Without thinking about it, the facelift of the Ford Focus can only be seen at second glance – until you take a seat in the cockpit. Driving report.
It was completely different at Ford, after a facelift, the model looked like a completely new car. But that earlier – the focus was still called escort – was a quarter of a century ago. Today, the recovery in the middle of the life of the model is more accurate, so that only experts notice it at first sight. It’s not just the modified headlight and headlight design, as is often the case with others today. In addition to the LED headlights, Ford also gave the Focus revised fenders and a new bonnet top position with a larger grille, which now bears the Ford logo previously placed on the hood. This makes it easier to identify the face-lift model.
Open the door, come in. At least now it’s clear that it’s a face-lift model. With a screen diagonal of 33 instead of 20 cm, the center screen is now much larger than before. It’s part of the standard package, including the navigation function, because Ford removed the previous base version Cool & Connect from the range in no time. Also new is the Sync 4 operating system that was introduced with the Mustang Mach-E, which runs significantly faster than the previous Sync 3. Among other things, Voice Control takes advantage of this, although it still leaves room for improvement when recognizing it. For the first time, free-form orders are not carried out without misunderstanding, as Ford promised. The analog operating unit for air conditioning is no longer needed and is now integrated into the touch screen. The same applies to the rotary control, with which the scale of the navigation map can be easily and simply adjusted – it is also saved. The radio volume remains, however, but is now located along with the engine start button where the climate controls used to be.
Fortunately, Ford saved the touch surfaces and the slider on the steering wheel brakes, and here everything remains the same with direct interaction, albeit rather small buttons. The same is true for the rest of the cockpit, although the overall atmosphere has benefited, as modified materials for the surfaces improve the visual and tactile impression. As before, the head-up display projects its information on a small portion of the plexiglass rather than directly on the windshield – but functionally, there’s nothing wrong with that. This means that the most important information cannot be overlooked by the driver when looking at the road.
Still more slender than rest
And when it comes to leadership, the focus is in its element. There are only a few new auxiliary assistance systems available, such as Blind Spot Assist, which has been expanded to include trailer detection and active steering pulses, and the Local Hazard Warning System. Nothing has changed with the chassis and steering. And why should it be, since the focus was already one of the active and graceful representatives of its class. You should not expect sedan-like comfort, especially in the ST-Line and Active lines, where the focus sometimes pops uncomfortably.
On the other hand, it could improve when it comes to driving comfort, although all the engines are known – Focus customers will still have to do without plug-in hybrids. As a diesel, Ford only offers a 1.5-liter 120-horsepower engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. When it comes to petrol engines, the focus has long been limited to the one-liter, three-cylinder supercharged engine in three performance variants with 100, 125 or 155 hp, apart from the best ST Sport with a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Automatic versions are new here: from 125 hp, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is available for an additional cost of 2,000 euros. This means that a 48-volt mild hybrid system is also on board, which costs an additional 800 euros for the 125 hp version with manual transmission.
Significantly increased entry price
The most powerful 155-horsepower three-cylinder is ready for your first driving impression. It drives the focus forward quickly, delighting with its good running culture, high spin, and developing restrained noise. Whether it works on only two bowls with the third cylinder turned off or all three are in use, it is practically imperceptible to the driver. Instead, moderate hybrid regime interventions. It shuts off the triple cylinder when cruising at less than 12 km/h and restarts quickly and smoothly via a belt starter generator. On the other hand, it takes some getting used to: the clearly noticeable lag when recovering when sliding, which annoys some drivers, especially in upper gears. Anyone who prefers nearly resistance-free rolling has bad focus cards, because Ford doesn’t shut down the engine completely during these phases.
In conjunction with the new dual-clutch transmission, these lags are personally less annoying than a fine-grained manual transmission. Usually he changes the automatic transmission appropriately and unobtrusively, and there is no desire for manual intervention – it can only be implemented in the ST-Line variator. Since the Titanium and Active don’t have shift paddles on the steering wheel, the selector lever lacks a separate alley for manual shifting anyway.
The abolition of the previous base version Cool & Connect also increases prices at the entry level: instead of 23,600, it now starts at only 28,250 euros – titanium is associated with at least 125 hp three-cylinder.
Season! Good job from Ford!
No reason to buy me.
Ford didn’t change much with the facelift, but the change to the Sync4 and larger screen, plus the option of a dual-clutch transmission for the three-cylinder petrol engine, made handling the Focus agile more comfortable.