Ford’s Focus is on desirability

By Declan Glynn

by Gazette Reporter
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The Ford Focus has been one of Ireland’s favourite cars since its launch way back in 1998, and it has been seen as one of the benchmark cars in its class ever since.

However, over the last number of years, the Focus and its family hatchback competitors have faced a serious challenge, as SUV’s have become the order-of-the-day for many buyers.

Recent Upgrades

The fourth generation of the Focus was launched in 2019, and has recently received mid-life upgrades in order to keep it fresh in the face of strong competition. The latest iteration of the Focus reaps the benefit of improvements in interior quality, rear leg room, boot space and on-board tech, along with exterior styling tweaks that include the relocation of the Ford ‘blue oval’ badge from the bonnet tip to the centre of the large upper front grille. The new Focus introduces Ford’s next-generation SYNC 4 technology to greater numbers of customers than ever before, enabling cloud-connected navigation and connected voice control with natural language understanding. SYNC 4 is supported by an all-new, largest-in-segment 13.2” landscape centre screen with an intuitive interface designed to make it effortless to navigate a comprehensive range of driving and comfort features. The technology also allows ‘Ford Power-Up’ wireless software updates to improve functionality over time.

Trim & Transmission Options

The new Focus is available in a choice of six trim levels – Titanium, Titanium X, Active, Active X, ST-Line, and ST-Line X – all of which are offered with a choice of petrol, mild-hybrid or diesel powerplants, along with the option of manual or automatic transmissions. The 1-litre petrol (EcoBoost) engine with 125PS comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the same engine with mild-hybrid technology is combined with a 7-speed PowerShift (automatic) transmission. The final option is a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel (EcoBlue) engine with 115PS which is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Key standard equipment across all trim levels include: stylish alloy wheels, LED headlamps with LED daytime-running lights, LED rear lights, Quickclear heated windscreen, selectable drive modes, dual-zone electronic temperature control, Ford SYNC 4 Navigation with a 13.2” touchscreen, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, FordPass Connect, embedded voice control, Emergency Assistance, keyless entry & start, cruise control with adaptive speed limiter, front & rear parking sensors, Thatcham alarm with power door dead locks, Pre-Collision Assist with Autonomous Emergency Braking and Pedestrian/Cyclist detection, along with Lane-Keeping Aid with Lane-Keeping Assist.

Car on Review

My review car was a Focus ST-Line X EcoBoost 125PS Hatchback, which was fitted with a six-speed manual transmission. The ST-Line and ST-Line X model variants are set apart from their Titanium and Active siblings by way of a unique ST-Line front grille, full body-styling kit, large body-coloured rear spoiler, and striking 18” ST-Line alloy wheels, along with exclusive ST-Line exterior badging. The 1-litre EcoBoost petrol engine performs its duties with great refinement, while road noise is well suppressed for admirable levels of peace and quiet on the move. The Focus’s EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol engine has a system that effectively shuts down one cylinder when driving at a cruising speed in order to improve efficiency, and

this contributes to a claimed fuel consumption figure of up to 52.3mpg (5.4l/100km) on a combined driving cycle (WLTP). The six-speed manual gearbox shifts through the gears with great precision, and it is a joy to use in everyday life. It is super-easy to get comfortable behind the wheel of the new Focus, with plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustments on offer. The high quality dashboard is dominated by a large infotainment display that houses the air-con and heating controls at the bottom of the screen, and it certainly provides the car with an upmarket look and feel. Overall cabin space is excellent too, with plenty of room in both the front and rear, while the cars’ 391-litre boot capacity can be expanded by dropping the split-folding rear seat backs where necessary. The lower and stiffer suspension in the Focus ST-Line and ST-Line X results in sharp handling and minimal body lean through corners, and terrific agility in all situations. All Focus model variants possess quick steering that feels suitably light in urban areas, but it gains a weighty feeling at higher speeds to provide the driver with more information from the front wheels.

Pricing

Ford has done a magnificent job in making the latest Focus the most desirable yet. The new Focus is a thoroughly enjoyable drivers’ car in every way, and it is still the benchmark in the family hatchback market segment. For buyers looking for even more practicality than the hatchback has to offer, the Focus is also available in a five-door estate body style with engine and trim options that mirror those of the hatchback.

The new Ford Focus is priced from €32,540 and is on sale now.

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