The Ford Focus has been one of the best-selling cars in the UK – consistently appearing in the top 10 new car sales charts since its launch in 1998.
To put its success into perspective, Ford has sold 1.95 million in the UK, nearly 7m in Europe and over 16m worldwide, in 20 years.
Now the manufacturer has unveiled the fourth-generation of its Focus, boasting an all-new look, improved safety tech and new trim levels.
Here we round up all you need to know about the new Focus.
The growth of crossovers has been so rapid that manufacturers are now launching plastic-clad, SUV-style versions of their existing cars. Ford has started doing it too, with ‘Active’ versions. There’s already a Ka+ Active and Fiesta Active and now it’s the turn of the Focus Active.
Vignale is Ford’s new premium brand that aims to add a bit more class and luxury to its models, and therefore acts as the range-topping trim. The Mondeo, Fiesta and Kuga, to name a few, are already available as a Vignale and now it’s the turn of the Focus. It comes laden with standard equipment and a range of colours exclusive to the model.
The last Focus was somewhat lacking in safety kit – not helped by the fact it was an ageing car. However, the new model is loaded with tech. It’s available with adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go that can control the car in low-speed traffic, road sign recognition, lane-centring, steer assist to prevent accidents and self-parking functions. The list could go on…
While we’ve talked about the above safety kit, the headlights on the new Focus are so advanced that they deserve their own mention.
The headlights, using a forward-facing camera, monitor lane markings for up to 65m ahead, enabling the lights to tilt and move to provide the driver with improved visibility on an approach to a corner, roundabout or junction. The headlights are also adaptive, changing height and intensity, as well as having a glare-free high beam that stops you blinding other road users.
Head-up displays have so far been typically restricted to range-topping cars and premium brands, so it’s quite big news that the first Ford to feature a head-up display is actually a Focus. It’s said to be one of the largest displays available, and one of the brightest, too.
Ford has added a new 1.5-litre petrol engine to the Focus. Other engines available include a new 1.5-litre ‘EcoBlue’ diesel engine, a 2.0-litre diesel unit and also a 1.0-litre petrol EcoBoost engine. The engines will range from outputs of 84bhp to 180bhp. It’s worth noting that to begin with that at launch the new 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines are not available.
Estate cars are not as popular as they once were, so it’s good to see Ford still making a practical estate variant of the Focus -. As well as the estate, you can also get it as a five-door hatch, but like the last generation car, you don’t have the option of having it as a three-door. Other markets do, however, get the option of a saloon.
The trim levels available on the new Focus, in ascending order of price, include Style, Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line, Titanium X, ST Line X and Vignale. There’s also the aforementioned Active, but prices are yet to be released for this version. Each grade boasts a slightly different appearance and equipment levels.
While this somewhat sounds like design waffle – and to an extent it is – Ford has clearly made the Focus a lot more user-friendly.
Gone are the cluttered dashboards of the past – replaced with a simple button layout and an eight-inch touchscreen (on certain models) with ‘Sync 3’ infotainment. The Focus has also moved upmarket, and also features a longer wheelbase that aids practicality, too.
Fords have been renowned for their driving experience for some time – in fact it’s one of the brand’s key selling points. A new chassis is said to deliver an “energetic, engaging and rewarding fun-to-drive experience”, so it’s pleasing to see that Ford is balancing fun and safety in the new Focus.
What this essentially means is connectivity features. The tech allows you to use the car’s WiFi hotspot to connect up to 10 devices. If the feature is used alongside the FordPass mobile app, it also allows you to locate the vehicle, check the car’s oil and fuel levels, unlock the car remotely and also start the car, providing it’s fitted with the automatic gearbox.
For a family hatch, the last-generation Focus wasn’t as practical as you might think, with limited rear space and a boot size that rivals easily exceeded. The latest model has 50mm more knee room, 60mm more shoulder room and a boot that’s been designed to house a dog cage.
Prices for the new Focus start at £17,930 for the hatchback, and £19,050 for the estate. This rises to £28,890 for a range-topping Vignale estate. Because Ford ditched the out-going Focus’s low-level trim levels to focus (sorry) on its best-selling trims, it actually means that the new model’s range starts at over £2,000 less than the outgoing model.
Order books are open from today for the new Focus, with first deliveries expected from September. Ford dealerships are certainly going to have a busy few months ahead…
April 10, 2018