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First Drive: Ford Focus

The most accomplished and technically-competent Focus ever

Despite ever increasing sales of SUVs, the Focus is a huge­ly significant addition to the Ford line up writes Suzanne Keane

What is it? 20 years after it was first launched the Ford Focus has been rebuilt from the ground up and is hoping to be as popular as its predecessors.

First impressions of the new Ford Focus? The new model is wider and lower with a wheelbase that is 52mm longer than the previous version. The overhangs to the front and back are shorter and the A pillar has been pushed backwards. While the new Focus is almost the same size as its predecessor it is more spacious internally and the rear quarter panel window has become a part of the door allowing more space for rear passengers to get in. Depending on your chosen spec level finishes range from satin aluminium and woodgrain to carbon fibre and red stitching – our first choice would be the stunning ST-Line Wagon!

What about the interior? The dashboard has been moved forwards by 100mm to give additional legroom. The centre console has also been adjusted and is now narrower and lower and overall there is more knee and shoulder space throughout. For those who complained about the previous model’s cluttered dashboard this new Focus has 50% fewer buttons and all controls are within easy reach. This new model really is spacious and the rear suspension struts in the wagon version have been spread out further to allow for a wider load space in the rear.

New Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring technologies help negotiate
stop-start traffic

And on the road? We drove the 1.0L Ecoboost 125PS hatchback in Titanium spec and the 1.5 EcoBlue Diesel estate (wagon) in Vignale guise, both in manual.

Ford Focus and the city: As you’d expect the Ford Focus is extremely agile and the narrow winding streets of Tourettes in Provence were tackled with ease. For ease of parking the new Active Park Assist not only controls the steering but will accelerate, brake and change gears to autonomously park the car when required.

Focus and the open road: The test route took us from Nice, along narrow winding roads clung to the side of mountains until we reached our destination which was as high as Carrauntoohil! Steering was very responsive, and the new Focus tackled bends with ease. The new model is lighter but stiffer than its predecessor and depending on your driving style you’ll have a choice of a rear twist beam or independent rear suspension. The ST Line is 10mm lower than the standard focus with stiffer springs for a sportier feel while the Active (coming in 2019) is 30mm higher with larger tyres.

How Much? The new Ford Focus will start at €24,900.  According to Ford the 1.0L EcoBoost 125PS will consume 4.8l/100km with 108g/km CO2 while the 1.5L EcoBlue 120PS diesel will use 3.6l/100km and produces 94g/km of CO2.

How Safe? As you’d expect the new Focus comes with a wide range of safety features, both standard and optional. Cross traffic alert, evasive steering assist and post collision braking are some of the highlights while FordPass Connect will equip your car with a modem, independent of your smartphone, which will contact the emergency services in case of an emergency. Co-Pilot 360 is Ford’s SAE Level 2 Automation which combines Adaptive Cruise Control (with stop and go), Lane Centring Assist and Speed Sign Recognition.

There will be 4 spec levels available when the Focus is launched. “Zetec, ST-Line, Titanium and Vignale

What about my options? There will be 4 spec levels available when the Focus is launched. “Zetec” will come with 16” alloys, 6.5” touchscreen (android auto and apple carplay), cruise control and pre-collision assist. The sporty “ST-Line” upgrades you to 17” alloys, an ST-Line body kit, twin polished tailpipes, keyless start and sports suspension. The “Titanium” spec gets front and rear parking sensors, an 8” touchscreen, FordPass Connect (live traffic, remotely check fuel level, lock/unlock), keyless entry and LED tail lights while the top of the range “Vignale” model has 18” alloys, a B&O sound system, sat nav, full leather seats, a head up display and privacy glass. Gearbox options are either a 6-speed manual or 8 speed auto. A more rugged looking “Active” trim will be available in 2019.

3 words to describe the Ford Focus? Spacious; Fun; Stylish

 

For more information on the new Ford Focus check out Ford.ie, the Ford Ireland Facebook page or follow them on twitter here

 

Suzanne Keane

16th July, 2018

Author: Suzanne Keane

A confirmed petrol head with a penchant for Retro VW’s, Suzanne has been taking apart (and sometimes putting back together) her own cars for years! You can follow Suzanne on Twitter at @g60girl

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