FORMATIVE FOCUS ! Ford South Africa has confirmed the new Focus will be launched early next year. Image: Ford
BRENTWOOD, England - The next version of Ford's Focus will have its South African debut in the first quarter of 2015 though European buyers will be able to drive away in one before Christmas.
The new Focus also debuts Sync2 in Europe, the brand's in-car connectivity system, and offers new 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol and TDCi diesel engines.
Stephen Odell, president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, explalined: “We weren’t satisfied with being No.1, we wanted to make the best even better with a stunning new version of the Focus.”
That, says Ford, means a marriage of modern design, advanced technology and leading fuel efficiency with the fun-to-drive DNA for which Focus is rightly acclaimed.
The next Focus will be lower and wider, sport a new bonnet, nose and grille, and be available, as before, as a four-door hatch or as an estate car. It will have slimmer headlights, elongated fog lights and chromed details and the rear will be sleeker with light clusters and a new type of hatch.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Ford Focus
Joel Piaskowski, Ford Europe's design director, said (while actually telling us nothing: “The vision was to add emotion to the design by incorporating our very latest ‘face of Ford’." So the next Focus "will be more toned, more athletic, with a more refined surface language and clearly offer a promise of the drive experience to come".
Ford says the cabin has "a more intuitive layout, a steering-wheel and centre stack with fewer controls and switches". New black satin trim and chromed detailing, the automaker drones on, "add an upmarket feel to the cabin".
The redesigned centre storage console offers more space as well as a new sliding, integrated armrest - just as well, one would not want it bouncing around loose while you're driving, hey
Piaskowski, we hope quoting a copywriter, adds: “We’ve responded to a clear customer desire for more simplicity in the car, creating a clearer visual connection between the key components and significantly reducing the number of buttons."
NEW 1.5 ECOBOOST ENGINE
The Focus offers a reduction of as much as 15% when compared to with the current model. For the first half of 2014 one in three Focus units sold in Europe had the one-litre EcoBoost engine that was eventually named International Engine of the Year for an unprecedented third consecutive year. The engine will be continued.
There will also be a new 1.5-litre EcoBoost capable of 110kW or 134kW with a new six-speed autobox. When mated to the six-speed manual gearbox the engine will deliver a seven percent fuel-consumption reduction from the outgoing 1.6 EcoBoost engine that offered equivalent power. In 2015 it will also be offered with a six-speed autobox.
It will also be offered for the first time with Ford’s 1.5-litre TDCi diesel (70kW or 88kW) and a 10% fuel efficiency improvement over the 1.6 it replaces. The 110kW two-litre TDCi with a six-speed manual cut consumption by 15%.
PADDLE SHIFTS NOW
Ford says their engineers have delivered a more solid, responsive and connected-to-the-road feel by increasing the structural stiffness at the front, revising the suspension geometry, increasing lateral stiffness of “steering-relevant” suspension bushes, and retuning the shock absorbers.
The electric power assisted steering has been re-tuned and the enhanced transitional stability system monitors vehicle speed and the driver’s steering input to predict a loss of traction before it actually happens and triggers Electronic Stability Control sooner to enhance safety and help deliver smoother journeys.
The new Focus will also be available with paddle-shifters that enable drivers to control gear changes while keeping their hands on the steering wheel. Paddle-shift controls will be available as an option with all automatic and PowerShift transmissions, diesel and petrol.
SYNC VERSION 2
The new Focus will be the first vehicle in Europe to offer Sync2, Ford’s advanced connectivity system that uses a high-resolution, 20cm colour touchscreen and voice control for audio, navigation, aircon and cellphones.
Sync2’s satnav will also, for the first time in Europe, have a split-screen display with detailed junctions, spoken street names, 3D highway junction and landmark views, and the Michelin restaurant guide.
Drivers will be able to issue simpler “one-shot” navigation destinations and to ask the system to “play” a desired artist. Simply pushing the voice control button and saying “I’m hungry” will bring up a list of local restaurants for which the satnav will supply directions.
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