Ford Focus (2015) First Drive

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Globally the Ford Focus is the best-selling car, but locally sales have been on the decline as models like the new Toyota Corolla and Volkswagen Golf have proved more enticing options for buyers. This facelifted version of the Focus feels more like an entirely new car than just a facelift and with its all-new engine lineup, it hopes to claw back up the sales table.

What’s new?

The front end of the Focus has been moulded to look more like the newer models with the grille being the prominent feature. It’s slightly smaller than the Fusion and a bit bigger than the Fiesta to the eye. The interior has come in for a makeover as customer feedback pointed Ford towards a less fussy facia and radio arrangement. Ford Sync has also been implemented and that hosts the media and interactive abilities of the facelifted Focus. Self-parking is now also an option you can choose from with both perpendicular and parallel parking systems available. The chassis has also been tweaked to improve the dynamics and ride quality along with a stiffer front end.

New Ecoboost Engines

Ford has shown with the Fusion that its 1.5-Litre Ecoboost petrol turbo motor is capable of powering a large car just fine. It’s now the turn of the 1.0-Litre Ecoboost motor to do the same as the tiny turbo petrol is the entry-level model for the Focus. Power and torque is the same as it is in the Fiesta at 92 kW and 170 Nm. It handles the Focus pretty well and is only found struggling at the high end of the rev range when it runs out of puff. In the lower – everyday range - it copes perfectly and delivers a good boost of torque low down.

The second engine is the 1.5-Litre Ecoboost from the Fusion, it’s the one I’d probably choose too, with 132 kW and 240 Nm it’s got plenty of power and push to give. This engine/car combo works well as it cruises brilliantly at freeway speeds at nothing more than 2500rpm and then gives good acceleration all the way through the rev range. Fuel economy is claimed at 5.5L/100km which, isn’t too far off the 1.0-Litre’s claimed 5.0L/100km.

Interior Update

The insides of the Focus have been fettled with extensively and the dashboard and radio is a bit more conventional from the previous model. That particular system had buttons just about everywhere and was a bit daunting to use. Active safety has been plugged into the Focus now as an optional pack that allows you to have crash mitigating systems like cross traffic alert that will alert you to a car coming as you exit a parking spot, Active City Stop preloads the brakes if it detects that you may be about to crash into something and Ford My Key that allows you to programme a second key with limitations to use. For example you could set a speed limit for drivers using the second key or disable the car entirely if seatbelts are not strapped on.

Ride and Drive

Upgrades to the suspension and front end of the Focus have made a huge difference to the ride comfort and quality. On the bumpy roads around Port Elizabeth the Focus performed really well, gliding over bumps with ease. The suspension soaks up all the harshness without making the ride feel wafty, it’s probably the most impressive part to the new Focus. Dynamically it's quite good too, the front end is agile and quick to turn in while the steering feel is a little on the light side, but has good weighting.

Ford Focus Aggressive Pricing

Keen-eyed price watchers may have already noticed that a 1.0-Litre Fiesta is now more expensive than a 1.0-Litre Focus. Ford says they will be adjusting Fiesta’s pricing soon to take this into account. The Focus is priced extremely keenly at R212 900 for a 1.0 Ambiente. The 1.5-Litre starts at R279 900. In comparison to direct hatch rivals like the VW Golf and Hyundai i30 it looks like a good prospect.

For a full specs and pricing listing click here