The all-new Ford Focus – which is set to arrive in South Africa before the end of 2018 – will offer a host of new technologies, higher levels of occupant comfort, plus enhanced performance and efficiency. However, Ford's newcomer will compete in the ultra-competitive premium hatchback market and will, therefore, have its work cut out to beat these 5 rivals.
The next incarnation of the Focus has been revealed (mid-April 2018) and the newcomer is claimed to incorporate comprehensive improvements. In fact, the premium hatchback has been redesigned from the ground up. The Blue Oval says the packaging of the new car was influenced by feedback received from Focus customers from around the globe and, as was the case with it's predecessor, the new Focus is a "global car", with each country's market receiving a Focus tailored to suit its needs.
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While the South African spec of the new Focus is yet to be confirmed, Ford will offer its newcomer in sedan, estate and hatchback guises. Also, depending on the market, there are the various trims on offer such as Vignale, ST-Line, Active and Titanium. However, will the Focus be able to beat these 5 key rivals?
The Volkswagen Golf is one of the most popular choices in this segment and while the GTI version dominates sales, the 1.0- and 1.4-litre turbopetrol versions offer a lot of value, especially the 1.4TSI Comfortline R-Line derivative, which is the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank champion in the Premium Hatchback category. The Golf is impeccably built and refinement is class-leading; the range's prices start at R300k.
Renault's Megane is now in its 4th generation and, apart from offering sophisticated styling (both inside and out), generous specification and a satisfying driving experience, the French hatchback boasts impressive cabin space by virtue of sharing its platform with the Kadjar family car. There is a selection of compact turbocharged engines available and the Megane ranks well in terms of safety spec. However, its build quality is no more than fair. Derivatives are priced from R295k.
The distribution of Opel now falls under the auspices of the urban-based Williams Hunt dealer group (following the withdrawal of General Motors from South Africa at the end of 2017). Regrettably, in terms of sales, the Astra remains largely underappreciated in our market. It's a surprisingly competent vehicle, boasting an impressive array of technologies, good build quality and potent, but frugal powerplants. Priced from R283k, the Astra comes backed by a 5-year warranty and service plan from new.
Mazda offers a variety of competitive products (the resurgent Hiroshima-based brand notably won a pair of 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards courtesy of the Mazda2 and CX-5). Whereas SUVs make up the bulk of the Japanese marque's sales on the local market, the long-serving 3 hatchback is a solid proposition. It is well-made, pleasant to drive and offers good cabin space, but lacks some of the tech (no turbo powerplants) and glamour of some of its rivals. Prices begin at R266k.
As part of a recent rationalisation of Peugeot's product line-up in South Africa, sales of the 308 were discontinued, which was a pity, because the French marque's premium hatchback offers a satisfying driving experience courtesy of a plethora of comfort and luxury features. However, a facelifted version is due to be introduced in South Africa in mid-2018 and that bears . As is the case with aforementioned Astra, the 308 remains an underrated product and comes with some excellent compact turbocharged engines.
Also Consider: Honda Civic, Toyota Auris, Kia Cerato, Hyundai i30.