Ford shifts Focus to an all-new global model
New Focus available in 4-door bodystyles (hatchback, sedan and wagon)Joe Duarte
Published: April 11, 2018, 2:30 AM
Updated: April 30, 2018, 4:45 PM
Ford is introducing a new Focus, which is the culmination of extensive customer research around the world to create that meets driver’s needs in all global markets.
“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.”
Ford says the all-new, roomier, global Focus features innovative technologies (on-board internet, extensive driving aids, and wireless charging, among others) and improved power and ride and handling. It will be available in multiple 4-door bodystyles (hatchback, sedan and wagon), depending on market, when it goes on sale in North America in 2019 (later this year in Europe and China).
There is also flexibility to create visually-different models within a market, as well as the ability to create market-specific models, such as the new sport ST-Line or the adventure-focused Active, without adding complexity to the build process — reportedly reducing orderable configurations by as much as 92%, depending on the market (that means some markets dropped orderable configurations from 360 to 26).
The build process will spread to other vehicles going forward, as the company moves from individual vehicle platforms to flexible and modular architectures and vehicle families, while streamlining components such as engines, electrical systems and even sunroofs.
“We’re evolving our successful One Ford strategy to find new ways to create a sporty-looking small car our customers will love,” said Jim Farley, president of Global Markets. “We’ll tailor which cars in the Focus line-up we offer in markets around the world to ensure we best meet customers’ different needs and preferences.”
The overall dimensions are unchanged (though wheelbase is elongated), but the car looks bigger due to adjustments in design — a longer hood and a cabin set farther back — but does create a roomier cabin, which is easier on access, and a larger cargo-hold in the process. The new exterior design is also more aerodynamically efficient, says the maker.
Space is created through tapering of panels (such as the instrument panel optimized for easier entry and exit), and electronic controls (such as a parking brake button and rotary shift selector) on the narrower centre console. Rear seat room is increased by nearly 61 mm (at the shoulders), and by nearly 51 mm and 71 mm for knees and legs, respectively.
For wagon buyers, cargo space is expanded to 1,650 litres (behind the front seats), making it ideal in comfortably accommodating large pet carriers, made even easier to load up thanks to hands-free lifting liftgate. An available “Easy Fold Seat” quickly lowers at the pull of a lever.
The Ford CoPilot360 suite of driver-assist technologies includes, depending on market, adaptive cruise control (with Stop & Go, speed sign recognition and lane-centering), adaptive front lighting with camera-based curve and road-sign recognition to adjust headlamp patterns for better forward visibility, updated active park assist that now also includes transmission shifting for completely hands-off parking, and evasive steering assist that aids steering in emergency avoidance situations.
FordPass Connect grants on-board connectivity, allowing for a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, LiveTraffic updates to aid route planning, entertainment streaming, and synchronization with a FordPass smartphone mobile app that enables car owners to locate the car, display vehicle status updates such as fuel level and oil life, door lock/unlock and remote start.
A wireless charging pad in the centre console beneath the instrument panel allows devices to charge while connected to the SYNC 3 onboard communications and entertainment system. The 8-inch touchscreen uses smartphone-familiar swipe and pinch controls (as well as voice control over some functions) and is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The all-new chassis and suspension bestows a 20% improvement in torsional rigidity, while the all-new electric power-assisted steering provides more responsive, intuitive and engaging steering feel. Drivers will also find a drive mode selector (Normal, Sport and Eco) that adjusts engine and transmission response, steering feel and adaptive cruise control sensitivity.
Around the world, engines range from 1.0-litre EcoBoost (turbo) 3-cylinders to 1.5-litre EcoBoost “fours” and a 2.0-litre EcoBlue (turbodiesel) 4-cylinder, all controlled by various manuals or a new optional 8-speed automatic (with adaptive shifting according to driving style, and adaptive shift quality that gauges vehicle and outside forces to smoothen shift action). North American power and drivetrains will be announced closer to launch.