As one of the UK’s best-selling cars, the Ford Focus has enjoyed a long and healthy life since it entered the market way back in 1998. This November will see that continue with the release of the newly facelifted model entering the fray.
Revealed at March’s Geneva motor show, the fresh-looking Focus is an update for the third generation of the ever-popular family model. Ford has been busy to ensure that this is no run of the mill facelift and has graced the new Focus with sharper looks, cleaner engines and large updates in the technology department.
A new face for the Focus
Though still instantly recognisable as a Ford Focus, the design updates have made the car appear more upmarket in its appearance thanks to several enhancements that both the hatchback and the estate versions will benefit from.
A more distinctive front grille gives the new Focus’ face a more prominent look than the outgoing iteration, while shallower headlights and a wider body also create a sportier profile.
Moving inside, the updated Focus’ cabin has become much less cluttered and has a cleaner look as a result, with its old field of buttons now integrated into an easy-to-use eight-inch touchscreen. Upgraded plastics is another element Ford has added for the interior; meanwhile, thicker glass is used for the side windows to help reduce road noise and deeper carpets to help this further.
A new four-prong steering wheel with simpler controls adds to the ease of use employed in the new Focus’ cabin.
The new Focus has also been given Ford’s new SYNC 2 software and is the first of the manufacturer’s cars to receive it. Voice commands have been improved in terms of functionality and doesn’t just help you use the infotainment elements; tell the car you’re hungry brings up numerous local restaurants that you can navigate to via the sat-nav. The system offers 3D landmark views and clearer depictions of junctions, as well as spoken street names for the first time.
Pinnacle of safety
Like with most modern cars, the new Focus gets plenty in the way of new equipment, namely a plethora of safety aids.
First up is Ford’s improved Active City Stop (ACS), which for those who are unaware, is a collision avoidance system in place to reduce the impact of crashes and now works at speeds of up 31mph; the old system only helped soften collisions at a maximum of 19mph.
Working in tandem with ACS is the Focus’ Pre-collision Assist system which works at even higher speeds and applies the brakes when sensing an imminent collision. Ford has also employed Distance Alert which can be preset to a certain distance and goes off when the car encroaches within that distance of another vehicle in front.
Cross Traffic alert, meanwhile, warns of approaching vehicles when reversing and Park-out Assist helps a driver exit a parallel parking space. To help illuminate the road ahead and any other road users such as cyclists, the new Focus also has the help of its Adaptive Light System that increases the range of the headlights at high speeds and become more focussed in town.
New heart, same soul
As well as revised suspension and steering for the new Focus, the car also benefits from an updated range of engines. Ford’s brand new 1.5-litre petrol engine will be the headline powerplant which produces either 148bhp or 178bhp depending on which guise you choose. An equivalent diesel duo offers slightly less power but promises a 19 per cent increase in fuel economy from the unit it replaces.
The company’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost range will be graced with a new version that emits minimal emissions to give you a car without the need for vehicle tax. An all-electric Focus will not be far behind following and will mark a new era for the hatchback.
Like the standard car, the new Focus ST has also been seen in the flesh but will arrive some time after the initial launch, with the hot hatch given more aggressive visuals all round.
Perhaps the most striking factor about the new ST was that there is to be a diesel version for the first time; its 2.0-litre engine is capable of 182bhp and 64.2mph, while emissions will come in at just 114g/km of CO2.
There’s no change in power for the petrol variant but emissions fall to 158g/km and economy has risen to 41.5mpg on the combined cycle. Ford has also given the new Focus ST an improved torque vectoring system to increase traction, faster electric steering and an updated ESP system.