Twenty years on from when it replaced the Escort with the Focus, Ford has unveiled its all-new Ford Focus, with technology and driver aids grabbing the headlines.
The technology headlines include sign recognition, adaptive cruise control with technology to ease driving in stop-start traffic, lighting enhancements, head-up display, a system that helps drivers steer round stopped or slower vehicles and fully-automated parking.
Many of us have become familiar with the benefits of adaptive cruise control, where your car adjusts its speed to maintain a gap between you and the car in front. The new Focus will be available with a system that extends this benefit with what Ford call ‘Stop & Go’, speed sign recognition and ‘Lane Centring’.
Together, Ford claims these technologies take the effort out of driving in stop start traffic.
When you get through the stop-start traffic to your destination, Ford say their new ‘Park Assist 2’ means the Focus will carry out parking manoeuvres. This is not just the usual trick of help with the steering when reverse parking. Ford say that their system operates the gear selection, acceleration and braking to carry out the complete manoeuvre.
‘Evasive Steering Assist’ is a new technology that helps drivers to steer around stopped, or slower vehicles, to help avoid collisions.
The new Focus offers an adaptive lighting system that uses cameras to predict curves and to read road signs, adjusting the headlamp pattern to improve lighting.
Head-up displays, or HUD, systems are common in the aviation industry and we have seen them fitted to some cars, giving speedometer and warning read-outs projected close to the driver’s line-of-sight on the windscreen. But the system on the new Focus will be a first for Ford.
Continuing the technology theme, the new Focus will be available with Continuously Controlled Damping to adapt the suspension settings to the driving conditions.
These days any car launched with a focus on technology has to have connectivity for the smart phone generation and the Focus offers connectivity on the move which will connect up to ten devices in a range of 15 metres. If all this pounds your battery, there will be a wireless charging pad for compatible phones.
The new Focus is the first vehicle to be based on Ford’s new C2 platform. Ford say it has been designed to deliver more interior space, while maintaining compact exterior dimensions. The wheelbase of the new car has been extended 53mm, but the total length has been increased by only18mm. Ford also claim the new platform brings significant enhancements to crash safety.
Power units announced for the new Focus start with an updated version of Ford’s one-litre Ecoboost engine and a new 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine. For those wanting diesel power there will be 1.5-litre and two-litre Ecoblue units. Automatic versions will have a new eight-speed gearbox, controlled by a rotary dial. The gearbox automatically adapts its gearshifts to suit the driving style.
The Focus will be sold as a five-door hatchback and an estate car in the UK, with a saloon version on sale in some markets.
The new Ford Focus is due to go on sale in July. Prices and detailed specification will be released nearer the launch date.