Ford unveiled the all-new Focus. And, we're excited!

They might have just announced mass-killing of their cars in America but macho trucks and brawny SUVs aren’t the only vehicle types the folks at American car-maker Ford churn out in style. The brand's portfolio also consists of a range of driver-focused cars offering maximum fun for every penny spent. The Focus, Ford’s best-selling car nameplate of late, has always been at the forefront of this very virtue that defines the brand.

Ford recently unveiled the all-new next-generation Focus to the global media in simultaneous events held in Germany and China. It makes sense as Europe and our neighbour up north account for majority of Focus' sales. So, what about the new Focus got the press and the public talking?

There’s a Focus for everyone

It’s fast becoming a trend now. Like the new Fiesta that made its debut last year, Ford has announced the new Focus in multiple configurations, variants and body styles in an attempt to woo a myriad of car-buyers amidst changing tastes and preferences. 

Three body styles – a hatchback, a sedan and a station wagon – would be on offer. The hatchback, likely to be the most popular body style, would be offered in China as well as Europe. In addition, China will have the sedan while Europe will get exclusive access to the station wagon. That’s not all, Europeans will also have the privilege of choosing from specialized variants of the Focus like the plush Vignale and the high-riding Active. North America will not be left out with China-made Focus Active cross-hatches confirmed as the only car in the Ford lineup apart from the Mustang.

There’s an ST-Line variant too for those who want sporty looks but not necessarily more power and better performance. Remarkably, all these variants get distinct fascias with subtle but effective changes on the grille, bumper and fog lamps. 

It’s clear Ford has designed and engineered the new Focus to be more car for more people from the word go than most other cars in the segment. 

It’s dynamic prowess hasn’t been sacrificed

Now, this is crucial. At a time when often-mouthed terms like downsizing, fuel efficiency, emission norms and autonomy are threatening to kill the aspect of “fun” from driving, the new Focus continues to be a driver’s car it has always been. When Ford’s Head of Product Development in Europe talks about the car’s dynamic prowess at its launch and how it’s been taken care of, it shows Ford is serious about it. 

Solid build, reassuring handling and precise steering feel are virtues the Focus has built its reputation on. Ford claims the new Focus loses none of that while gaining in other areas that it lacked like feature-rich interiors and better connectivity options. Depending on the engine under the hood, the new Focus gets either a twist beam rear axle or a fully independent rear suspension with double wishbones. The move to twist beam on the lower variants is a step backwards from the current Focus that offers an independent setup across the board but that’s where the segment is unfortunately headed.

The ST-Line, that sits lower and gets stiffer bushes, is likely to be the pick of the bunch for those who love driving. Until the much-revered Focus RS comes along and slaps a big wide grin on our faces, that is! 

This is said to be the best Focus yet

Though the statement is cheekily similar to claims made by every car-maker for almost every new car launched these days, Ford’s claim is not without substance. 

Firstly, the interiors are bigger and look several notches better than the outgoing model, having adopted the brand’s new design mojo of a 8.0-inch touchscreen stacked on to the center console. Feature list has been thoroughly upgraded as well with more emphasis on connectivity and safety. 

The 2019 Focus also has the distinction of debuting the new Co-Pilot 360 safety suite in Europe and China. Depending on the trim level and market, the tech on offer include adaptive cruise control with speed sign recognition, lane centering assist to level two autonomous standards, emergency braking, park assist, rear cross-traffic alert and evasive steering assist. The new Focus also offers a Wi-Fi network that can connect up to 10 devices and work up to 15 meters away from the car. On cars equipped with this and the FordPass Connect system, owners can locate and start the vehicle, lock and unlock the doors and check essential car stats at the touch of a button on their smartphones.

It’s not surprising then Steven Armstrong, Ford’s European boss, claims “The new Focus is, quite simply, the best car in our 114-year history.”

The ST-Line looks super cool

In every new car, there’s one particular colour or variant that attracts our attention the most as it brings the best out of the car. In case of the new Focus, the ST-Line takes that honour. Wearing a cool new shade of blue, the ST-Line impresses with its sharp looks complemented by subtle hints of sportiness. 

If the wannabe ST looks this cool, we can't wait for the actual ST and the full-blown RS. Come on Ford, launch them already!

Want a Hybrid or Electric? Nah, you've gotta wait!

Despite all the talk about electrification, the new Focus will sadly not have an electrified power-train on offer at launch. Instead, two tunes of the popular 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder 'EcoBoost' petrol and a pair of 'EcoBlue' diesels - with 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter displacements - would be the power of choice though a mild-hybrid high-performance variant appear to be on the cards. 

Mated to these engines is either a 6-speed manual or a 8-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.  

Globally, the Focus competes head-on with Volkswagen's Golf and Hyundai's i30. The new Focus - with more space, sharper looks and an all-new platform underneath that promises best-in-class handling - should have them worried.

No comments:

Post a Comment