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Critical Focus

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Ford Motor Company has taken the wraps off their fourth-generation Focus. 

The all-new Focus, which will be available in three body styles: a four-door sedan, five-door wagon, and five-door hatchback, and will be a true global model, meaning that while every market gets roughly the same car, there are minute changes that are tweaked to meet local regulations and buyers requirements.

The Mk4 Focus might look similar to its predecessor, but it has been completely redesigned from the ground up. While the front grille has shrunk a bit, the car is now curvier, and the headlights have the latest LED technology, but the car is still recognizable as a Focus. Trim models making their debut include the luxurious Focus Vignale, sporty ST-Line, adventure-oriented Active, and upscale Titanium.

While engine options will vary from market to market, Europe gets the award-winning turbocharged 1.0-litre 3-cylinder Ecoboost motor that is currently available in the Focus. There are said to be a 1.5-litre Ecoboost available in two levels of tune, while a 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel completes the line-up. Ford has only mentioned an 8-speed automatic so far, but more options will likely be revealed closer to reaching market. Sporty ST and RS models will likely show up at a future date.

The all-new C2 modular platform underpins the fourth-gen Focus, and brings with it 20% more torsional rigidity, while stiffness of individual suspension attachment points is increased by up to 50%, reducing flex for better body control. Another first is the addition of CCD or Continuously Controlled Damping, which is said to improve ride quality.

From a dynamic perspective, Ford promises that the new Focus will be more fun to drive. It will also be outfitted with Drive Mode Technology, which offers the driver Eco, Normal, and Sport selections. Each driving mode changes engine and transmission responsiveness, steering feel, and adaptive cruise control operation.

Ford has made significant strides in terms of aerodynamics, to the extent that Focus now benefits from a 10% average decrease in CO2 emissions as well as an increase in fuel efficiency. The sedan sports a class-leading drag co-efficient of 0.25Cd, while the hatchback boasts 0.275Cd. Like-for-like, the new Focus weighs roughly 88kgs less that the gen-three, which should also help improve overall efficiency.

The Focus features the very latest technology from Ford. That includes Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of advanced driver assist technologies that include adaptive cruise control, Ford’s adaptive front lighting system, active park assist, and evasive steering assist. Sync 3 infotainment system will provide an 8-inch touchscreen display as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection. An embedded modem will support FordPass Connect high-speed Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices.

Dimensionally, the new Focus is essentially unchanged from the outgoing model. However, a stretched bonnnet, a longer wheelbase, and cab-rearward interior placement make it look lengthier than the current model. On the inside, Ford promises a more spacious cabin, including an additional 60mm of rear shoulder room and 71mm of rear legroom. That is thanks to a longer wheelbase and flat floor at the rear.

“Each model has an outstanding combination of comfort, safety and driver assistance technologies, helping to make the all-new Ford Focus the most accomplished and technically advanced Focus ever,” Ford Europe said.

Since its launch in 1998, Ford has sold more than 16 million units of the Focus. And the American automaker is looking forward to continuing that sales streak despite diverting most of its attention towards a new strategy that sees more SUVs being produced in favour of sedans and compact cars. That said, the new Ford Focus will arrive in South Africa towards the end of 2018, with the product line-up and pricing set to be announced closer to its introduction.

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