New Focus on horizon

car_photo_304865_25Meet the most desirable family car ever! This striking machine is about to rewrite the hatchback rulebook, with a stunning combination of head-turning looks, driver appeal and up-to-the-minute technology. Say hello to Ford’s next-generation Focus.

Set to go on sale in 2010, the third generation of the family car will take the company’s brand values to the next level. It gets a dramatic new look that’s backed up by a range of hi-tech small- capacity turbocharged engines.

Ford gave the strongest hint of how its upcoming models will look when it revealed the Iosis Max at the Geneva Motor Show last month (see Issue 1,053). And it’s from this car that the new Focus takes much of its styling inspiration.

The hatch gets a sleek new front end, with a large lower grille and elongated headlights. Bold lines run from the edges of the grille to the A-pillars.

car_photo_304866_25At the rear, there are further nods to the Iosis MAX, with a high tail, angular C-pillars and eye-catching lights. Chunky wheelarches and short
overhangs finish the look and give the newcomer a muscular stance. According to insiders, a panoramic glass roof will also be available. Inside, expect a toned-down version of the concept’s striking cabin, with a new centre console boasting an improved version of Ford’s Human Machine Interface control system. Options will include a reversing camera.

Under the skin is a fresh development of the current car’s chassis, so it’s unlikely the new model will grow much in size. Emphasis will be put on ride and refinement, without sacrificing the sharp steering and driver appeal for which the Focus has become famous.

New turbocharged EcoBoost engines dominate the line-up. Entry-level models will come with a 1.0-litre four-cylinder turbo unit offering 89bhp or 108bhp, but most variants will get a new 1.6-litre turbo, available with 148bhp or 178bhp outputs.

These units will combine storming pace with low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to give buyers the best of both worlds. There is also a new range of diesels in the shape of a 1.6 TDCi, delivering up to 128bhp, and a flagship 2.0-litre with 168bhp or 197bhp.

All engines are mated to manual boxes as standard, but Ford will also offer its Powershift twin-clutch transmission. Start-stop technology is set to be rolled out across the range, too.

We reported in Issue 1,054 that Ford bosses were debating when to launch the car. Sources have revealed that it looks as though the Focus and C-MAX compact MPV will be launched simultaneously in 2010.

The models have been developed alongside each other and could be global cars – ie sold in all Ford markets across the world. They would follow in the footsteps of the latest Fiesta, which goes on sale in China later this year, and in the US in 2010.

The Focus will be built at Ford’s plant in Saarlouis, Germany, while the C-MAX, which is to appear as a seven-seater for the first time, will be assembled at Valencia in Spain.

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