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All-new fourth-generation Ford Focus debuts. Image by Ford.

All-new fourth-generation Ford Focus debuts
As the Focus turns 20, Ford launches a brand-new model with a wider range.
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What's all this about?

It might not seem like it, but two decades have passed since the very first Ford Focus made its debut. For 2018, it's not sharp lines, but svelte curves that define the Blue Oval's new flagship hatch. Under that redesigned bodywork is a new platform that Ford hopes will give the Focus an edge over its many rivals, in a bid to maintain its reputation for crisp handling.

What's so different about it?

Literally everything. We mentioned a new platform, which Ford calls the C2. Not only does this contribute to enhanced crash protection, but it has allowed Ford's engineers and designers to shift around the car's architecture to improve the interior space while increasing the car's overall torsional stiffness, which has plenty of benefits in the chassis department.

The results of these changes can be seen on the exterior where the A-pillars are moved more rearward, while the wheelbase is extended by 53mm. A knock-on effect of this is the larger wheelarches, allowing the fitment of bigger wheels - something that could come in handy for higher performance models further down the line. The more conventional looking hatchback offers a wide loading space while the C-pillar is more upright than on previous generations, which proves beneficial to rear passenger space. And just in case you weren't sure what you were looking at, Ford has emblazoned the letters 'FOCUS' across the back of it.

Why do they all look a bit different?

The Focus is such an important model for Ford that the company has made something of a range within the range. The standard models will come in five-door hatchback and estate body styles, with the choice of Zetec and Titanium specification grades. But from there it grows. For the keener driving enthusiast, there's the sporty looking ST-Line. Not only does this version get a more aggressive body kit and ST-Line badging on the exterior, but it sits 10mm lower down on stiffer suspension. Then there's the Focus Active...

So, what's a Focus Active?

It seems that not even the trusty Ford Focus can escape the crossover influence. The Focus Active follows the same approach taken by the smaller Fiesta Active. In this case, the car features suspension that is raised by 30mm and bodywork that has hard-wearing plastic and metallic-look cladding, giving it a pseudo off-road look. The exterior is capped off with contrasting black mirrors, window trims and roof rails, for that outdoorsy image.

Wait. There's more?

The Focus range wouldn't be complete without the posh one, right? Yes, Ford is giving its popular hatchback the Vignale treatment, which should go down a treat with Hyacinth Bucket et al. It is singled out from the rest of the Focus range by embellishments of satin aluminium on the roof rails and fascia, while a bespoke grille further sets it apart.

Is the interior improved?

The cabin design is possibly the one area that will most impress people. Its new layout looks much better and sees Ford raise its game substantially in comparison to the outgoing generation. Higher quality materials and a freestanding eight-inch touchscreen put the Ford back at the sharp end of the segment. This is all complemented by the increased sense of space provided by the stretched wheelbase and redesigned C-pillar, which has an even more beneficial effect for those seated in the rear.

Talk to me about engines.

At launch, it is somewhat surprising that Ford isn't talking about any type of alternative powertrains. For now, the new Focus comes with a choice of diesel and petrol engines, with either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.

The petrol range starts with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, an engine that has already won many awards. In the Focus range it will be available in 85-, 100- and 125hp variants while the larger 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol will be offered in 150- and 182hp guises. In a bid to keep things efficient Ford is also introducing cylinder deactivation technology for this engine, enabling it to run on two cylinders when coasting or when the engine is only partially loaded.

Ford's EcoBlue diesel engine line-up will be made up of a 1.5-litre with 95- or 120hp, and a larger 2.0-litre diesel producing 150hp and 370Nm of torque.

Will it have new technology?

You bet, starting with all the connectivity you'll want or need. The latest SYNC 3 system naturally allows for Bluetooth streaming and connects to your smartphone via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but there will also now be the availability of wireless phone charging through a pad in the centre console. FordPass Connect brings a WiFi hotspot into the car, with connectivity for up to 10 devices while keeping the car connected with Live Traffic updates for the built-in navigation system.

For those that have issues with parking, there is a new Active Park Assist 2 system that can take the pain out of it. Not only can it detect parking spaces, but it can safely and quickly park the car with the touch of a single button (if the car has the automatic transmission). It can squeeze into tighter spots, even park on slopes and when it's time to leave it will get you back out of the space, too.

Anything else?

For the first time in a Ford in Europe, those buying a new Focus will be able to specify a head-up display for the car. It will use a special retractable polycarbonate screen that works so that those wearing polarised lenses will be able to read it.

When does it arrive?

Ford hasn't set specific dates yet for when the Focus will go on sale, but order books are expected to open soon, and first deliveries could start before the end of 2018.



Dave Humphreys - 10 Apr 2018








www.ford.co.uk    - Ford road tests
- Ford news
- Focus images

2018 Ford Focus. Image by Ford.    






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