WHAT’S NEW

Mercury (Hobart) - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE -

PRICE Start­ing money is $25,990 plus on-road costs for Trend grade, an in­crease of $1600 on the pre­vi­ous model. The VW Golf 110TSI Trend­line is $27,490 and Toy­ota Corolla As­cent Sport is $24,370.

TECH Stan­dard safety spec in­cludes AEB and lane keep as­sist. Blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, rear cross traf­fic alert and adap­tive cruise are bun­dled into an op­tional Driver As­sis­tance Pack, at $1250, on Trend and ST Line.

PER­FOR­MANCE The 1.5-litre turbo triple pro­duces sim­i­lar num­bers to its four-cylin­der pre­de­ces­sor but the new eight-speed auto, re­plac­ing a six-speeder, gives it stronger ac­cel­er­a­tion and more re­fined cruis­ing. Fuel con­sump­tion rises slightly and it re­quires pre­mium.

DRIV­ING Ford has taken the low-cost rear sus­pen­sion op­tion. A tor­sion beam re­places the pre­vi­ous model’s in­de­pen­dent set-up, bring­ing the Fo­cus back to the pack in terms of han­dling. Stiff springs make the ride a bit too firm for an ev­ery­day drive.

DE­SIGN New ST-Line vari­ant looks pukka sporty. This fourth-gen­er­a­tion body is now one of the most spa­cious in the class. The dash looks like some­thing out of a 10-year-old model.

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