Focus grows space in new style package

by Michael Moroney

Ford has given a new shape to the Focus, its best-selling car on the Irish market.
The new car is claimed to be more spacious than before coupled with a more modern interior design, to reflect a significant upgrade in both style and comfort.

The designers at Ford have been cautious in terms of changes to exterior design of the new car. In reality, it’s marginally longer on the outside, with a longer wheelbase, that allowed them to add a little more interior space. And you’ll probably notice it.

Ford claims that the additional length between the front and rear wheels allows better knee clearance for rear seat passengers. It also says that there’s 6cm more shoulder room in the rear. And there’s extra boot space included in the new model even with a space saver spare wheel included.

On the inside, the more modern dash design stands out clearly. The large central infotainment screen stands proudly high and is very easy to use and see for the driver. This gives a cleaner design to the dash area, adding to the spaciousness feel in the front of the car.

The more open design makes it easy to get into a comfortable driving position. There is good visibility all-round and the controls are well place for easy driving. I was surprised that the car did not have a reversing camera, rather than sensors, which are in themselves effective.

There are two engine options available for the new Focus, with some more to follow. I had the 1.5 litre turbo-diesel in Titanium specification on the road, rated at 120bhp, which is one step above the entry model.

This car was fitted with Ford’s impressive new 8-speed automatic gearbox that can be well recommended. The automatic gearbox control is by means of a rotary dial. It took a little time to get used to its location while out on the road it meant easier driving.

Ford claims a marginal improvement in fuel economy in the new Focus. The engine is slightly loud at low start up revs and then purrs noticeably smoother as you move on.

The fuel economy rating for this Focus is 28km/litre (3.6/100km or 78mpg), which is impressive as it should convert to a driving range of over 1,000km on a full tank. I was well impressed by my test drive experience as I came close to 900km before a re-fill. This is despite the fact that the Focus tank capacity is marginally lower than before.

This car comes with lots of safety equipment and a top performing Euro NCAP safety rating. The driver technology features include a new Stop & Go system for driving in stop start traffic, a new speed sign recognition system and a lane departure warning system.

Entry prices for the diesel engine versions start at €26,800. Moving from a manual gearbox to this new 8-speed Ford automatic requires about a €2,000 price jump that’s probably more competitive than some other brands.

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