Ford sharpens its Focus

Ford keen to take back its former position as the go-to car maker for handling and dynamics

Under the new bonnet the Focus will be the launch vehicle for Ford’s new 1.5-litre petrol EcoBoost engine.

Under the new bonnet the Focus will be the launch vehicle for Ford’s new 1.5-litre petrol EcoBoost engine.

Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 14:46

Ford has given the Focus a major mid-life update and facelift as it attempts to keep up with the motoring Joneses in the shape of the Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308. It’s a very thorough facelift, entirely changing the front end of the car and making some significant changes inside too.

There is an all-new grille, taken from the current Fiesta and the perennially-upcoming new Mondeo and which continues the Aston-Martin-like lines of those cars. The headlights are also new – slimmer and with integrated LED daytime running lights. There are also new fog lights and a reprofiled bonnet as well as new rear lights that cut less into the side panels.

Inside, although the overall shape and layout is similar, there are fewer buttons with more controls being given over to a new eight-inch touchscreen in the centre console. There is also new full-colour screen in front of the driver, between the redesigned main dials, which will carry trip computer, sat-nab and infotainment data. Ford is rolling out its latest SYNC II connection system with this new Focus, and hopes that buyers will like the supposedly cleaner, simpler look which it has adopted. Other new tech includes a self-parking system which can pull into perpendicular spaces and also get the car out of tight parking spots as well as a new “Pull-Out Assist” device, first pioneered by Volvo, which alerts you to passing traffic when reversing out of a space.

Under the new bonnet the Focus will be the launch vehicle for Ford’s new 1.5-litre petrol EcoBoost engine. That will come in both 150hp and 180hp forms, while the existing three-cylinder, 1.0-litre EcoBoost will continue in 100hp and 125hp forms. The smaller engine’s Co2 emissions have been trimmed, with a 99g/km variant due to go on sale – the first sub-100g/km petrol car in its class not to use a hybrid system, claims Ford.

Although the increasing economy of the petrol EcoBoost range is testament to the fact that diesel engines are becoming more and more expensive to build, the Focus isn’t abandoning the black pump just yet. Indeed, the old 1.6-litre TDCI range is being phased out now in favour of a new range based on the 1.5 TDCI already seen in the Fiesta and B-Max. The new Focus will get that engine in 90hp and 120hp forms, with the former having Co2 emissions of just 88g/km.

Ford is also keen to take back its former position as the go-to car maker for handling and dynamics. Rivals have eroded the Focus’ once unassailable lead in that area, but new, more expensive front dampers, retuned electric power steering and new suspension bushes will, Ford hopes, regain the advantage.

The new Focus will go on sale in Ireland in the Autumn of this year.