Ford has today revealed its most important global car, the fourth-generation Focus.
Available around the world, Ford will offer four body styles depending on the market. These include a five-door hatchback, wagon, sedan, and a semi-crossover hatchback called “Active”, with a 1.2-inch (30mm) suspension lift.
The new Focus uses a brand new platform, named “C2”, that’s both lighter and slightly longer than before. The fourth-gen car is 2.1 inches (53mm) longer between the wheels, with a 0.7 inch (18mm) increase in overall length.
Aside from the Active model, it’s lower to the roof by 0.6 inches (15mm) — with the ST-Line trim 10mm lower still — while width remains the same as before. This gives much more interior space than before.
Rear seat passengers have nearly three inches more leg room, two inches more knee room and just over two inches more shoulder room. On wagon models there is a hands-free tailgate, which allows easy access to 1,650-liters (with the seats down) of load space.
Under the nose there’s a wide engine line-up. Depending on market, these include three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost petrols, a 1.5-liter EcoBoost petrol and a pair of diesels at 1.5- and 2.0-liters. This gives the Focus between 85hp and 182hp, with hotter ST and RS versions, and a mild-hybrid petrol to follow. The three-cylinder petrol offers cylinder deactivation technology, to further reduce emissions.
Most engines will drive a six-speed manual gearbox, although some higher-output models will have an eight-speed automatic. This will be a conventional unit rather than a dual-clutch option. Nevertheless, it offers adaptive technologies that recognize hard cornering, gradients and environment to ensure smoother shifts.
Although some Focus models feature a torsion beam setup for the rear suspension, most use an independent system. On the wagon model, this includes lower and wider dampers to improve load space by increasing the gap between the rear wheel wells. All models feature a standard driving mode selector, allowing drivers to adjust the steering feel, gearshift and engine response as they wish.
Also improving emissions is the Focus’s new body. Although Ford hasn’t posted final numbers, the car is up to 200lb lighter than before. Much of this comes from the chassis, but Ford also uses lighter body panels and powertrain components. The car’s drag coefficient is lowest in class, at 0.250 for the sedan model and 0.273 for the hatchback.
For the UK market Ford will offer the Focus in seven specifications at launch. The entry level car is the Style, starting at £17,930. This represents a price cut of more than £2,000 over the model it will replace. Despite the price drop, it’s equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio, air conditioning, Bluetooth connecticity and a number of electronic safety aids like autonomous emergency braking, hill-start assist and lane keeping. Even models like the Zetec and ST-Line, which represent more than half of Focus sales in Europe, cost less than their predecessors.
Indeed the Focus offers more electronic assists and equipment than ever before. Ford plans to have 90% of its global vehicles equipped with internet connectivity, and the Focus is no exception. FordPass Connect allows Focus owners to use the car as a mobile WiFi hotspot for up to ten devices. It also opens up a suite of functions like vehicle locator (if you’ve lost your car in a lot full of Focuses) and remote start.
The SYNC 3 infotainment system is available on models from the Zetec upwards. This includes an eight-inch touchscreen with pinch and swipe function. It controls audio, navigation, phone and climate functions. If this all sounds like a bit of a drain on your mobile device, the Focus has a wireless charging pad to keep it topped up.
Driver assist technologies vary by region, but the Ford Co-Pilot360 system includes functions like adaptive cruise control and an upgraded park assist function. New adaptive headlights use matrix LEDs to alter the beam pattern predictively for bends in the road, and reduce glare from reflective road signs. An “evasive steering assist” function helps drivers steer around obstacles in an emergency.
The top grade Focus is the Vignale, joining Fiesta, Kuga, Edge, Mondeo, and S-MAX Vignale models. It adds full LED lighting, 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery and a selection of premium equipment. It also has an exclusive body color, called Dark Mulberry, and features a head-up display.
The fourth-generation Focus goes on sale in Europe and China later this year, arriving in North America in mid-2019.