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Ten things you need to know about the new Ford Focus

Everything you need to know about what could be one of Britain's best-selling cars

  1. It's all new, global but European

    That new platform – called C2 – is the basis of it all.  All Ford’s global divisions got together, and specified what they wanted from the ground-up new car. Then the designers and engineers in Europe did the job. Even though it’s roomier and stronger than the old one, most models are notably lighter.

  2. The front is recognisable, the sides are fresh

    The front-end view is obviously Ford. It’s at the side where things have really taken a turn. The metalwork is defined by three bow-like lines - two high, one low – that emerge from the soft dune-like surfaces. The almond-shaped glazed area is another departure. Out back, the tail-lamps clusters are now split, so they’re wider without impinging into the tailgate opening.

  3. There's more space everywhere

    The stretched wheelbase imparts better rear legroom. Plus the front seats have been redesigned to give useful extra space for the rear-dwellers’ feet. Those folk can see out better too, because the door windows are pulled rearward into the pillar. Despite all those cabin gains, the new car is a scant 18mm longer. So if you could park the old one, this will be fine. If you couldn’t, there’s now an auto-parking option.

    The estate is bigger and has a squarer boot, with space under the floor to store the infernal roller-blind.

  4. It features an all-new dash, and is well specced

    The dash has a cleaner, simplified look and is made from soft-touch plastic. It’s been moved forward, to make things feel roomier. Not so far that you can’t reach the touch-screen, mind, which is mounted high up.

    The screen goes up to eight inches, and runs Ford’s Sync 3 system, which is the equal of anything in the mass market for slick operation and easily grasped menus. If you don’t fancy using the Ford system, you can mirror your phone through CarPlay.

    The top-end music system is a 675-watter from B&O Play. There’s also a wireless charging-pad option.

    For the driver, a pretty comprehensive head-up display is also on the options menu.


    The Focus, like the Astra, has got itself an embedded SIM card, which means it can receive high-definition live traffic and run several navigation and shopping apps. It’ll also summon help in an emergency to the car’s exact location. The same data connection means it can serve as a wi-fi hotspot.

    You can do various things to the car remotely from your phone, like lock and unlock, locate where you left it if you’ve managed to forget, or get the heating or air-con running early.

  6. There's a very 2018 suite of assistance tech

    The whole lot is bundled under a portmanteau trademark, which as you’d expect looks like a password: Co-Pilot360.

    A fully-kitted Focus bristles with a front radar, another radar on each side, a front camera and an all-round array of 12 ultrasonic sensors. They don’t just operate independently, but their inputs are compared by the assistance computer. Sensor fusion, in the jargon. Result is some pretty big claims for the Focus’s intelligence.

    For instance the adaptive cruise control takes account of vehicles ahead and to either side, as well as the lane markings themselves, to keep the Focus centred in its lane as it follows the car in front.

    The optional LED adaptive headlights will broaden their beam shape predictively if the camera sees a roundabout or bend sign.

    Or how about ‘evasive steering assist’. If the car calculates a crash is suddenly looming, the systems will figure out what looks like the safest clear gap to steer into, and eases the steering wheel one way or the other to help you go there. You can of course yank it the other way if you think you’ve a better idea.

    Meanwhile the basic accident-avoidance tech is here: it will auto-brake if it spots a car, cyclist or pedestrian in front, or a crossing vehicle when you’re reversing into the road.

  7. The suspension has had a bit of a refresh

    The broad suspension principles remain the same, at least on most versions. But it’s all been renewed. Also, there are now three completely different rear suspensions.

    The hatches with the smallest, lowest-power now have a torsion-beam setup. Sounds like a retrograde step given it’s the first time we’ve had one of those on a mid-size Ford since the Escort. But the engineers swear it’s actually well-enough refined that it rides as well as the current Focus, and it’s closely related to the Fiesta ST design.

    Meanwhile, more powerful hatches get a short-and-long arm setup. This one, they say is better developed and gives a quieter ride than the torsion beam, and more precise steering response.

    Finally, estates get a different layout of SLA system, with the dampers laid near-horizontally. It’s not as tunable as the hatch setup, but it gives more space in the boot, especially between the wheel-arches.

    Some models get the option of adaptive dampers too, for the first time in a mainstream Focus.

  8. There is much newness in petrol and diesel engines, and autobox

    Petrols matter, given the recent distaste for diesel. The stalwart 1.0-litre Ecoboost is likely to take most sales. It’s the heavily revised version from the Fiesta, and comes in 85, 100 and 125bhp, with just 108g/km CO2 even in the strict new WLTP test. The bigger petrol engine, a 1.5-litre, is now also a triple, almost the same as the new Fiesta ST jobbie. It has 150 or 182bhp. For economy in light use, the three-cylinder engines can close down one of their cylinders, keeping the valves shut to eliminate the losses of pumping air.

    The 1.5 diesel is all-new and should clear emissions standards to 2025, they claim. Power is up to 120bhp, and then there’s a revised 2.0 diesel making 150bhp.

    The old twin-clutch auto was unpopular in America, so all the auto versions now get a conventional eight-speeder.

  9. It's a drag star

    The cd figure is as low as 0.273 for the five-door, which is as slippery as most eels.

    Active grille shutters automatically close to reduce drag when the radiator doesn’t need to gulp cooling air. Air curtains put a wall of air around the front wheels to cut turbulence, and there are several little edges in the rear body and lights to separate the airflow cleanly. Most of the underbody is shielded, including the rear suspension.

  10. There's no three-door version

    As before, the Focus comes only as a five-door. Three-doors are a dying breed. Even Audi, which usually ploughs every niche including ones you never knew existed, has recently given up on the three-door A3.

    But there are other bodies coming. You can of course soon expect the next Kuga SUV, derived from this same all-new C2 platform.

    It’s also possible to have 4WD in the Focus hatch, with a bit of rear-floor re-shaping. Useful for an RS.

    As to a 4WD version of the Active, that’s still being considered, and actually it might be a hybrid with an electric rear-axle drive rather than a conventional mechanical AWD.

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