24 Feb 2014

The New Ford Focus - Some Interesting Details

The 2014 Ford Focus has just been announced.  It's quite an important car for Ford, the previous generations having sold 12 million units worldwide since 1998, and will be on sale later this year.  You'll be able to see it at the Geneva Motor Show in a couple of weeks time.

The press release is quite long and lists all of the features and enhancements on the new Focus over the old one.

Driving enthusiasts will be happy that a mainstream car focuses on driving dynamics to such an extent.  The engines on offer include the excellent 1.0 EcoBoost with 125bhp, and a 180bhp 1.5 litre EcoBoost.  There are some diesels too.

The suspension, steering, electronic stability and chassis stiffness have all been improved and tweaked to make the new Focus a better driver's car than the old one - which was pretty good in the first place.

The new Focus is packed to the gills with technology, some of which is helpful to drivers and will make roads safer and some of which is bound to bewilder some drivers.

The Focus will get Ford's MyKey technology.  In essence this means if your children use the car then they have their own key.  This key can be programmed to control various aspects of the car, for example it can limit the volume of the audio system, limit the top speed and prevent the stability control being turned off.

The car gets the latest lighting technology including Bi-Xenon HID headlights which adapt to the surrounding conditions to shine as much light as possible on the road without blinding other drivers.

The sheer amount of safety and info tech is of Volvo proportions.  The Focus gets Ford's SYNC-2 system with a new satnav and voice controls, although in my experience voice controls rarely work properly and in the long term sensibly placed buttons do a better job.

The Focus will be able to parallel park by itself, and will use aids to help reversing into spaces.  Neither of these are particularly useful in the real world but a few other aids are genuinely useful.  Cross Traffic Alert is used when reversing out of a parking space and warns the driver of approaching hazards.  Also, Park-Out Assist takes control of the steering whilst the driver is manoeuvring out of a parallel parking space.  This is useful for people who are unable to judge distance and speed.

The Focus will be able to brake itself at low and high speed should the need arise.  Using similar technology the car has adaptive cruise control and, if the ACC is not engaged, it can still detect, warn and brake itself if the traffic ahead has slowed but the driver hasn't responded.

If a manufacturer is to sell a mainstream car to a worldwide market it has to include the latest safety and entertainment kit.  The Focus has a decent balance of the latest technology even if a lot of it will go unused.

By Matt Hubbard