Indication system to set a determined distance from the vehicle ahead; and Ford’s popular MyKey technology that lets owners 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 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 Sherif Marakby, vehicle line director, Ford of Europe. “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.”
With fuel efficiency maintaining its place in the top 4 reasons to buy a car, it’s good news to see that the new Ford Focus has significantly improved the fuel efficiency on many versions compared to the current model by up to 19% on the diesel model and 17% on petrol.
The new Focus is the first vehicle in Europe to offer both the fuel efficient new 1.5-litre EcoBoost (150 PS and 180 PS) petrol engine and the new 1.5-litre TDCi (95 PS and 120 PS) diesel engine. Naturally it will still be available with ultra-popular 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine (100 PS and 125 PS) – the choice of 33% of Focus drivers and 2012 and 2013 International Engine of the Year – but there are also other new engine versions that will be available too.
There will also be a new version of the 99 g/km CO2 1.0-litre EcoBoost, the first non-hybrid petrol family car in Europe to offer sub-100 g/km CO2 emissions, the 120 PS 1.5-litre diesel PowerShift automatic (later in the year) that offers up the 19% fuel economy improvement previously mentioned, award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine (next year) with the 17% improvement and a 150 PS 2.0-litre TDCi diesel model too!
“Diesel or petrol, the new Focus will offer engines that deliver a compelling combination of significantly improved fuel efficiency and surprising power – as well as the zero-emissions option offered by the Focus Electric, our electrified version,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “The new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine will directly benefit from technologies pioneered by the 1.0-litre EcoBoost – including an entirely new cylinder head design with improved cooling and integrated exhaust manifold for best possible performance and fuel efficiency, and reductions in weight and friction of both internal components and accessories to help deliver a more economical, smoother-running and freer-revving engine.”
The ford Focus is already sold in more than 140 markets, and demand is likely to soar with the arrival of this new Ford Focus; so Ford has ramped up capacity throughout the world in its Germany, U.S., Russia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Argentina plants to produce more than 1.5 million Focus vehicles annually at a rate of more than two vehicles per minute, with the astonishing fact that a new Ford Focus is built in Europe every 90 seconds.