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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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About time to replace the ugly Focus
By Belard on 1/14/2010 7:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
Ever sense they stop making the EDGE design, the US Focus has become a bit bigger and rather ugly boring looking car along with its stupid head-lights.

The Euro version has always looked better. Still, why is it at least another year before the USA get it? And in a few months the 2011 Fiesta comes out, but it should be called the 2010, duh! I don't think ANY car should get a new year unless its within a few months of the upcoming year or its a very different design change from a previous year model and its in the middle of the year.

They've been making the Focus with left-side driver for quite some time as well (Focus RS).

In Europe, the auto industry doesn't make a big deal over about the YEAR. It seems to be an American marketing stupidity thing.

Anyways, the new US version of the Focus looks 98% like the Euro version. The lower-grill and fog-lights/side grills are made taller for a more aggressive "American" look that is less sporty... WTF? yes, overall the new Focus (US) is a lot better built/looking - but why get rid of its friendly look? Wait, double checking again... I see what they did... smooth Ford, really smooth.

The photos included is a mix of the Focus RS (Front bumper/lower grill) with a normal hood. The main grill is "Americanized" with a less aggressive divider in the middle.

Check out Ford UK (Focus) to see what I mean:

Also in the UK, they have the convertible version of the Focus.

Also check out the Kuga, thats a neat looking cross-over that is easily better looking that the Edge. They look like they may share the same chassis, but body is completely different. (check out the blue pictures) - much better than the Grillie look.

With the Crossovers, not seeing any reason to make the Escape. And the "big SUV truck" market is dying quickly... so perhaps no Expedition. Explorer would be a good "big" SUV. For those who need real towing abilities, the F150 with extended cab is much better than the Expedition and costs less. Besides the Explorer is about as big as an Expedition anyway since the last majore re-design.

Expedition Sales: 2001 = 215K / 2009 = 32K (rounded up)
Explorer Sales: 2001 = 440K / 2009 = 52K (est / rounded)

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