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Ford's Focus sedan gets a stylish makeover

The hatchback is once again in the lineup

The Focus' swanky new interior
Ford is gunning to gain more ground in the small car segment

Ford today unveiled its next generation Ford Focus global platform.  With the new Focus, Ford is hoping to seize more of compact car market (known as the "C segment" outside the U.S.) from competing models like the Honda Civic, Chevy Cobalt, and Toyota Corolla.

The foundation of the new platform is technological innovation.  The new global platform Ford Focus will receive the company's EcoBoost four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection (DI) engines.  European customers will have the option of getting either a 1.6-liter EcoBoost gas engine or an improved Duratorq TDCi common-rail diesel engine.  U.S. customers won't get the diesel, but they will get a 2.0-liter EcoBoost gas engine that features DI and Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT).  The new engines should provide a bit more horsepower (the 2.0-liter North American engine adds an extra 20 hp compared to its predecessor).  They also should provide 10 to 20 percent gains in fuel economy (a bit over 10 percent, in the North American engine's case).

The North American Focus will also get Ford's new dual-clutch six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission.  The new transmission offers additional fuel economy savings of about 9 percent.  It replaces the manual parts -- torque converters, planetary gears and oil pumps -- found in standard automatics, with a more efficient system that electrically controls the clutch.

The new Focus also may be the first non-hybrid auto to get stop-start technology in the U.S., according to AutoBlog.  This technology allows the vehicle to shut off the engine when stopped, saving fuel, particularly in urban settings.  Ford is targeting a 40+ mpg fuel economy with the stock variant, similar to GM's Chevy Cruze, a key competitor.

A new Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system has also been added, which Ford says will offer "pure and precise responses at high speed."  The new car also gets a new Dynamic Cornering Control system, which Ford says will yield reduced understeer, improved traction and better turn-in.  Together, Ford says these technologies make a vehicle that is both more fun to drive and safer.

Better materials also make the new vehicle safer.  The new vehicle uses steel for 55 percent of the body shell and ultra-high strength and Boron steels in 26 percent of the vehicle’s structure.  Those improvements pay off in cold hard numbers; the new Focus sports a 25 percent greater rigidity than the current North American Focus.

The new Focus will also get Ford's new MyFord Touch infotainment system.  The new system, which we extensively covered at CES 2010, includes a WebKit browser, canned text messaging, voice-commanded climate controls, improved voice commands, smart phone application APIs (including for voice commands), and more.

Ford feels that its new Focus design is also very stylish.  It calls the vehicle's artistic direction "Kinetic Design".  Ford's press release brags, "With its striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the new Focus clearly telegraphs the rewarding driving experience that awaits customers when they take to the road."

The base variety of the new Focus will be offered in hatchback and sedan forms.  It will be accompanied by the European C-Max and Grand C-Max which will be landing in the U.S. sometime in 2011 and fall under the Focus global design platform.

The next generation Ford Focus won't go on sale until the 2012 model year (2011).  Hybrid and battery electric variants should be coming in the 2013 model year (2012) -- Ford has not committed to hard time frames for their launch.  The electric variant is expected to get 80-100 miles on a charge.  At a recent press event, DailyTech spoke with Ford executives, including CEO Alan Mullaly on their upcoming EV and the company's desire to avoid the temperature-related problems of competitor GM's 2011 Chevy Volt EV.



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Looks great
By IvanAndreevich on 1/11/2010 9:02:14 PM , Rating: 3
Looks kind of like a Scion tC, which is not a bad thing at all. Awesome upgrade!




RE: Looks great
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/11/2010 9:05:54 PM , Rating: 5
Scion tC? If you say so...

That being said, I'm kicking myself for not buying Ford stock when it was around $2. They have been on an absolute roll -- all without government assistance.

The Fiesta, the new Focus, the Mustang, the Taurus -- not to mention the Fusion Hybrid -- are all great vehicles and the powertrains are awesome. Dual clutch transmissions, turbocharging spreading from the Fiesta all the way to the F-150 (this is getting the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6).

Sheesh, it's like they can do no wrong these days.


RE: Looks great
By Shig on 1/11/2010 9:12:02 PM , Rating: 3
Great body, Great MPG, Sick Infotainment Center

Sold Ford, Sold.

(The body reminds me a lot of European styling. Renault and Opel especially. Not sure why either).


RE: Looks great
By IvanAndreevich on 1/11/2010 9:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
Because it does look like an Opel Astra too.


RE: Looks great
By Samus on 1/11/2010 10:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sweet, finally a worthy successor to my aging (and I mean aging) 2002 SVT Focus. I've held off buying a new one mostly because the current Focus is ugly and underpowered, the Toyota Matrix XRS can't be had with an AWD+Manual combination (and the AWD is 118HP or something really terrible) and well...I could go on, basically there's no hatchback competition for the SVT Focus and it's a decade-old design. Is it seriously that hard for somebody to market a hot hatch with 200-ish HP in the states?


RE: Looks great
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/11/2010 10:15:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Is it seriously that hard for somebody to market a hot hatch with 200-ish HP in the states?


MazdaSpeed3 -- 260+ hp
VW GTI -- 200 hp

Both are doing quite well in the U.S. market.

As for the Focus, we're supposed to be getting an EcoBoost 2.0-liter with 220+ hp here.


RE: Looks great
By Samus on 1/11/2010 10:27:33 PM , Rating: 1
GTI a hot hatch? R32 maybe. GTI doesn't even have independant suspension, probably why you see so many crashed ;)

I love the Golf TDI, though not very fast, it's a great German car.

And yes, I forgot about the MazdaSpeed3. It's a sweet ride, limited slip and all, but I personally don't fancy the styling. I used to own a 1998 Mazda Protege and it was a very dependable (and slow) car. The MazdaSpeed Protege (2003) was styled amazingly well, with one of the best front ends and coolest decklid spoilers I've ever seen (the tri-wing) but they were horrifically unreliable, landing me with an SVT Focus instead (slightly less horrifically unreliable haha)


RE: Looks great
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/11/2010 10:40:02 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, the VW GTI was the original hot hatch. Don't forget that :)

It's not all about HP. In at least 2 publications, the new MKVI GTI has beat the faster, more powerful second generation MazdaSpeed 3.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparisons/09...

http://blogs.edmunds.com/strategies/2009/12/compar...


RE: Looks great
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/11/2010 10:42:02 PM , Rating: 3
On a side note, the GTI has had an independent suspension since 2003. Where have you been?


RE: Looks great
By Samus on 1/11/2010 10:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure? I thought the IRS was reserved for the R32 (because I know for a fact the 2004 R32 had the Audi TT rear subframe, and the other Golf's did NOT)

And just because its the original, doesn't mean it's still champ :) I'd take an old Escort Cosworth over any GTI!


RE: Looks great
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/11/2010 10:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
You're thinking of the MKIV R32. MKV and MKVI Jettas/Golfs/GTIs have an IRS.


RE: Looks great
By Samus on 1/12/2010 1:47:00 AM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately the R32 only comes here once every four years, and thats about as often as I pay any attention to Volkswagen. And in 2008 you couldn't even order the R32 with a standard manual gearbox (DSG only) but that seems to be the way of Ferdinand Piech; cross-platforming the VAG's drivetrans. Actually I guess it all started with the Phaeton. Anyway, there's no doubting VW's vehicles in terms of overall quality. They're well built (unless they're built in Mexico, where Ford manages better build quality that Vdub) and over-engineered.

A lot of people don't even realize that Volkswagen [Group] is the worlds largest auto manufacturer, not Toyotoa, GM, Ford, etc. But I've never been interested in them because of their roots. I know its a low blow, but I don't want a vehicle built in the same facility that built Type 82 for hauling Jews.


RE: Looks great
By Calin on 1/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Looks great
By Samus on 1/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Looks great
By Mojo the Monkey on 1/12/2010 1:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
unless you're one of the few elite race drivers in the world, and you plan on running through your clutch every 10K miles, you will see better performance when pushing your car with the DSG.


RE: Looks great
By afkrotch on 1/11/2010 10:36:09 PM , Rating: 2
The Toyota FT-86 Concept is being worked on and the Impreza Coupe will come out a little later.

Both will be pretty much the same car, cept the Concept will be RWD and the Impreza will be AWD with more power.

Pics of the FT-86 are out, but won't know if that'll be it's styling when it comes out. The Impreza Coupe isn't near ready yet.


RE: Looks great
By Spoelie on 1/12/2010 5:21:38 AM , Rating: 3
Don't you guys get the focus rs in the states?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Focus_RS#Focus_R...
Don't think there are any "hotter" hatches..

btw, the hatch's styling on the new one does look a lot sportier than the sedan to me.


RE: Looks great
By Spivonious on 1/12/2010 9:31:30 AM , Rating: 2
Sadly, no we don't. We don't even have a Focus hatch right now.


RE: Looks great
By Spuke on 1/12/2010 12:02:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm liking this new Focus. The article doesn't say whether or not the 2.0L DI engine is turbocharged or not.


RE: Looks great
By JBird7986 on 1/13/2010 9:10:31 AM , Rating: 3
Umm...Subaru Impreza Hatchback (WRX if you want power)?


RE: Looks great
By FITCamaro on 1/11/2010 9:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
I have to admit it doesn't look bad.

But electric steering sucks balls. I had it on my 06 Cobalt. Was one of the few things I didn't like about the car. I just don't think it'll last as long and it'll be more expensive to fix if it breaks vs. a standard hydraulic pump.


RE: Looks great
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/11/2010 9:55:09 PM , Rating: 3
If all you can pick on is the electric steering, then I'd say they've got a hit :)

That being said, I don't think electric steering is all that bad in this class -- hell, it was good enough for the Acura NSX and Honda S2000. And electric steering means better fuel economy, less weight, etc. Like anything, it all comes down to implementation.

And power electric steering has been around for over two decades -- you sound like an old man ;) What makes you think it won't last long?

Sucks about the Chevy Cruze though; this Focus just sent it to bed without dinner :)


RE: Looks great
By Samus on 1/11/2010 10:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the steering rack problems that have plagued the Focus series since its incarnation, I'm certainly not gonna complain about it going electric :)

http://forums.focaljet.com/svt-headquarters/524492...

Even SVT owners that have gone synthetic usually get chocolate colored sludge after 30,000 miles. Adding an ADDITIONAL cooler helps, but this is a problem that isn't just limited to the SVT series, either, because the same racks are used between 2000-2007, although the SVT gets special valving which accelerates the fluids decay. Usually by the time the recommended power steering maintenance comes up (60,000 miles SVT, 100,000 miles standard Focus) its too late and the things leaking all over the backside of your transmission.


RE: Looks great
By AstroGuardian on 1/12/2010 2:39:46 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe because Opel has always been Ford's hardest competition and it's teacher also. When Ford joined the European market it followed Opel's steps, used their engines and chassis, transmissions etc.

If you ask me personally i think that all good ideas have been used. All new vehicles look kinda same to me lately... :(


RE: Looks great
By juuvan on 1/12/2010 4:20:11 AM , Rating: 2
care to provide some facts to support your claim? Ford Europe has been selling and designing cars in UK and Germany from the early 50's. Most of which have no resemblance with the Vauxhall and Opel models back to date.


RE: Looks great
By hashish2020 on 1/13/2010 6:53:20 PM , Rating: 2
Because it largely was designed by Ford Europe?

I don't think people realize that Ford is HUGE in Europe, and by many is considered to be far better than VW (especially in England)


RE: Looks great
By sorry dog on 1/12/2010 8:13:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm happy to see Ford finally putting out some attractive cars.
why can't GM put forth a decent effort?


RE: Looks great
By hashish2020 on 1/13/2010 6:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
...the Malibu looks better than nearly every car in it's segment (well at least the boring Camry and HIDEOUS Accord sedan), the new Cruze looks great in person (saw a few in China) and has a really nice interior, the new crossovers looks far better than anything the Japanese are putting out


RE: Looks great
By Belard on 1/14/2010 6:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the current USA Focus has been UGLY and boring looking for years.

Actually this is slightly changed from the UK/Euro Focus which still looks a bit better. For the new US version, the front bottom grills are made to look BIGGER (and uglier to me)... still much improved over past Focus.

Here:
http://www.ford.co.uk/Cars/Focus


RE: Looks great
By zmatt on 1/13/2010 10:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm really impressed with how Ford has stepped up their game int he past year and a half. It seems after many years of selling their best cars outside of America they finally decided to let us have some fun too.

I can't wait to see reviews of this car. DI turbo 4 with a DSG is awesome in a compact car. And this isn't even the RS model. The Civic Si is about to get a rude awakening.


RE: Looks great
By Jeffk464 on 1/11/2010 10:42:26 PM , Rating: 3
I love the return of the hatchback. It turns a normal car into an almost station wagon without the bad looks. Keep them coming.


RE: Looks great
By WUMINJUN on 1/24/2010 7:58:01 PM , Rating: 2


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