FORD’s brand new Focus – just unveiled today – has joined the ‘crossover club’.
Among its line up of more conventional variants is a new Active crossover version based on the 5dr hatch.
The Focus Active is more a nod to Crossover than real-time SUV but it does have better ground clearance (30mm+), protective black-wheel-arch and rocker claddings, front/rear skid plates and its own front end design to let it look the part.
No doubt the level of demand for such a model was reflected in the extensive research the company carried out before it built the range from the ground up.
That’s why they are claiming – with unashamed hyperbolic fervour – that the new car introduces “a new human-centric design philosophy that fuses emotional exterior styling with class-leading aerodynamics”. Seriously.
Basically they’re saying the car will be even more about occupants than before. But the current one must be doing something right. It has been popular with Irish buyers for years and regularly features in the Top 10 best sellers. Up to now more than 16 million people around the world have bought a Focus since it was first introduced in 1998.
It is the first car globally to be based on Ford’s new C2 platform. The 5dr version is due here in August with other variants, including an estate, 4dr, Active and ST to follow.
Overall, it’s a more substantial, mature looking car – it could never be the dramatic departure its 1998 forefather was compared with the old Escort.
The front pillars are pushed back a bit for a more coupe look so there is a noticeably longer bonnet and strong front end. The wheelbase is up 53mm and there are short overhangs to highlight a sense of strength. They are also claiming a more spacious cabin, front and back. By the way the estate cargo area can comfortably accommodate a dog crate.
Engines include 1-litre EcoBoost and 1.5-litre petrols (including the first production-car cylinder deactivation of a 3cyl). There will also be 1.5-litre and 2-litre diesels as well as a new 8spd automatic transmission.
The 1-litre EcoBoost petrol comes with 85PS, 100PS and 125PS outputs while the 1.5-litre EcoBoost pumps 150PS and 182PS.
They expect the 5dr 1-litre EcoBoost will have emissions of 107 g/km with the 1.5-litre EcoBoost starting from 122 g/km or thereabouts.
The 1.5-litre diesel comes in 95PS and 120PS guise with emissions as lows as 91g/km for the 5dr. The 2-litre diesel (150PS) starts from an anticipated 112 g/km.
Standard on most will be the 6spd manual transmission. They claim a 10pc cut in emissions across the range.
Trim levels include Trend and Titanium, ST-Line, Vignale etc.
It is impossible at this remove to gauge what will be standard, trim specific or optional.
But among items on board, depending on your choice, will be a FordPass Connect embedded modem for connectivity on the move, a wireless charging pad, SYNC 3 with 8ins touchscreen etc. The wi-fi hotspot (up to 4G) includes complimentary wireless data trial expires after three months or when 3GB of data are used. After that you need a subscription to Vodafone.
Other items on the menu include: a first head-up display for a Ford model in Europe; Active Park Assist 2, Drive Modes, Continuously Controlled Damping, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop and Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring.
You can also go for Adaptive Front Lighting or Evasive Steering Assist – all self explanatory but likely to be on the more expensive models.
*They anticipate a five-star safety rating for the new car.
*Normal, Sport and Eco driving modes make their debut in a Focus.
*The new B&O PLAY 675 sound watt system has 10 speakers.
The Focus sure has shifted a lot in 20 years.