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Vehicle Reviews

Ford's latest Focus installment

At the outset I must confess that at first glance at Ford's refreshed Focus, I failed to appreciate the Focus's lines and fascia design language and how all this came

together to form what Ford term 'Ford's signature kinetic design'.Ford Focus

Initially the Focus didn't capture my attention but after having laid a few more glances at her I began to appreciate the overall design and how the frontal fascia blended in together with the overall package.

Design

Unlike other hatchback offerings within the hotly contested C-segment, the Focus, with all their new offerings, have offered more improved and modern design language throughout the range of which the differences can be well spotted when compared to previous outgoing models - not major but most certainly noticeable and within theme.

Right at the outset, the Focus hatchback, boasts much presence with its bold and sweeping lines. The Focus's oval headlight clusters down through to the low strung tri-grill most certainly gives of the effect that this vehicle has much intent and grunt. The Focus's muscular wheel arches which are connected by a sleek angular crease further ensures that this Focus has a lot of character. The rear light cluster arrangement for me was somewhat concerning as it didn't (I found) really fit into the design language that the Focus was meant to adopt...but it did grow on me though. The 16" wheels accompanying the 2.0 GDI Sport model also offered much presence to the vehicle along with the sporty scoop shadowing the rear window.

The Focus indeed does present itself as a sporty, athletic and well stanced variant in the Ford lineup.

 Interior

Although not too futuristic, the Focus's dash and instrument cluster setup offers a much welcoming experience compared to similar C-segment rivals.

The Focus's dash is made up of tasteful, soft touch plastics which incorporate the centre console which is accessible to both driver and passenger. The centre console sports a dual electronic air temperature control, Bluetooth connectivity, aux port, cruise control, steering wheel mounted controls where the driver may switch from one radio station to another or initiate cruise control or alternatively access voice control mode.

The front seats in the Focus offer adequate comfort and lumber support and headspace is pleasing. Despite the Focus's downward slanting silhouette at the rear end of the roofline there is still adequate space for rear passengers which space may accommodate 3 adult passengers but in the name of comfort, two would be optimal.

There is a sense of freshness and modern language in the interior of the Focus. The materials used do not feel or give off any sense of cheapness and found the plastics not too intrusive on the eye.

The drive

The 2.0 GDI Sport 5 door which is powered by a 2 litre engine pushes out 125KW @ 6600rpm and 202NM of torque @ 4450rpm.

The Focus is propelled by a 5 speed manual gearbox and a 0 - 100km/h sprint time in an estimated 9.1 seconds. The Focus's safety features include ABS with EBD, HLA (Hill Launch Assist) and Torque Vectoring Control.

Short throws between the gears allowed for some enthusiastic and enjoyable driving. The chassis along with the well balanced steering wheel along the straights and the bends allowed me to plow through the road ahead with confidence and vigor. The sporty looks of the vehicle were most certainly complimented with the sporty drive bestowed onto me by the Focus's dynamics. The seats offered much support and which was mostly appreciated around the bends.

Body roll was of no issue when pushing through the bends. Despite the fact that the vehicle has only 5 forward gears, the Focus held onto gears well within the 1500rpm range as a result of the great torque offered in high gears and therefore reducing fuel consumption.

Despite some tyre noise which may be attributed to the road surfaces, the drive and feel of the Focus, whether through the bends or in traffic, was great and rewarding. The vehicle has enough grunt when required and responsive when tasked with breaking or cornering.

Although the manufacturers estimated combined cycle is 6.6l/100km, I found that I accomplished around the 7.5-8l/100kms.

Final remarks

Along with the purchase price of R286,200.00 the Focus comes with a service plan of 5yr/100 000km and a manufacturers warranty of 4yr/120 000km.

Overall, I found that the Focus is indeed a title contender in the hotly contested C-segment arena. The Focus looks good and encompasses an athletic character and when driven with intent was smooth and most certainly capable of whatever was thrown at her.

Compared to variants offered by rivals, the Focus was equipped with standard features which are costly extras on rivals.

 

2013-08-20