In 1998, Ford managed to find itself a game changer, a car which completely changed the hatchback game, the Ford Focus.
With the escort winding down, Ford released the Focus which at the time was considered both radically styled and speced.
It was not Ford's 'new edge' styling that got the plaudits from critics though, it was the new rear suspension which unlike other cars of the time was independent.
What Ford called 'control blade' suspension meant that the Focus flew to the top of the class in terms of handling and has left many of the other brands still playing catch up even now.
It's arrival saw it become the most sold car in the UK for the next 10 years, only to be knocked off the top by the Fiesta.
It was also the most sold car in the world from '99 to '04.
Unlike with the Fiesta, Ford had no problem with giving the Focus plenty of power and grunt and produced several, hard-core versions.
The first notable one was the return of the RS badge in the Form of the Focus RS which produced similar power to the old Escort Cosworth.
However a lack of 4-wheel-drive and a heavier body mean that the power never quite lived up to the benchmark set by previous RS models.
The break through for the return of the true performance ford came in 2009 with the arrival of the monstrous power in the second generation Focus RS.
The latest incarnation of the family hatchback churned out 300bhp, through the front wheels!
Despite the obvious laws of physics that suggested that it should be possible (as witnessed on the Vauxhall Astra VXR before the Focus) the wizards at Ford found a way.
The result was the most powerful front wheel drive production car which could still corner as well as any of it's rivals but still boot it on the straights.
This turned out to be a bit of a swan song for the old generation Focus and sure enough the third generation was not far away.
In it's latest skin the Focus is changing to a softer, more practical vehicle to cope with the global market it is trying to sell in.
However it still competes right at the top of it's class and with the new Focus ST just round the corner the most successful family hatchback ever is on to keep on doing well.
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