Well, here we go again, with another new car from Ford, but this time, possibly the most important in years. This time, they have tried to improve on what was an already excellent machine, the Ford Focus. So, just how good is the fourth generation of Ford Focus? The model I am reviewing is the ST-Line, 1.5 TDCi, 120PS 5dr hatchback but is also available in Fords Economical 1.0 Ecoboost 125PS engine and if you choose automatic, then the 1.5 EcoBlue 120PS engine will be available.
Let’s deal with the exterior looks first. The front grill is the first thing you notice. The honeycombed grill seems larger and more pronounced, and each model in the new line up gets their own grill design. Sitting on a completely redesigned bumper with the new headlights that appear deeper and flow into the front wings but are also brighter than the outgoing model and Ford have added the option cornering lights with auto high beam, for better night vision and safety.
Working your way down the side of the car, it sits on very sporty 17” alloy wheels and side skirts that run along the bottom. At the rear, you have the roof spoiler that is not too large as to place you in the boy racer category and as you start to look down, Ford have added the word “FOCUS” in chrome letters running along the boot just below the rear window and even on the sporty ST-Line, this adds a touch of class to the car. At the bottom, you have twin exhaust pipes that sit within a rear diffuser. The word that instantly comes to mind when you view the exterior of the new Focus, is aerodynamic. It is just beautifully sculpted.
The new Focus does appear to be a little bigger and this is because there is an additional 53MM between the front and rear tyres which gives the passengers some added space inside. The body is 20% stiffer which increases the cars crash protection significantly and adds to driveability All in all, the New Focus ST-Line looks simply gorgeous. It is a striking machine from any angle and just pleasant on the eye. Now to the interior.
The interior of the all new Ford Focus ST-Line does appear to be of a very high standard. It has been designed to be minimalistic, functional and attractive at the same time. The soft touch materials feel very tactile and the new touch screen is simple to use. Two tiny improvements of note to me was there is a small padded area on the centre console for your knee to rest whilst driving, which I found a great idea, and, in the door bin, they have covered the inside in felt to stop things rolling around whilst driving.
In the rear, there is where you will find that extra 53MM of internal space. The Focus has class leading rear legroom so much so, it feels like you are in a limo instead of a hatchback. The gearbox is assured and comes in either 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. Ford have also brought the new Focus into the new technological age with the addition of “Fordpass”. Your car is literally turned into a wi-fi hotspot and when the app is downloaded, you can remotely connect to your new car. You can remotely lock or unlock your car from the app, turn on the engine, (Automatic only) and you can find your car remotely which if you have ever parked your car at the airport, will be a massive benefit.
The new Focus has an array of new advanced safety features available, like, Ford Co-Pilot 360, adaptive cruise control with stop & go, lane centring, and active park assist 2. The Focus always had comfortable seats, but the new half leather seats in the ST-Line, with their red stitching seem to take comfort in a family hatchback to an all-time high. Very supportive and like all the other internal materials, made to a very high quality indeed. When Ford first introduced the Focus in 1988, no one expected it to sell in the numbers it did. Due to the ride and build quality and affordability when compared to its competitors, it was a runaway success. So, the third generation was already an excellent car to drive, let’s see how the new car compares.
I set off in search of hills and bends as I wanted to stretch the new addition to the Ford stable. It may just be me, but I am convinced that the engine is slightly quieter which is no mean feat as the last ST-Line was not noisy. Pick up was as expected with the 120 horses the St-Line has, but I felt as if the car got there with less fuss. My first series of bends and I had a smile on my face. The car took them in its stride and held the road as if it were on rails. I was enjoying this. Ford have somehow managed to make this car so much better than the outgoing model. You feel so connected to the road and although you are in a sporty version of the Focus, it’s not a hard ride by any stretch of the imagination. After about 15KM, I was hooked. Customers are going to love the new Ford Focus and the key to selling them in the same volume as previous generations, if not more, will be to simply get them to drive one. This car is great, it drives superb and looks the business. Initially you will be able to get your hands on either a Zetec model, Titanium or the St-Line with the Vignale due later and there will even be an Active version. Your options for each model will be 5 door or an estate version. I would also expect an ST version, possibly next year and if this ST-Line is anything to go by, that, will be a proper sports car. So, there will be a Focus for every customer.
Conclusion, the all new Focus is a completely redesigned vehicle and in my humble opinion, they have knocked it out of the park. Ford have set the benchmark yet again in the medium family car sector. I am going to stick my neck out and say on record that the all new Focus may well be car of the year next year. It’s one of those cars that genuinely sells itself when driven. In a nutshell, Ford have delivered. Thank you for taking the time to read yet another car review by James Mc Vicker, Sales Manager, Barlo Motors in Thurles.