The compact car with global ambitions
In the world of compact hatches and sedans, many brands pile on the tech with each new generation to bridge the gap between affordability and luxury. But along with luxury, these cars also need to be enjoyable to drive, practical to wield daily, and ultimately, all things to all people. When it comes to being the jacks of all trades, the compact hatch and sedan reign supreme. Ford has known this for decades, and has produced phenomenal compacts for generations as a result.
Even the recent Ford Focus has been exceptional – being one of the most involving and enjoyable driver’s compacts for quite some time, at least until the latest generation Honda Civic came along to unseat it. But we’ve now been graced with a new Ford Focus, the fourth generation of the nameplate. Due for a release in the United States in 2019, we take a look at the all-new Focus to provide you with ten key pieces of information you need to know before the new model debuts locally.
Ford has been known to somewhat recycle platforms when it comes time for new releases, heavily revising existing models to reduce development costs. It’s not a bad thing, either, as their platforms tend to be pretty decent bases, with only the finishes tending to age. But the new Focus has been developed from the wheels up as a new model, with specific attention paid to the desires and needs of buyers around the globe, as this will also be a global model.
The Ford Focus has been designed in a manner that looks bigger outside, whilst still retaining the same dimensions as the outgoing model. However, in the engineering process, Ford has ensured that the interior of the Focus has grown to accommodate the desires for more spacious cabins that buyers have been yearning for. Ford claims increases of 2.4 inches extra shoulder room, and 2.8-inches extra leg room for rear occupants
That might sound like a bad thing, but globally, the previous Focus was offered in an astounding 360 configurations. With the new model, Ford has reduced that to just 26 – but in doing so have reduced costs, and have increased their ability to manage quality control. Ford also cites that the reduced number of configurations means buyers are more easily able to find the exact model configuration that best suits their needs. Bear in mind that the 26 variants is spread across three body styles – sedan, hatchback, and station wagon, so the amount of US-specific variants is likely to be far less than that number when it does arrive.
A new suite of technology for the new Focus, dubbed Co-Pilot360, incorporates a range of driver safety aids and assistance systems. These include adaptive cruise control; complete with speed sign recognition, stop & go, and lane centering; a new Adaptive Front Lighting System, with a new camera-based curve prediction system that will also pre-emptively illuminate traffic signs. A new active park assist function will, for the first time, incorporate gear selection for even more autonomy, while Evasive Steering Assist will be a segment first that automatically helps drivers avoid stopped or slower vehicles.
By 2020, Ford wants 90% of its new vehicles to be equipped with an internet connection. To that end, the new Focus includes FordPass Connect embedded modem technology, to allow up to 10 devices to connect to the car’s WiFi hotspot. This system is expected to be standard in select US models, but will be prioritized for the USDM market.
The new Focus is connected in more ways than just one. Live Traffic updates ease use of the navigation system, but FordPass Connect also allows owners to locate their vehicle through a mobile app, check fuel levels, oil life, alarm status and more through the same app, and even remotely lock and unlock the vehicle by mobile phone, as well as start the Focus remotely. There’s also wireless device charging inside.
It’s not new to Ford, but to the Focus, the SYNC3 infotainment system is a massively important feature, and a massively improved one over the previous generation. The 8-inch color touch screen system is operable via smartphone-like pinch and swipe maneuvers, and the system is fully compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. SYNC3 also allows the driver to control all basic functionality, including telephony, radio, navigation, and climate control via voice controls.
Internationally, Ford offers 3 main engine derivatives: the 1.0-liter turbo 3 cylinder EcoBoost engine, 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine, and 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel. The first and last of those three are unlikely to surface Stateside, so expect the 1.5-liter turbo 4 cylinder to provide the main urge in the US. A new 8-speed automatic gearbox will be available for the first time, with a system that learns your driving style to preempt shift patterns.
While there aren’t yet any official details, it has been suggested that the hot Ford Focus ST will be receiving a downsized 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. Despite losing half a liter in displacement, the new engine is expected to generate even more power than the current 2.0-liter engine.
In much the same way as the Focus ST’s details are mere rumors, so are the ones surrounding the Focus RS. However, the overriding notion is that Ford will be equipping the Focus RS with a 48-volt electric system for a mild hybrid performance boost to ramp up the performance. Expect all-wheel drive to remain, as well as the hugely popular drift mode – just with more power and less lag.