Focus on more customer-friendly technology

Focus on more customer-friendly technology

Ford has thrown down the gauntlet to the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 private buyer, by bringing a technology-laden Focus hatch to market with a zippy new 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbocharged engine.

The new engine, a new face, a new dashboard centre stack, and more new technology features brings the 2016 Focus up to date with its competitors.

While not a completely all-new car, the new Focus has received a significant amount of redesign and engineering. More than 1 million are built in 8 factories for consumption in 140 different markets, so Ford stresses it was important to listen to the customer and provide more user-friendly technology in the car.

The new Focus offers parallel park assist, perpendicular park assist, and park out, as well as rear cross traffic alert, and active city stop up to 50km/h.

It also offers an adaptive cruise control, distance and forward alert, and blind spot information system.

New Focus also offers MyKey, which teenagers will hate.

It’s a programmable spare key for less experienced drivers that can be set up to reduce the vehicle’s maximum speed, give an earlier low-fuel warning, and limit the audio volume.

If seat belts are unfastened, MyKey can completely disable the audio function.

As well as the new bonnet and trapezoidal grille with slimmer chiseled front headlamps, and a new tailgate and slimmer rear tail lamps, the 2016 Focus also has a revamped dashboard centre stack and new steering wheel.

The plethora of buttons that graced its predecessors centre stack have gone, replaced by the Sync2 infotainment system and touch screen, as well as a voice activation system, allowing hands-free operation of most functions.

Ford engineers revamped the suspension to give greater comfort but retain the car’s agility; they also wanted to create a lighter steering effort but without losing the desired feedback and response of the predecessor model.

The changes to the 2016 Focus are more than skin deep; it’s received a new 1.5-litre direct injection turbocharged engine, a new six-speed automatic transmission and revised front and rear suspension bushings.

The EPS power steering system has also been re-engineered to give greater on-road feel with less steering effort, but Ford says this was intrinsic to retaining the fun-to-drive DNA of the Focus brand.

Ford says the Enhanced Transitional Stability system incorporated into the electronic stability programme is an industry-first technology that can predict when a car might skid, and steps in early to prevent potentially, a loss of control.

There are three levels of trim, entry-level Trend, mid-range Sport, and top of the range Titanium, which naturally comes fully loaded with every conceivable amenity and technology.

AutoTalk drove the Titanium Focus around the Adelaide Hills at the Australasian media launch yesterday, and we found that the new car does indeed retain the renowned fun-to-drive DNA.

The 1.5-litre EcoBoost offers 132kW of power and 240Nm of torque, significantly more than the 2-Litre unit it replaces, but with less fuel consumption and emissions.

Not only is it a powerful wee thing, but it is also remarkably quiet, but brilliantly responsive, and the six-speed transmission musters the power well. Paddle shifters are available on Sport and Titanium models.

Ford also have thrown a lot more NVH reduction measures at the new Thailand-built Focus, and this was telling on the rural country roads that we drove upon in Adelaide.

As well as the new 1.5-Litre EcoBoost, Focus hatch buyers in New Zealand will also have the option of a 92kW/159Nm Duratec petrol engine.

The 132kW TDCi 2-litre turbocharged diesel engine is solely available in the European-sourced Focus station wagon.

2016 Focus Hatch prices:

  • Focus Trend 1.5L EcoBoost $35,340
  • Focus Sport 1.5L EcoBoost $38,340
  • Focus Titanium 1.5L EcoBoost $46,840
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