When the director of Ford claimed that this is the ‘best vehicle we have ever made’ at the launch of the all-new fourth generation Focus, he definitely set the bar high. The hatchback – also available as station wagon – has been around for two decades and with over 16 million sold worldwide it’s an important car for the brand.We were keen to find out of it lives up to its name and bold claim.
Three trim levels, the option for a wagon variant, every safety feature you can dream of and a range of option packages to make it your own. That is the all-new Ford Focus in a nutshell. It’s a bit wider and lower than its predecessor, although it has got a longer wheelbase and shorter overhangs, the dimensions stayed practically the same. Its looks on the other hand, have definitely changed. A sharper nose, bolder roof and well rounded rear end make it distinguishably different to the outgoing model. Let’s have a look at its specific features.
So the Ford Focus comes in three trim levels: the entry-level Trend, sporty ST-line and top-of-the-line Titanium. The ST-line variant also comes an extended wagon variant. The main difference is of course its boot space: 608 litres instead of 375L for the hatchback. This increases to 1653L when you fold down the backseat (1354L in the hatchback). But otherwise, they’re the same.
We drove around in the ST-line hatchback and were pleasantly surprised by its sporty characteristics due to its stiffer springs and zippy engine. Being fitted with the Driver Assistance Pack we had all possible safety technology, including adaptive cruise control with stop & go technology, which makes for a very relaxing ride in busy traffic. When we got it out on the highway, we noticed a stable and comfortable ride that easily kept up with the other traffic. Through the corners, the Focus sticks to the road like glue thanks to the stiffened up suspension of the ST-line. Plus, it’s definitely not a bad car too look at, standing on 17-inch rims (the perfect balance between the 16s on the Trend and 18s on the Titanium).
The all-new Ford Focus might just been fitted with a three-cylinder engine, but because the 1.5-litre is turbocharged it manages to produce 134kW and 240Nm of torque. Not bad numbers at all, especially considering this is a compact and light vehicle. It zips to 100km/h in about 8.5 seconds, so you don’t have to worry at the traffic light. Or at the pump for that matter, because it does 6.4L/100km of combined urban and highway driving.
Another nice feature is the eight-speed automatic (there is no manual available), which is butter smooth and controlled by a futuristic dial instead of an old-school lever. It takes some getting used to, especially putting it in reverse, but once familiarised with the system, it operates with ease and does free up a lot of space in the mid-console. The flat bottomed steering wheel in the ST-line furthermore adds to the sporty characteristics.
Every new Focus comes with au autonomous emergency braking with
night-time pedestrian detection, cyclist detection and lane-keeping
assist as standard. With the Driver Assistance Pack fitted, you’ll
also get the adaptive cruise control with stop & go technology
(standard on the Titanium) and Blind Spot Information System with Rear
Cross Traffic Alert & Active Braking. Especially the combination of
lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise make for an semi-autonomous
experience (you’ve got to keep your hands on the while though) that will
prove to be the future of driving.
The comfortable seats in the new Ford Focus offer ample support for longer rides and also hold firm when making some sharp turns. As is to be expected from Ford, the interior is finished with high quality materials, though there is still plenty of plastic to be found. Trying to compete with high-end European brands, Ford definitely stepped up their game on this front though and the touch-and-feel of the buttons and switches is sturdy. Everything is in the right place, which makes operating Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system and full-colour 8.0-inch touchscreen (which operates the sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) easy and user friendly. The near 180-degree rear-view camera makes parking even easier than before.
Because of the 52mm increase in wheelbase, the interior space has
been improved for both the front and rear passengers. No trouble fitting
four adults in the new Focus and take them for a road trip. They’ll all
The all-new Ford Focus starts just under the 30k mark for the Trend variant. The ST-line is about $3000 more (which gets you the bodykit, auto-folding mirrors, dual-zone climate control, proximity key and wireless phone charging amongst other extras) and you will need to add another $2000 for the wagon version. For almost $40k you’ll drive away in the top-of-the-line Titanium. This is before adding some of the optional packages though, which vary in price.
The Driver Assistance Pack mentioned before costs $1250 and the Design Pack – which gets you the 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlamps and automatic high beam is $1800 (both standard on the Titanium). Going all out on the range topper means adding a heads up display for $300 and the Panorama Roof Pack for $2000. Then there is nothing left to add and you’ve got a fully kitted out Focus!
A fresh look, more space and sharp ride make the all-new Ford Focus a very desirable car. The quality both inside and out is up to par with its European competition and the Focus is backed by Ford’s five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Next to that, the servicing is capped at $299 for the first four (every 12 months or 15,000km) services.
It’s packed with technology, including a flashy, futuristic gear dial and got a five-star NCAP rating. What more can you ask for?
Interested in a test drive? Motorama Ford is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Ford team in Moorooka.