The New Ford Focus has arrived
Ford Focus MKIV
Nice in France was the location for the recent launch of the new Ford Focus, now in its fourth generation. Nice has seen a lot of Ford activity with the Mustang and new Fiesta also launched there recently. Location, location, location is the hotel maxim and perfectly applied to the Terre Blanche hotel set in Provence beside the Côte d’Azur. Location in this instance had added importance for a car launch venue as the roads in and around the hotel were just perfect to assess if the engineers retained all the existing Focus, driver centric, DNA or even improved it.
The Focus DNA remains I can confirm and it is still very much a driver’s car. The switchbacks coupled with inclines presented no serious test for the Focus. I relished taking bends are speeds that in most other, similar cars I would have eased off. It responds to every move of your hands and feet and lets you know exactly how it feels. The 1.0l was Zesty enough for the Provence hills and I reckon most Irish buyers will be happy with its performance. Focus on power and not cc’s guys.
The new Focus sees the arrival of the Active model (due in Ireland in early 2019) which is a real alternative to the SUV/Crossover’s we all seem to be buying. It may not reverse the tide but on first impressions it may stem it a bit. I like the rugged, heightened look of it. This is also the first time we get a Vignale Focus for the higher end of the market as well as seeing the debut of the circular gear selector for the automatic gearbox which I first saw in a Jaguar XF.
The new looks are not radical and certainly not as different in going from say generation one to two and from two to three. The fourth generation sticks, to my eye, to the looks and cues from the third generation model. It’s much harder now to be as radical in design with a lot of cars having a sameness and familiarity on first sight. Certainly, you won't be stuck to the spot like you probably were when the original Focus arrived. It’s got to the stage now where it's hard to remember what aspect of a car has been seriously influenced by another car or is an original look. The Focus arrives with, of course, a "best in class" boast and this time the boast is it’s the most aerodynamic car in its class. This is from the company who championed this important feature of a car when they gave us the Sierra so they have form and credibility and in this fuel efficient and emission obsessed age it's very important. The Focus will also be Ford's most advanced car and will see the launch of some very tasty technology. I've come across a lot of this technology in various other cars before, but the Ford delivery of a Heads-Up Display is one of the best. It can display as much or as little information as you want and can be viewed even when wearing polarized sunglasses. I was also impressed by the new Active Park Assist 2 that now performs some throttle and braking action for a more autonomous parking experience but obviously only possible when an automatic gearbox is fitted. Unnoticed by me before was Post Collision Braking which will apply the brakes to bring the car to a stop if you are unable to in the event of a collision/crash. I hope I never have to use this but would be thankful if it was deployed automatically on my behalf.
My summary of the new Focus is that it looks like a more refined version of the mark three Focus and because we got to see the Fiesta first it looks like a bigger Fiesta, certainly from the back. The front grilles distinguish the Zetec, Titanium, ST Line, Active and Vignale models to reduce the charge of sameness.
Ford are only bringing the 1.0l petrol and 1.5l diesel engines to Ireland. If you want the 1.5l petrol just talk nicely to your local Ford dealer. I’d be tempted to do that because the 1.5l is a kinda special engine and was the one I enjoyed driving the most. The 1.0l is enjoyable as well but lacks that reserved power feeling you get with the 1.5l. And it will be interesting to see how Ford persuade the doubters that 1.0l engine is enough when buyers are thinking 1.4l minimum. It's all part of the education of motorists to look at the power of the engine and not the capacity but the embracing of this is still a challenge.
The entry point for the new Focus with a 1.0l petrol engine in Zetec trim is €24,900. This factors in the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) emission figures which the motor industry is lobbying to be adjusted in Ireland or else we will all end up paying more for our cars based on this new system of CO2 emission measurement. The belief is that something must be done but when must and government is used in the same sentence we generally have a good idea what will happen in reality. You’ll be reading a lot more about this in the coming weeks.
The new Focus faces different challenges this time. Not only do you have to be the best in class you are in a class that buyers are leaving. The addition of the Active will stem that a bit and may even make buyers reconsider the relentless migration to SUVs. The jury is out on that but not for long.
With new engines, new technology and new variants in the Active and Vignale the fourth generation Focus has a lot of the ingredients needed for success.
Full Details from Ford Ireland Below
Ford engineers collaborated closely with car-buyers to develop all-new Focus five-door hatchback and even more practical Focus wagon models in distinctive versions, each with their own personality – including the stylish Focus Titanium, sporty Focus ST-Line and upscale Focus Vignale. The all-new Focus Active crossover model, arriving in Ireland early 2019, features rugged sports utility vehicle-inspired styling that includes raised ride-height, roof bars and additional cladding.
The all-new Focus also introduces a comprehensive range of advanced driving technologies that can help drivers make light work of stop-start traffic; see more clearly when driving in the dark; park simply by holding down a button; and avoid accidents.
“Our all-new Ford Focus is the pinnacle of technology and driving appeal in its segment,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “The chance to build a completely new car from a fresh piece of paper does not come around often. We grabbed it with both hands, to develop the best mid-size family car that money can buy.”
Sporty and spacious
The sporty all-new Focus silhouette is the most aerodynamic in its class. Athletic and dynamic with a long bonnet and muscular rear haunches, each model is differentiated with unique elements including satin aluminium details for the Vignale exterior; large spoiler and open front apertures for the ST-Line; and contrast silver front and rear skid plates for the Active.
Inside, simple, clean lines, expressive materials and seamlessly integrated surfaces make travelling in the Focus a more calming experience. The front doors now flow fluidly behind the instrument panel for a wrap-around effect, and soft touch materials deliver a more premium feel.
High-end consumer product design is reflected with polished glass and brushed finishes. Unique features and materials include fine-grain wood-effect finishes and premium leather for Vignale, sporty carbon fibre-effect finishes and red stitching for the ST-Line, and more rugged, textured materials and surfaces for the Active.
The all-new Focus also provides more space inside for passengers and luggage. More than 5 centimetres additional length between the front and rear wheels allows class-leading knee clearance for rear seat passengers, and all occupants benefit from the wider interior – there’s 6 centimetres more shoulder room in the rear. The impression of spaciousness is enhanced with a rear door design featuring windows that stretch further back for a more open sensation, and an openable panoramic roof that lets light flood into the interior.
Able to accommodate a large dog crate without needing to fold the rear seats, the all-new Focus wagon boot space is easy to access, using a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper to open the Hands-free tailgate. Folding the rear seats is also simplified – they now drop simply by pulling a switch in the boot space.
Advanced driver assistance technologies make driving a Ford Focus on motorways, in stop-start traffic and in town easier than ever before; and they are designed to make the driving experience more comfortable, less demanding and safer.
Adaptive Cruise Control, which helps the vehicle maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead, is enhanced with:
• Stop & Go, which enables the Focus to come to a complete halt in stop-start traffic. The car will automatically pull away if the stopped for less than 3 seconds, or the driver can push a steering wheel button or the accelerator to pull away after more than 3 seconds (Automatic transmission only)
• Speed Sign Recognition, which can adjust the vehicle speed to within legal limits by monitoring speed signs and information from the onboard navigation system
• Lane-Centring, which helps reduce stress during long road trips by helping keep the vehicle centred in its lane
Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System with Predictive curve light and Sign-based light for the first time pre-adjusts headlamp patterns for maximum visibility before reaching a curve, junction or roundabout, using the forward-facing camera to monitor lane markings up to 65 metres ahead and detect roundabout, stop, give way and yield signs. The all-new Focus also offers Glare-free high beam that removes the guilt of accidentally dazzling other drivers and helps users see more of the road ahead at night.
Focus is also the first Ford vehicle in Europe to offer a Head-up display (HUD) – one of the brightest and largest available – which helps drivers keep their eyes on the road by projecting useful information into their field of vision.
And Active Park Assist 2 makes parking even easier by controlling forward and reverse gear selection, throttle and braking, as well as steering – and automatically manoeuvring into perpendicular parking spaces and parallel spaces just 1.1 metres longer than the car. The driver can control vehicle motion by simply selecting neutral and holding down a single centre console-mounted button. (Automatic transmission only)
Additional technologies designed to help Focus drivers avoid accidents and distraction include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection; Evasive Steering Assist;
Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert; Rear wide-view camera;
Wrong Way Alert; and Post-Collision Braking.
“Think back to when you took your driving test, and how hard you had to concentrate to be safe on the road. Driving hasn’t become any less demanding – we just become more accustomed to pressure. Technologies like Stop & Go and Lane-Centring will reduce the demand on drivers, helping them focus their attention and be less stressed, and more confident, at the wheel,” said Helmut Reder, global vehicle line director C-car, Ford of Europe.
Energetic and responsive
The all-new Focus delivers the most fun-to-drive experience of any mid-size family car. All Focus models now feature Drive Modes that adjust the car’s characteristics to match the driving situation.
Customers can choose from engines including:
• Ford’s multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine 125 PS; further enhanced to deliver from 4.8 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 108 g/km CO2*
• Ford’s new 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine 120 PS; delivering from 3.6 l/100 km fuel efficiency and 94 g/km CO2
Customers can also choose from manual six-speed transmissions that are smooth and refined to operate, and a new eight-speed automatic gearbox that adapts to different driving styles to offer the smoothest gear changes at the best possible time.
The all-new Focus introduces FordPass Connect onboard modem technology for customers in Europe, turning the vehicle into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. FordPass Connect also enables Live Traffic updates for the navigation system, and using the FordPass mobile app drivers can easily locate their car in sprawling shopping mall car parks, check fuel levels, remotely lock and unlock their car, and even start it remotely.**
A new Wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones means drivers can wave goodbye to storing a tangle of charging cables in the centre console, and devices can remain connected via Bluetooth to Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system while charging. Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™, SYNC 3 allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using pinch and swipe gestures on the 8-inch touchscreen, and simple voice commands. A new 675-watt B&O PLAY sound system helps occupants get the best from music streamed via FordPass Connect or smartphone.
“Focus has been our heartland in Europe for two decades. Leading the pack for design, technology and driving fun, it encapsulates everything our customers love about Ford,” said Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president, Europe Middle East and Africa, Ford Motor Company. “With mid-size family cars accounting for almost one-in-five sales across Europe last year, Focus remains as important as ever to our company and our customers, which is why we've put so much energy into developing an all-new model that is among the very best cars we've ever produced.”
All New Focus in Ireland
All New Focus arrives into Ireland in July and will be priced from €24,900. The car will initially be available in 4 series in Ireland: Zetec, ST-Line, Titanium and Vignale. The Active Series will arrive in Ireland in 2019.
Powertrains will include the well-proven and award winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol (125ps) and 1.5 litre diesel (120ps).
Specification details for the range is as follows:
Focus Zetec features: 16” alloys; LED DTRLs; 6.5” SYNC 3 with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay; selectable drive modes; cruise control; pre-collision assist including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
Focus ST-Line (in addition to Zetec): 17” sport alloys; ST-Line body kit; twin polished tail pipes; keyless start; interior sports trim; sports suspension.
Focus Titanium (in addition to Focus ST-Line): front & rear parking sensors; 8” SYNC 3 with navigation & Android Auto & Apple CarPlay; FordPass Connect; keyless entry & start; LED rear lamps.
Focus Vignale (in addition to Focus Titanium): 18” Vignale alloys; unique Vignale body-styling; 8” SYNC 3 B&O Play with navigation & Android Auto & Apple CarPlay; full leather seats and armrest; head up display; privacy glass; Vignale chrome tail pipes.
More complete pricing detail will be issued when the car arrives in Ireland.