Grown-up Fo­cus has Golf in sight

OFFICIAL We get un­der the skin of Ford’s new hope in the com­pact hatch­back class

Auto Express - - Con­tents - James_­batch­e­lor@den­ @Jr­rbatch­e­lor James Batch­e­lor

Ford re­boots the Fo­cus Bril­liant new fam­ily car re­vealed 20 years af­ter the orig­i­nal

“Fo­cus has been over­hauled with a brand-new look, more tech and trim op­tions than ever”

New fourth-gen­er­a­tion fam­ily car range re­vealed in full Sharp de­sign, lat­est tech aim to re­turn it to top of class

MEET the new Ford Fo­cus. One of Bri­tain’s favourite fam­ily hatch­backs has been over­hauled for 2018 to co­in­cide with the Fo­cus’s 20th an­niver­sary. It’s got a brand-new look, more tech and toys, and more trim op­tions than ever be­fore.

With Volk­swa­gen nab­bing sec­ond place in the UK’S new car reg­is­tra­tion ta­bles last year, and ar­rivals such as the Kia Ceed and Toy­ota Auris just around the cor­ner, Ford’s out­go­ing Fo­cus was fall­ing be­hind the times. As a re­sult, the firm has re­tal­i­ated with the fourth-gen­er­a­tion Fo­cus, which ar­rives in the sum­mer with prices from around £20,500.

Take a quick glance at the new Fo­cus, and you’d be for­given for think­ing this isn’t the clean-sheet de­sign Ford claims. From the nose there’s a clear look of the old car, but stare harder and you re­alise it’s more than just a clever re­boot.

“Pro­por­tion­ally the Fo­cus has ma­tured a lot,” de­sign man­ager Jor­dan Ben­nett told Auto Ex­press. “The cabin sits a lot fur­ther back com­pared to the old car and the A-pil­lars are slanted back­wards.

“Add in the longer bon­net and there’s a more pow­er­ful look,” he said. “This is en­hanced on the high-spec cars; if you go for a Fo­cus with larger wheels, it eats up more sheet metal, al­low­ing the car to sit bet­ter. The Fo­cus is now lower and wider than be­fore; we have been able to achieve all the good met­rics of car de­sign while of­fer­ing more space.”

Along the sides, that clean-sheet men­tal­ity is more ev­i­dent. “With this car we re­ally wanted to move on the de­sign lan­guage,” said Ben­nett. “The pre­vi­ous car was styled un­der our Ki­netic de­sign in­flu­ence, whereas this lan­guage is much more athletic.

“We’ve played around with con­cave shapes, mov­ing into re­ally very crisp lines. The theme of the car is sim­ple – there’s one line from the bumper that stretches back and dis­ap­pears into the rear door. We’ve tried to repli­cate a tra­di­tional sports car with its squat stance and pounc­ing rear haunches.”

Look at the new Fo­cus from the rear, and there are shades of BMW 1 Se­ries in its stance – and in­deed some Mercedes A-class in the di­men­sions and looks. The Fo­cus badg­ing has been re­placed with chrome let­ters spaced out across the bootlid. “It’s more pre­mium than be­fore,” said Ben­nett, “and spac­ing the let­ters out helps give that look. We’re also very proud of the Fo­cus name.”

Ford still recog­nises how the orig­i­nal Fo­cus was not only a trend set­ter for hatch­back de­sign in the new mil­len­nium, but also how it helped trans­form the firm into what it is to­day. It was a car that killed off the dark cost-sav­ing days rep­re­sented by the Mk5 Es­cort, wel­com­ing in a new, more dar­ing brand iden­tity.

Since then, Ford has shifted two mil­lion Fo­cus mod­els in the UK and seven mil­lion in Europe. Launch­ing on the 20th an­niver­sary of the Fo­cus name comes steeped with pres­sure, how­ever.

“We even con­tem­plated repli­cat­ing the orig­i­nal Fo­cus’s fa­mous high-set tail-lights on this new car,” re­vealed Ben­nett. “It got pretty far down the line, but we even­tu­ally set­tled for this de­sign.”

While the de­sign looks noth­ing like the orig­i­nal Fo­cus, then, un­der the

SIZE MAT­TERS New Fo­cus is larger in every di­rec­tion, and spaced let­ters on bootlid are de­signed as an up­mar­ket touch

SPACE Long wheel­base adds more room in the back, plus LED head­lights are of­fered NEW STYLE Fo­cus Mk4 is dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent from pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, and this St-line car adds a sporty sig­na­ture

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