FORD INTRODUCES FACELIFT FOCUS TO MZANSI

Ford has unveiled and launched the new facelift Focus range in Mzansi. Both 5-door hatchback and 4-door sedan models are immediately available through the company’s vast dealership network. The update is part of Ford’s plan to introduce over 25 new models in South Africa over the next 20 months or so. Some have already appeared, including the Fusion sedan.

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Focus is quite an important player in the Ford portfolio, although it doesn’t move as much volume as the likes of Ranger, Ecosport and Figo. The hatchback market is ruled by the Volkswagen Golf through an iron fist, and Ford is keen to continue tackling the German as far as it can. So far as we drive the new Focus in Port Elizabeth and surrounds, it has impressed me.

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Obviously the new face is represented by the new front bumper with a new Ford face. New headlights, LED daytime running lights and foglamps are instantly recognisable. There’s even a new bonnet to add to the list. Side pictures reveal standard 16-inch wheels with a 17-inch rim on the options list. A tyre pressure monitor comes standard. The rear end wasn’t left to chance either, with a new lights cluster and fascia. It now looks cleaner, or less cluttered.

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The cleaner look seems to be followed on inside where a new dashboard design with fewer buttons is evident. Where the old car featured plenty of tech and gadgets, it also became quite complicated to operate, resulting in some frustration for customers and motoring media.

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So a clean-up was effected, such that now fewer buttons are used to control the car’s functions than before. This is true not just for the dash area, but also for the multifunction steering wheel which can often resemble a 1980s Jumbo jet’s control panel. A new black satin trim and chrome detailing gives the Focus a higher quality feel, which is a notable departure from its predecessor.

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While still inside, it’s useful to look at some of the tech offered. Tech is one of Ford’s four main usps in their new cars, and to ignore it would be folly on my side. One really interesting feature is called Ford MyKey which essentially lets the owner of the car who shares it with another driver, determine certain of the car’s parameters for the second driver. For instance, they might set the speed limit at 100km/h for the second driver who may be too young and inexperienced to drive faster.

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Most of the rest is the usual Ford feed, including the Sync infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, voice control, USB and auxiliary ports and on-board trip information displays among others. Safety is taken care of by the likes of ABS with EBD, Lane Keeping, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Lane Keeping Aid and Active City Stop (optional). ACS operates at speeds of below 50km/h and can automatically stop the car if it detects collision danger and driver inability to avoid it.

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A new smart feature is the Perpendicular Parking assistance which as the name suggests, automatically helps to park the car into perpendicular spaces. It’s very useful in tight parking spots like office parks, airports and malls. The actual manoeuvre, demonstrated to us by Ford, is largely hands-free from the driver’s perspective and is made possible by sensors located all around the Focus.

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The front-wheel-drive (FWD) can be had in either 6-speed manual or automatic, depending on the buyer’s needs. We drove only the manual-driven 5-door hatch cars with new turbo engines. At the base level is the new 3-cylinder 1.0-litre Ecoboost turbo petrol pushing out 92kW at 6 000rpm and 170Nm of torque between 1 400rpm and 4 500rpm. It’s the same engine found in the Fiesta as well.

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This multi-award-winning motor is impressive, with adequate pull-off, cruising and overtaking ability. In most driving situations, one doesn’t even need to change down gears. Ford says it will complete the 0 – 100km/h run in 11.1 seconds and stop running at 192km/h. The average fuel consumption figure is quoted as 5 litres per 100km, although we saw something close to 7 L/100km during our drive. Admittedly we were pushing the car far more than the average driver would.

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More willing is the 1.5-litre Ecoboost worth 132kW at 6 000rpm and 240Nm between 1 600rpm and 5 000rpm. With more power comes more pull and go, as well as more tears at the pumps. Indeed you will average between 5.5 to 6 litres per 100km according to Ford’s own figures, after completing the 0 – 100km/h sprint in 8.6 seconds. On a straight line the difference from the 1.0-litre is pretty clear, while overtaking is even less of a fuss for this current flagship. Top speed is 224km/h for the manual and 222km/h in the auto.

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I say current because there are still some diesel models coming by the end of the year. There’s also those other two small matters badged ST and RS. The ST keeps its 184kW configuration, while the all-new, all-wheel-drive 2016 model year RS gets a rumoured 257kW from its Mustang-shared 2.3-litre Ecoboost.

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This facelift and upgrades places the Focus amongst the leaders of the pack once more. With more favourable standard prices now going to be the norm, thanks to the fact that the car is now sourced from Germany and not Thailand, the market should be more receptive to the car again. Comparatively the leading rivals like Golf, Hyundai Elantra/ i30 and Toyota Corolla/ Auris have suddenly become generally less powerful but notably more expensive now. Focus sold an average of 140 units in the first quarter of 2015, versus 586 for the Golf over the same period. There’s work to be done Ford people.

 

 

2015 Ford Focus (facelift) Prices

Five-door

  • Ecoboost Ambiente (R217 900)
  • Ecoboost Trend (R234 900)

1.5 Ecoboost Trend (R271 900)

1.5 Ecoboost Trend auto (R284 900)

 

Four-door

  • Ecoboost Ambiente (R212 900)
  • Ecoboost Trend (R229 900)

1.5 Ecoboost Trend (R265 900)

1.5 Ecoboost Trend auto (R279 900)

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