Grown-up Focus has Golf in sight
OFFICIAL We get under the skin of Ford’s new hope in the compact hatchback class
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