Time to re­fo­cus

Ford’s new small car could end the Blue Oval’s blues

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Test Drive - PAUL POTTINGER paul.pottinger@cars­guide.com.au

THE car Ford Aus­tralia des­per­ately needs to re­verse its flag­ging for­tunes ar­rives in Au­gust— and not a mo­ment too soon.

The all-new Fo­cus hatch and sedan give the Blue Oval a much over­due ri­poste to the run­away sales suc­cess of the Mazda3 and the Holden Cruze in the highly com­pet­i­tive small car seg­ment, the most pop­u­lar among pri­vate buy­ers.

Ford Aus­tralia will im­port the Fo­cus from Ger­many’s Saar­louis plant in four spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els, in­clud­ing top level Ti­ta­nium trim, and three en­gines. De­signed by Mo­ray Cal­lum, the Fo­cus has a base model with 1.6-litre Du­ratec Ti-VCT en­gine, fol­lowed by the main­stay 2.0-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion petrol and a 2.0-litre Du­ra­torq TDCi com­mon rail turbo diesel.

A hot turbo petrol ST ver­sion is due next year.

Driven by Cars­guide with the 2.0-litre petrol en­gine and sixspeed dual clutch au­to­matic in Los An­ge­les ear­lier this year, the new Fo­cus is ap­pre­cia­bly more re­fined and up­mar­ket than the out­go­ing car, a smart­driv­ing but com­par­a­tively crude South African-built re­la­tion to the Mazda3. Up­scale ver­sions get Ford’s multi- me­dia Hu­man Ma­chine In­ter­face, Ac­tive Park As­sist, cruise con­trol with Ad­justable Speed Lim­it­ing De­vice (ASLD), key­less en­try with push-but­ton start and Adap­tive Cruise Con­trol. All vari­ants get the Torque Vec­tor­ing Con­trol sys­tem, which elec­tron­i­cally sim­u­lates a lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial. In the Hol­ly­wood Hills, we found this helps to make the Fo­cus an ex­cep­tion­ally tidy han­dler.

Ford Aus­tralia spokesman Justin Lacey said fi­nal prices would be re­leased in July but said they would not

‘‘ move mas­sively’’ on the cur­rent model, which starts at $21,990.

Ford Aus­tralia pres­i­dent and CEO Bob Graziano said the Fo­cus had more affordable tech­nolo­gies and fea­tures than the com­pany had pre­vi­ously fit­ted in this sec­tor. ‘‘ In ev­ery world mar­ket where Fo­cus com­petes, cus­tomers are look­ing for ex­pres­sive de­sign, affordable in­no­va­tion, su­pe­rior qual­ity, re­spon­sive per­for­mance and ex­cep­tional fuel econ­omy,’’ he said.

That goes dou­ble for Aus­tralia. This year the sta­ple Fal­con dropped out of the top 10 for the first time and in some months was nearly out­sold by the Fi­esta city car.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.