FOCUS PUT ON POSITIVES
Ford reshuffle line-up as impressive car struggles with sales, CHRIS RILEY writes
FOCUS was one of Ford’s first efforts at building a car to satisfy the world rather than needs Middle America.
It promised lot with its raked stance, strong road presence and hitech driver focused cabin. It’s an impressive car but as
as it is just doesn’t seem to attract sales, almost trailing the field in the super competitive small segment.
Ford has reshuffled line-up, with entry Ambiente model killed off. That leaves behind the Trend, Sport and Titanium as well as high performance ST. The plush, highly equipped
now retails for $32,690, which is a $300 price cut and includes an auto.
Standard features include leather and two-zone climate air, auto lights, wipers rear view mirror, voicecontrolled “SYNC2” connectivity, an eight-inch computer touchscreen, satellite navigation and nine-speaker Sony audio with bluetooth audio streaming.
The 2.0-litre engine direct injection has been replaced by a more powerful torquier 1.5-litre turbocharged four. It’s the same unit in fact that powers feisty Fiesta ST, with 132kW of power at 6000 revs and 240Nm torque, latter from a low 1600 revs across a broad band.
The twin clutch tranny has also been replaced this time by conventional six-speed auto, with thumb switch at the top of the transmission lever to change gears manually.
Sports suspension is standard along with sports seats, a body kit, LED daytime running lights and 18-inch alloys fitted 235/40 series rubber.
The thrifty will be glad to hear this one prefers premium fuel but can take standard 91 unleaded, albeit with a slight loss of power.
It’s also fitted with auto engine stopstart that shuts the down when idle to reduce fuel consumption.
Rated at 6.4 litres/100km, we were getting 7.5 after almost 600km.
Titanium gets full complement of safety gear including six airbags, electronic traction and stability control, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert improved autonomous emergency braking that now operates at speeds up to 50km/h.
Front and parking sensors are also standard, along with automatic parking — both parallel reverse parking.
MyKey allows parents to program a key that limits top speed, reduce maximum radio volume, disables the
until the seatbelts are fastened and prevents deactivation of driver assistance safety technologies. First impressions important. And Focus gets a big tick for doors that close with nice reassuring “thunk”.
It has big car feel and sits confidently on the road, ride
is supple refined, belying the 18-inch wheels.
Moving off, engine responds sharply to the throttle thanks to the fact it has more torque than is available earlier in rev range.
Progress is smooth and reasonably rapid but hit too hard too soon you’re likely to encounter steer as the front tyres scramble for traction.
Overall it’s a more exciting car to drive than its predecessor, with sufficient power underfoot make things lively.
The steering is excellent good feedback through the wheel and it turns eagerly into corners.
Sport mode cranks it up a notch weights but trying to change gears manually with silly rocker switch requires some dexterity.
A large boot hides space saver spare.
Available as a hatch or sedan you could do lot worse than spend your days driving one of these. Sadly for Ford its good manners are not reflected in sales the Focus continues to trail competition.