Posted by 2011fiesta
on 15 October 2014 - 10:19 AM
Never understood why there's different names for the same thing lol, there's tomato and toe-may-toe but fusion and mondeo... Lol.
Never the less it looks sweet!
Yeah I know lol. Probably just because before Ford starting doing 'world' or 'one' Fords the vehicles were rarely the same on different continents so they wouldn't share names.
Now they're the same vehicle worldwide US customers for example familiar with the 'Fusion' name could be put off getting another one if it was dropped and suddenly replaced with this new unheard of 'Mondeo' model that has no history to them.
I imagine if they renamed the UK's Mondeo to 'Fusion', people would be like, "What the hell, that tall boxy little city hatch we used to have is now this stunning family car!? And where's our Mondeo gone?" - as lets face it the average non-Ford fan isn't going to know or care that the same vehicle is sold elsewhere but under a different name.
Same for the latest Kuga I guess. - In the US its called the 'Escape' because that was the name of the small crossover it replaced on the Ford US line up. And US buyers would find it odd if their Escape SUV was suddenly called a 'Kuga' - especially as nowadays hearing the word Kuga more often than not brings the thought of an older woman chasing younger men, than it does the wild cat COUGAR. lol.
It's very similar, we'll give you that. The third generation Focus has been facelifted - neater headlights and the latest company grille - but there's no major step change. And with good reason: for the last two years, this has been the world's best selling car, and it's on course to take the title again in 2014.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and all that.
Indeed. But that hasn't stopped Ford from implementing a raft of measured improvements, with new engines (and an inevitable focus on boosting fuel economy and slicing CO2 emissions), small dynamic tweaks and a rejigged interior.
Is it still great to drive?
When the Focus replaced the ageing Escort 16 years ago, the sharpness of its dynamics was nothing short of revelatory. Passing years have seen the Focus grow in weight while rivals have caught up a little, but this mid-life update for the gen3 Focus gets it right back on its game.
Changes are slight, and centred mainly around tuning the electric power steering for ease of use and making the dampers more compliant. But a resulting benefit is an increase in agility, with keener responses from a more natural and satisfying steering rack. It's impressive for an EPAS system.
The overriding impression the Focus gives is of its front and rear ends working in harmony; a tricky sequence of corners won't outfox the Focus, its accomplished suspension set-up soaking up surface changes while the rear axle is willing to play a role in tightening your cornering line if you ask it to. There are reassuringly high levels of grip for when you simply want to get places, but plenty of driver interaction for when you want to do so smiling. And it's always composed.
And what about those new engines?
A new sub-99g/km 1.5-litre diesel engine will mop up nearly half of Focus sales, though 118bhp is as hot as it gets. We bee-lined straight for the range's new petrol engine, a 1.5-litre four-cylinder Ecoboost turbo unit which comes in 148bhp and 180bhp guises, both claiming 127g/km CO2 emissions and 51.4mpg. The more potent version was available for us to try, and it's mostly very good, its gutsy spread of torque delivered with a linearity akin to a naturally aspirated engine, which will please keen drivers.
It's only north of 2500rpm that things really get going, though, and a lack of low-down verve was particularly noticeable when slicing through town centre traffic and while grabbing a gear lower than normal to keep pace up steeper hills. Good excuse to exercise a decent six-speed manual gearbox, though.
What about that rejigged interior?
This is an area in which the Focus - and Fords in general - has been long overdue some love. Its dashboard has previously been a bit of an ergonomic puzzle, tiny air con and entertainment buttons scattered across the centre console willy nilly. No more. There's a new touchscreen system that immediately slashes the button-count, and its on-screen design has clearly been influenced by some of the more intuitive systems out there, such as Audi's MMI. It works well, and makes the interior look and feel a lot better. The plastics still aren't a match for VW's, mind.
How about technology?
Tons of the stuff. The gen3 Focus was a bit of a market leader when it arrived in 2011, with plenty of big car tech such as self parking and lane departure warning. This has been updated and added to, with the park assist now pulling you out of the tight bay it's spookily swung you into and more diligent crash avoidance radars up front.
Sounds great. Where's the catch?
In the showroom. If you want this 180bhp engine then you must whizz straight up to Titanium X spec, which means lots of goodies, but also a base price of £23,520. Or around £1500 more than the (admittedly less luxurious) Focus ST currently costs, with its 247bhp and madcap attitude.
The 148bhp 1.5 Ecoboost has the same 177lb ft torque figure as the 180bhp version, though, with prices starting at £20,545 for a Zetec S. If you want a Focus and nothing more, there's an old fashioned 84bhp 1.6 petrol for £13,995.
Posted by 2011fiesta
on 09 September 2014 - 09:12 PM
Few reviews up...
First off, Mr Matt Watson:
Refreshed Ford Focus hatchback is now more refined, and a serious rival to class leaders
When one of Britain’s best-selling cars gets a refresh, it’s big news – especially when it’s an update as extensive as the one applied to the Ford Focus. There’s good reason for the changes, too, with the SEAT Leon, VW Golf and Skoda Octavia now ahead of it in the family hatch class. So is this update enough to propel the Focus to the top spot?
We all know how important first impressions are, and the Focus now makes a better one than before. The awkward rear lights and the gaping front inlets have been replaced with a design that’s more harmonious.
The idea here was to give the Focus more of a premium look and the slender front lights, chrome-slatted grille and smaller tail-lamps all help. And it’s einforced further once you climb into the Focus’ refreshed interior – perhaps the most welcome change of all. Each model – with the exception of entry-level Studio cars – comes with an eight-inch colour touchscreen, which includes many of the functions that were controlled by a confusing array of buttons in the old car.
As a result, it feels much more usable, hi-tech and, crucially, better suited to battle the luxurious Golf – although it’s still not quite as plush. Elsewhere, there’s a new steering wheel design, with better controls for the infotainment system.
The engine highlights are geared towards efficiency, with a new 1.5-litre EcoBoost, which replaces the 1.6 EcoBoost, a new 1.5 TDCi (to be sold alongside the 1.6 TDCi – but with only £100 between them, why bother?) and a more efficient 1.0-litre EcoBoost that stretches down to a 99g/km version.
We tried the 1.5-litre EcoBoost, with 180bhp, which is exactly the same output as you got in the more powerful version of the old 1.6 EcoBoost. Fuel economy is up from 47.9mpg to 51.4mpg, though, and Ford says that the power is delivered lower down in the rev range. As a result, on our test drive we noticed it felt more responsive and more flexible, but probably only because we had an old 1.6 EcoBoost standing by as a reference point.
Other enhancements under the skin include improved sound insulation to the extent that Ford now says the Focus is the class leader in this area. It’s mainly down to extra insulation in the windows, improved door seals and extra sound deadening in the wheel wells.
With the smooth petrol on board, there’s barely any engine noise in the cabin and the amount of tyre and wind noise is definitely reduced over the outgoing car. So is it better than the VW? Usefully, there was a 1.4 TSI Golf on hand to compare, and the differences between the two are so minor you’ll struggle to
decide which is better for a long journey.
The Focus has always led the way for handling, but Ford hasn’t rested on its laurels here, either. It has made tweaks to the steering so that it feels more
responsive just off centre, but without making it feel twitchy at speed.
Turn-in is slightly crisper than it was before, really helping you to make the most of the Focus’ excellent chassis. It has a litheness and an adjustability to it
that the Golf doesn’t quite offer. And Ford has also done its part to improve comfort by tweaking the suspension. Over bumps and ruts, it provides a
cushioned ride, ensuring the Focus still works as a relaxing family car.
Despite the updates and the boost in luxury, Ford has retained the same £13,995 starting price tag as before, while our top-spec Titanium X car costs £100 less than the outgoing equivalent.
With the Focus’ new design and better cabin, the family hatchback class is more closely contested than ever. For driving fun, the Focus wins out, but for luxury, the Golf still just edges it.
The latest incarnation of Ford’s family hatchback, the Focus. Since it was first introduced in 1997, bringing with it a new age of Ford dynamic excellence, there hasn’t been much wrong with the way the Focus has driven.
But, in this mid-life facelift, prompted by the car’s three year age and necessitated by the bruising competence of the Volkswagen Golf, the Focus’s dynamics have been tweaked anyway. We’ll come back to those.
More notable, though, are a raft of interior amendments, including more storage cubbies, softer-touch plastics with tasteful chrome-effect highlights and a cleaner, easier-to-operate set of centre console workings.
Also different are the powertrains; the 1.6-litre turbo, in either petrol or diesel flavour, has become a 1.5-litre turbo. Our test car’s an EcoBoost 150 petrol with 148bhp, but there’s also a 180bhp variant. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder, with 124bhp, stays.
The downsized diesels can be had with either 94bhp or 119bhp, giving a 10 per cent improvement in economy over the ones they replace. The 2.0-litre TDCi , also with 148bhp, now makes 10bhp more while emitting 15 per cent less.
What is it like?
The new cabin’s pleasing. I’m still not convinced the controls for the entertainment and information systems are quite as intuitive as, say, Audi’s MMI or BMW’s iDrive, but they – and the graphics they use – are a big improvement.
Left largely unchanged is cabin space and a driving position that some drivers will find is set too high. Rear accommodation is fine, mind, as is the boot. Same as before.
In a while, the 1.5-litre petrol will be offered mated to an auto gearbox, but for now the unit, which is acceptably quiet and reasonably brisk, comes with the six-speed manual we’ve got here.
It changes slickly, with little bump and lots of positivity. And Ford doesn’t mind asking that you put in a bit more effort moving it around the gate than some rivals would. Likewise with pedal feel. Not so much though with steering weight, which is reduced this time around.
Reduced steering effort is an increasing customer demand – especially given that Ford isn’t only selling this car for European consumption. But at 2.6 turns between locks it’s still quick, and is also responsive and accurate. Still the most pleasing and engaging in the class, in fact.
Ditto the rest of the ride and handling – away from warm/hot variants. Ford accepts a tighter, slightly firmer ride over high-frequency bumps, surface imperfections and the like, than most of its rivals would - that means that the body remains better tied-down over longer undulations.
Consistently – and it’s true here – the trade-off is worth it. Bump absorption is still good, with deft wheel control meaning most lumps are cast aside easily. And the flipside is a car in which you don’t mind taking the longer route home.
It’s agile, responsive, and retains the trademark tuck of its nose if you lift into a corner. Ford values the fact that customers appreciate a car that’s pleasant to drive; that does what they ask of it, tells them what it’s up to, and is quicker to respond than the norm.
Should I buy one?
The Focus still makes an extremely strong case for itself; particularly dynamically, as you’d expect.
The rest brings it closer to the Volkswagen. A back-to-back test with a Golf awaits, but my bet is that the material improvements mean you won’t have to prioritise dynamics quite so highly as before to pick the Ford over the Volkswagen.
Ford Focus 1.5 150 EcoBoost Titanium
Price £20,795; 0-62mph 8.2sec; Top speed 131mph; Economy 51.4mpg; CO2 127g/km; Kerb weight 1325kg; Engine 4cyls in line, 1499cc, turbo petrol; Power 148bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 177lb ft at 1600-4000rpm; Gearbox six-speed manual