The Ford Focus has been renowned as a small family car which entered the market first in Europe starting the year 1998, and then going global in February 2000, with its own model for North America in production until late 2010. A second generation was launched in Europe in January 2005, receiving styling and engineering updates in January 2008.
It comes on the following transmissions variations; 5-speed manual, 6-speed manual and 4-speed automatic. Asked to criticize this beauty, a few would have anything meaningful to say, because it was designed to silence critics and stamp the authority Ford has enjoyed over the years.
The new Focus is launched in SA with two body shapes, and three engines and specification levels; a hatchback and sedan variant offered with either 1.6 or two-litre petrol engines and a diesel option for the three-box.
In terms of design, the third generation Focus has completely changed when compared with its predecessor. At the front the new model sports an assertive “grinning” grille and new wrap-around headlights. This adds massive sporty appeal to the vehicle even in sedate sedan guise. At the rear the styling is rather tame, at least in the sedan version.
The hatchback sports a new rear spoiler which gives it way more sporty appeal over the sedan. At first glance you may see a little Hyundai iX35 at the rear... which isn’t a bad thing. I’ve also heard the words "Corolla" and "Cee’d" floating around when referring to the design...
Fuel economy on the hatchback is rated at a claimed 5.9 litres/100km (1.6) and 6.7litres/100km (2.0). Fuel consumption figures for the sedan is rated at a claimed 6.0litres/100km for the 1.6 engine and 6.4litres/100km for the petrol 2.0 GDi.
The fuel economy is much lower on the diesel auto compared to the petrol 2.0, with a claimed fuel consumption of 5.3litres/100km. If you’re really keen on saving yourself trips to the filling station, you could probably consider the 2.0 TDCi; we managed to achieve a fuel economy of 5 litres/100km, but then again we weren’t trying to get to work on time.
On the road, it feels a lot like Volkwagen’s Golf, though a lot more refined compared to the model it replaces. The ride is great, being a lot more comfortable and forgiving compared to the outgoing model and in terms of handling it reacts with a gentle shrug to your every attempt to be a lunatic behind the wheel.
In the cabin, the Fiesta influence can be seen right away especially with the cloned dials and centre console. The funky four-spoked steering wheel is a great touch as well as the styling on the auto 'box. Ample head and leg room, intuitive controls and a boot that’s capable of swallowing any luggage load are all traits of a great family car. The Focus hatchback has nearly 60 litres less boot space compared to the Volkswagen Golf, but at 316 litres it’s still pretty ample.
The 2.0 Sport hatchback’s interior is quite different from the “busy” Fiesta-inspired design and personally I think it’s a lot better as the piano-black finishes are just the icing on an already great interior design
Is there an ST version in the works? Well Ford remains tight lipped on a sportier Focus, though we will see a Fiesta ST model unveiled in 2012.
As far as competition goes the new Focus hatchback will have to face-up against VW’s Golf, Opel’s Astra, Citroen's C4, Toyota's AurisX and Honda’s Civic. The sedan will have to contend with Honda’s Civic sedan, Toyota's Corolla and VW's Jetta.
The Focus is offered with a five-year or 90 000km service plan, with 20 000km service intervals