Is this what the 4th-generation of the Ford Focus will look like? Set to follow its recently-released Fiesta sibling in about a year’s time (in terms of South Africa, probably towards the end of 2019), the upcoming compact hatchback will be larger, but lighter, feature much cleaner lines and a raft of new on-board technologies…
Our artist's impressions of the newcomer’s front- and rear 3-quarter views (supplied exclusively to Cars.co.za by our Cape Town-based contributor) incorporates styling cues from the Fiesta, but also several clues that we've drawn from spy photographs of disguised pre-production test units, which our spy photographers snapped in Europe.
Whereas major criticisms of the current model’s styling have centred on the hard contours and somewhat clumsy detailing, we expect (as we’ve seen in the subtle evolution of the Volkswagen Golf 7’s exterior design) that the new Focus will feature decidedly more elegantly shaped sheet metal, a more harmonious side-glass silhouette/roof line, as well as narrower panel gaps.
Whereas its predecessor was intended to have break-out styling, the 4th-generation Focus will be elegant and upmarket.
Based on a development of the existing C2 platform, the Focus is expected to be lower, wider and longer (the latter attribute certainly in the case of the sedan) than the current model and we expect that it will make its public debut around the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. As is the case with the Fiesta, there should be a number of trim lines, including the sportier ST-Line and the upmarket Vignale (replete with chrome detailing and LED head- and tail lamps).
In terms of the interior treatment, our spy images confirm that the Focus’ cockpit will be dominated by the full-colour touchscreen, which will feature (at the very least) the SYNC3 infotainment system/app- and communications interface. Apart from improved shoulder and legroom, the cabin will benefit from more soft-touch panels and upgraded trim materials.
The adoption of the large colour touchscreen means that the fascia will be far less cluttered and organic-looking.
The engine line-up has yet to be confirmed, but over and above weight saving measures such as the more extensive use of aluminium and high-tensile steel in the body construction, the Blue Oval will utilise its 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbopetrol engine in various states of tune as well as at least the 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel. The manual transmissions will feature 6 ratios, but it remains to be seen whether the controversial 6-speed dual-clutch Powershift automatic option will be upgraded… or replaced by a 9-speed automatic transmission.
We will update this story as more detail becomes available in coming months (July 2017), but suffice to say that the Focus will face a pair of challenges upon its arrival: the first will be to match the award-winning Volkswagen Golf, impressive newcomers such as the Opel Astra and Renault Megane, as well as established rivals like the Toyota Auris and Kia Cerato.
Moreover, the Focus will be facing a gaggle of new(ish) compact family cars/crossovers that seem tailor-made to pinch sales from traditional C-segment hatchbacks. Could the launch of the crossover-flavoured Active trim for the Focus, replete with a raised suspension, black cladding and other off-roader addenda, help to keep the hordes at bay? We will have to wait and see…