Ford brings big changes to facelifted Focus
Ford has released some details of what we can expect from the facelifted Focus, due in SA later this year, and unlike a normal facelift, the changes comprise more than just a new headlight cluster.
Until the seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf came along, the Focus was considered the best handling car in its segment, and because the family hatchback attracted an impressive tally of sales, some considered it one of the best handling cars at an affordable price point.
But with the introduction of the brilliant Golf 7, the Focus’ crown has slipped to its German competition.
So with the imminent launch of the Focus facelift, Ford has taken the time to have another look at the suspension and chassis of the car, and it would seem that it’s on a mission to take back its title.
For starters, many of the underlying components that influence the car’s handling have been changed. The dampers have been replaced with a higher quality component that allows for greater body control, while stiffer bushes have been fitted both front and rear.
Ford has also reconfigured the electric power steering to give the Focus a more intuitive feel and the car’s driver aids have been recalibrated to allow for more subtle intervention.
This wouldn’t be a facelift if there were no changes to the Focus’ exterior, so the new version will also be brought in line with the Blue Oval’s latest corporate DNA. Strong styling cues will be inherited from the Fiesta, including the gapping front grille and sleeker headlights.
A new 1,5-litre EcoBoost engine will be available in a choice of either 110 or 132 kW versions, both very similar to what is on offer from the Volkswagen TSI engine.
Ford has also listened to its customers and drastically reduced the amount of switchgear on the Focus’ dash. A new touch screen will instead drive the car’s many functions, including Sync II, which will cater for Bluetooth and media connectivity.
Nothing has been mentioned regarding the ST model, but we’re assuming that the vanilla Focus’ handling enhancements will be carried over to the hotter ST. It is unlikely that a power hike will be included, as Ford did not change the output of the previous Focus ST throughout its lifecycle. Besides, at 184 kW the Focus ST is still one of the most powerful cars in its class.