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Ford’s new Focus here!

2011-07-14 11:15

NEW DESIGN: The new Ford Focus sports a more assertive design over its predecessor.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer FORD
Model FOCUS
Engine 1.6; 2.0 GDi; 2.0 TDCi
Power 92kW at 6000rpm; 125kW at 6600rpm; 120kw at 3750rpm
Torque 159Nm at 4000rpm; 202Nm at 4450rpm; 340Nm at 2000-3250rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual; six-speed automatic
Fuel Tank 55 litres
Fuel Consumption 5.9/6.0l/100km; 6.7/6.4l/100km; 5.3l/100km (diesel)
Weight 1825kg (1.6); 1875kg (2.0 petrol); 2050kg (2.0 diesel)
Steering Power steering
ABS ABS with EBD
Airbags Driver, passenger and side
Front Suspension Independent MacPherson struts
Rear Suspension Independent multi-link Control Blade
Service Intervals 20000km
Service Plan Five year/90000km
Warranty Four year/120000km
Ford’s Focus has been a brand favourite since its introduction in 1998 with more than 10 million units sold globally to date. Despite its popularity the current generation Focus looks decidedly dated despite new versions and a few facelifts since 2004. The Focus has remained the popular older brother to the Fiesta, even if the latter has claimed much of the limelight since its hugely successful introduction in 2008.

Ford even resurrected the previous generation Fiesta, in the form of the Figo, to compete in the budget hatchback segment. It seemed the Focus had been overlooked and indeed of being resuscitated.

The US automaker has shifted its focus to giving the ageing model a contempory makeover along with new engines.

The new Focus is launched in SA with two body shapes, and three engines and specification levels; a hatchback and sedan variant offered with either 1.6 or two-litre petrol engines and a diesel option for the three-box.

The three specification levels are the entry level Ambiente, high-spec Trend and a 125kW Sport version only available on the two-litre hatchback.

DESIGN

In terms of design, the third generation Focus has completely changed when compared with its predecessor. At the front the new model sports an assertive “grinning” grille and new wrap-around headlights. This adds massive sporty appeal to the vehicle even in sedate sedan guise. At the rear the styling is rather tame, at least in the sedan version.

The hatchback sports a new rear spoiler which gives it way more sporty appeal over the sedan. At first glance you may see a little Hyundai iX35 at the rear... which isn’t a bad thing. I’ve also heard the words "Corolla" and "Cee’d" floating around when referring to the design...


Overall it borrows some elements from the Fiesta’s Kinetic design concept, but I’m glad Ford has enabled the new Focus to come into its own with a unique design to help set itself apart from other models.

ENGINES


NEW LOOK: Ford's new Focus has been given a style makeover though the sedan looks rather timid.


Ford’s 1.6 engine (available on sedan and hatchback) produces 92kw at 6000rpm with a torque peak of 159Nm at 4000rpm. The two-litre GDi produces 125kW at 6600rpm with a maximum torque figure of 202Nm at 4450rpm for both body styles. The 2.0 TDCi engine, only available in the sedan, produces 120kW at 3750rpm with a torque peak of 340Nm at 2000-3250rpm.

The 1.6 powerplant is mated to a five-speed manual transmission while both the petrol and diesel two-litre engines are mated to Ford’s six-speed PowerShift auto.

Fuel economy on the hatchback is rated at a claimed 5.9 litres/100km (1.6) and 6.7litres/100km (2.0). Fuel consumption figures for the sedan is rated at a claimed 6.0litres/100km for the 1.6 engine and 6.4litres/100km for the petrol 2.0 GDi.

The fuel economy is much lower on the diesel auto compared to the petrol 2.0, with a claimed fuel consumption of 5.3litres/100km. If you’re really keen on saving yourself trips to the filling station, you could probably consider the 2.0 TDCi; we managed to achieve a fuel economy of 5 litres/100km, but then again we weren’t trying to get to work on time.

DRIVING IT

On the road, it feels a lot like Volkwagen’s Golf, though a lot more refined compared to the model it replaces. The ride is great, being a lot more comfortable and forgiving compared to the outgoing model and in terms of handling it reacts with a gentle shrug to your every attempt to be a lunatic behind the wheel.

This is courtesy of Ford’s torque vectoring system that enables weight distribution to be spread from the inner wheel to the outer during cornering. It’s a lot less obvious or intrusive than conventional traction control systems.

Having said that, some of the magic of the Focus' predecessor seems to be missing, especially in the steering feedback. The new model seems a little reserved, as if it's determined to deter any boy racers. I guess I’ll have to wait for the ST version, but more on that a bit later.

Mother Nature played havoc with flights outbound from George (where the launch was held) resulting in a long trip back to Cape Town in the confines of a 1.6 sedan. The car handled itself superbly on the long journey, providing a pleasurable ride throughout the drive.

The new PowerShift Auto is fantastic with seamless gear shifts making it perfect for city or extra urban driving need. It’s a shame that the auto isn’t offered with paddle shifts, though a semi-automatic option is available in the form of manual gear shift buttons located on the side of the gear stick.

Ford’s Focus caters for both road worriers and warriors in terms of its ability to match safety with the oomph needed for a pleasurable ride. Driver, passenger and side airbags are offered as standard across the range, along with ABS and EBD.

FIESTA INSPIRED: Unsurprisingly the interior borrows heavily from the Fiesta.




INTERIOR


In the cabin, the Fiesta influence can be seen right away especially with the cloned dials and centre console. The funky four-spoked steering wheel is a great touch as well as the styling on the auto 'box. Ample head and leg room, intuitive controls and a boot that’s capable of swallowing any luggage load are all traits of a great family car. The Focus hatchback has nearly 60 litres less boot space compared to the Volkswagen Golf, but at 316 litres it’s still pretty ample.

The 2.0 Sport hatchback’s interior is quite different from the “busy” Fiesta-inspired design and personally I think it’s a lot better as the piano-black finishes are just the icing on an already great interior design

OVERALL

Is there an ST version in the works? Well Ford remains tight lipped on a sportier Focus, though we will see a Fiesta ST model unveiled in 2012.
 
As far as competition goes the new Focus hatchback will have to face-up against VW’s Golf, Opel’s Astra, Citroen's C4, Toyota's AurisX and Honda’s Civic.  The sedan will have to contend with Honda’s Civic sedan, Toyota's Corolla and VW's Jetta.

Overall the new model is a perfect example of evolution over revolution. The Focus is a stylish family-oriented sedan and although it’s got a new makeover the Focus doesn’t skimp on practicality or quality. If you don’t buy one of these, an annoying work mate or a loves-to-rub-it-in-your-face neighbour will, and you’ll kick yourself for not buying it, as it’s quite simply a superb vehicle.

The Focus is offered with a five-year or 90 000km service plan, with 20 000km service intervals.

PRICING:

Hatchback
1.6 TiVCT Ambiente - R208 400
1.6 TiVCT Trend - R226 400
2.0 GDi Trend - R241 800
2.0 GDi Sport - R266 400

Sedan
1.6 TiVCT Ambiente - R208 400
1.6 TiVCT Trend - R226 400
2.0 GDi Trend Auto - R264 300
2.0 TDCI Trend Auto - R281 100

 

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