Ford reshuf­fle line-up as im­pres­sive car strug­gles with sales, CHRIS RI­LEY writes

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - USED CARS -

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.

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