Ford has unveiled the new fourth-generation version of Focus range – the family hatchback that redefined the company’s attitude to dynamic ability when it was launched in 1998. The American carmaker says that the car's agility, engagement and ‘fun-to-drive’ feelings remain unchanged; it has also retained driving engagement as a key priority for the new Focus.
The new fourth-gen Focus will be available globally in three body styles – five-door hatchback, sedan and estate. The brand has said that a raft of new technology will make the Focus the most advanced car it sells in Europe.
The Focus hatchback will be offered in ST-Line trim – which has a suspension 10mm lower than the standard car’s – and as an Active-badged near-crossover variant, which sits 30mm higher than standard. Ford’s upmarket Vignale specification will also be offered on the new car, in addition to the regular Titanium trim level.
Aside from otherwise consistent interior architecture, the Focus Active will feature some harder-wearing materials. The Vignale cars will receive more upmarket trims and include more satin materials and ST-Line models will be sportier. Meanwhile, regular Titanium versions will sit somewhere between these trims.
The latest Focus is built on a highly adaptable new Ford platform called C2, which will underpin dozens of medium-sized forthcoming models, including the next-generation Kuga SUV. By 2021, Ford expects C-segment SUV and crossover sales to outstrip those of regular models.
Initially, petrol engines for the new Focus will be the familiar three-cylinder EcoBoost units, adapted for improved economy. The 1.0-litre triple engine has a new turbocharger and cylinder head, a higher compression ratio (now 10.5:1) and increased injection pressure (250bar). It also has a petrol particulate filter. Outputs in the range of 85hp to 126hp are expected for the European market models.
There will be two EcoBlue-badged four-cylinder diesels. The 1.5-litre cars come with 95hp and 120hp motors, while the 2.0-litre engine makes 150hp.
A hot ST version will follow and although there has been no official confirmation of a high-performance RS model, our sister publication, Autocar UK, understands that there will be one mild-hybrid powertrain making 406hp and 576Nm of torque.
All variants will drive through a six-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed automatic. The latter is optional only on the highest-powered petrol of each size, the top-spec 1.5-litre diesel and the 2.0-litre diesel engines. It’s a conventional torque-converter auto 'box rather than a dual-clutch unit, following an industry trend towards smoother conventional auto gearboxes.
Thanks to the wheelbase extension, the Focus’ interior dimensions are said to have improved immensely, despite the only modest increase in external girth. Knee-room in the rear is up 56mm, front shoulder room is said to be class-leading and – thanks to a re-profiling of the rear doors – rear passengers’ heads are now adjacent to glass rather than metal, so they can look outside more easily.
The Ford Focus rivals the likes of the Hyundai i30 and Volkswagen Golf, internationally. Closer to home, Ford has recently joined hands with Mahindra in developing future models for the Indian market. Read more on that here.