This mid-life replace for the Focus isn’t dramatic, however the delicate styling adjustments on the surface are complemented by an enormous increase to the in-car tech. It’s simply as sharp to drive as ever, and there’s loads of area inside, too. Nonetheless, with many rivals providing some important type of electrification – be it full EV or plug-in hybrid – Ford’s mild-hybrid set-ups are prone to leaving the Focus behind the competitors.
The Ford Focus is quick approaching its twenty fifth anniversary, and ever for the reason that radical first Focus hit the highway, few different fashions have so persistently delivered such a powerful all-round package deal within the household automotive phase.
With SUVs stealing gross sales from conventional compact hatchbacks, the fourth-generation mannequin hasn’t fairly hit the identical degree of recognition as its predecessors, nevertheless it stays a key participant in Ford’s vary. Now, the present Focus has been handled to a mid-life replace that features adjustments to the styling, inside and powertrain line-up.
From the surface, it’s the entrance finish that receives probably the most important updates. The Ford brand has grown and strikes from the tip of the nostril to the centre of a redesigned grille. It’s flanked by new lights, that are slimmer than earlier than. These not solely get a brand new LED daytime operating graphic, but additionally home the foglights, which frees up area beneath for a cleaner bumper design.
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The adjustments elsewhere are a little bit extra delicate, however the again finish will get refreshed tail-lights, and the alloy wheel designs are all new. Every trim degree will get its personal distinctive look, with distinct grille shapes and finishes.
The mannequin line-up itself has been revised, too. The earlier range-topping Vignale is now a extra luxurious add-on pack for the core trims: Titanium, sporty ST-Line and off-road impressed Energetic, plus there’s entry-level Development spec.
The adjustments on the surface are principally beauty, however the Focus’s cabin advantages from a complete tech improve. The centrepiece is an enormous new infotainment display screen operating new Sync 4 software program; Ford says that the 13.2-inch show is the largest within the class. Loading occasions have considerably improved, and the big icons and clear graphics make it a doddle to make use of.
Even the on-screen heating and air flow controls – one thing we regularly criticise in different automobiles for poor usability – are among the many greatest round. Wi-fi performance covers not solely Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but additionally permits over-the-air updates. All in, the brand new set-up strikes the Focus’s in-car tech from an also-ran to a class-leader.
The impression from the again seats hasn’t actually modified. The Focus stays in direction of the roomy finish of the phase – not on a par with the cavernous Skoda Octavia, however higher than key competitors such because the Volkswagen Golf and new Vauxhall Astra.
Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine household has been additional electrified on this refreshed iteration of the Focus, with a brand new seven-speed computerized gearbox now mixed with the 48-volt gentle hybrid expertise.
Right here, it’s in its most potent kind, producing 153bhp. That feels like loads on paper, however in actuality it feels a little bit weak when put next with engines of an identical output that characteristic within the VW Golf and Citroen C4. That’s as a result of it’s down on torque; at 190Nm, the Focus has 50Nm lower than the C4 PureTech 155, and is 60Nm behind the VW.
A diesel possibility stays – the 1.5-litre EcoBlue unit makes 118bhp and returns a claimed 56.5mpg – however what the Focus lacks is any important electrical help throughout the vary. Gentle-hybrid tech means the stop-start system is raring to activate at low speeds, however when the competitors consists of fashions such because the full-hybrid Toyota Corolla, plug-in hybrids from the VW Group and Stellantis, and even absolutely electrical choices just like the VW ID.3 and Citroen e-C4, the Focus actually wants a tax-busting powertrain to assist it compete.
Whereas the engine line-up is in want of a much bigger increase, nothing must be carried out in regards to the automotive’s chassis. The Focus stays one of many few on a regular basis household automobiles that’s enjoyable and interesting to drive, with sharp but properly weighted steering, and a entrance finish that turns in very keenly and affords up loads of grip.
You would possibly count on a ‘however’ arising, with this eager dealing with coming on the expense of journey consolation, but that isn’t the case. Sure, it’s a little bit firmer over bumps than some rivals, nevertheless it by no means feels harsh, and thumps and crashes are properly remoted from the cabin. It’s not fairly as refined as a Peugeot 308 on this space – and there’s a little bit extra wind and highway noise at increased speeds – however as an total package deal the Ford’s chassis set-up nonetheless impresses.
The on-board security tech has additionally been given a kick into 2022. Not solely are these headlights of a brand new design, the optionally available matrix LED system that was fitted to our automotive options what Ford calls “Dynamic Pixel” tech. This brings an adaptive excessive beam to cut back dazzle for oncoming drivers, a dynamic bending operate that goals mild right into a nook, and bad- climate tech, which adjustments the beam sample in wet climate to cut back glare. It’s a £950 possibility.
Elsewhere, the Focus good points optionally available blind-spot help, which not solely scans for autos, however may actively steer to keep away from them if crucial. This £400 additional can be adjusted to consider if a trailer is being towed.
Costs for the most recent Focus begin from £22,965 for the Development with the 123bhp 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and a guide gearbox. The 153bhp ST-Line Vignale involves £28,625, however with choices that embrace these matrix LED lights, the modestly titled “Implausible Crimson” paint (£825) and a head-up show (£400) amongst others, the automotive right here involves £32,225.
|Mannequin:||Ford Focus EcoBoost mHev ST Line Vignale|
|Engine:||1.0-litre 3cyl turbo MHEV|
|Transmission:||Six-speed guide, front-wheel drive|
|Economic system/ CO2:||52.3mpg/121g/km|