One of the UK’s motoring heavyweights – the Ford Focus – has enjoyed a major revamp, bringing with it more sophisticated tech and fuel-saving upgrades.
But, perhaps even more importantly for petrolheads, there’s also a brand new Ford Focus ST with ‘bold’ new exterior styling.
And this facelift brings a raft of improvements.
One of the headline-grabbing stats is that the Focus now comes with Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system, which uses a sophisticated machine learning algorithm to learn from a drivers’ behaviour and deliver more accurate suggestions and search results over time.
It’s a system that had previously only been seen in more up-market Fords, such as the all-electric Mustang Mach-E.
It comes with a 13.2-inch central touchscreen that also incorporates controls for functions such as heating and ventilation that were previously activated using physical buttons.
And you also get everything from wireless software updates to voice control, Garmin sat-nav and full phone connectivity.
There’s also new additions to the Focus’ list of driver assistance systems. The ‘Blind Spot Assist’ can spot vehicles approaching from behind and can then apply counter-steering to warn the driver and discourage a lane change if it thinks a prang is imminent.
There’s also something called ‘Trailer Coverage’, which allows the driver to enter the length and width of the trailer they wish to tow, and which then allows the Blind Spot system to make all of the necessary adjustments.
New Intersection Assist uses the Focus’s forward-facing camera in combination with radar to monitor the road ahead for potential collisions with oncoming vehicles in parallel lanes. It can also apply the brakes if you’re not quite quick enough.
There’s also a host of other systems, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist with Active and Rear Occupant Alert – the latter of which is designed to help drivers avoid leaving children or pets in their vehicle.
When it comes to styling, the Focus has also been given a modern nip and a tuck.
A new bonnet design increases the height of the nose for ‘greater visual presence’, says Ford, while there’s also a larger upper grille. LED headlights come as standard
And another big selling point for the new Ford is an improvement to fuel efficiency.
There’s a host of powertrains available, including Ford’s brilliant mild-hybrid EcoBoost petrol engine, with power up to 155 PS, as well as a 1.5 litre EcoBlue diesel mill.
And because the hybrid engines can be had with a new seven-speed Powershift automatic transmission option, you can eke out better fuel economy – up to 53.3 mpg with the 1.0 litre hybrid EcoBoost unit.
A Ford spokesperson explains:
“In addition to a less-demanding two-pedal driving experience, the dual-clutch Powershift transmission delivers seamless acceleration and smooth, fast gear changes, with triple downshifts for responsive overtaking. In Sport Drive Mode, the automatic gearbox holds lower gears for sportier responses, and the transmission also offers manual gear selection, with sporty paddle-shifters as standard on ST‑Line variants.
“The Powershift automatic also supports fuel-saving by keeping the hybrid engine at the optimum rpm for efficiency, and by allowing rolling Auto Start-Stop to operate below 7 mph.”
As in previous years, you can enjoy the Focus as a typical hatchback or as a ‘wagon’ estate.
And if performance is your thing, you’ll want the Focus ST.
The engine remains pretty much the same as the last incarnation – a 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, delivering 280 PS and 420 Nm of torque supported by a twin-scroll turbocharger with anti- lag technology. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard with rev-matching technology when specified with the optional X Pack for smoother, more consistent down-shifts. A seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters is also available.
But the ST has also been given a styling tweak, now coming with new honeycomb upper and lower front grilles, large side vents, side skirts and aerodynamically-optimised spoilers on the lower fascia and rear roof. A new design of 18‑inch alloy wheel is standard, with optional 19-inch wheels also available.
Meanwhile there’s a new a ‘Mean Green’ paint option as well as fresh, in-house developed Performance Seats.
A Ford spokesperson adds:
“The new Focus ST is a crucial part of the new Focus range; it is the ultimate expression of the Focus philosophy that you can have a car that delivers true excitement and driving pleasure while still fitting seamlessly into everyday life.”
The new Ford Focus is priced from £22,465 on the road.
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