An all-new Ford Focus has just been revealed, but is it a significant step forward from the outgoing model?
The Ford Focus has long been one of the UK’s best selling cars, helped by attractive pricing and fun handling. However, it’s starting to feel its age in some areas, making the arrival of an all-new version timely.
On sale in July, this new Focus will be sold as a five-door hatchback and an estate, just as the current car is. So, what’s changed and is it likely to be enough to put the Focus back on top of the family car class?
Ford Focus new vs old – styling
The new Focus is longer and lower than the outgoing car to help it look sportier, plus there are bold creases down the sides, and ST Line versions feature gaping front air vents.
For all this, the Focus still looks like a member of the Ford family, thanks to its hexagonal front grille and horizontal taillights that are similar to those on the latest Fiesta, although there’s also a hint of BMW 1 Series in the shape of the rear side windows.
Ford Focus new vs old – performance and driving
Many of the engines are carried over from the old Focus, including Ford’s turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit (available with outputs of 84bhp, 99bhp or 123bhp), and 94bhp and 148bhp diesels.
However, there’s also a new 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol that produces 148bhp or 180bhp. And all of the petrols now feature a cylinder deactivation system, which allows the engine to shut down one of its cylinders when you’re cruising on the motorway or pottering around town to save fuel.
Normal, Sport and Eco driving modes are standard, whichever engine you choose, so you can adjust the accelerator, steering and auto gearbox (if fitted) responses to suit the conditions or your personal tastes. But in truth this isn’t an area where big improvements were needed because the outgoing Focus remains one of the best cars in its class to drive.
The one slight concern is that cheaper variants of the new car will have a less sophisticated rear suspension setup than today’s model; only 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel models will get a fully independent set-up.
Ford Focus new vs old – dashboard and driving position
As with the outgoing car, all new Focus models get height adjustment on the driver’s seat as standard, plus a steering wheel that adjusts for reach and rake, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a comfortable driving position.
The interior features more soft-touch materials than before, though, to give is a swankier feel, and for the first time in a Focus, you can have a head-up display that projects your speed and sat-nav instructions onto the windscreen so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
Ford Focus new vs old – infotainment
Most versions of the current Focus feature a touchscreen infotainment system, but this is set a long way back in the dashboard, whereas the new car’s screen is much easier to reach.
The sytem in the new cars is quicker to respond, too, and its menus more intuitive, while Apple CarPlayand Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard.
Ford Focus new vs old – space and practicality
Boot space is one of the outgoing hatchback’s weaknesses, with its 363-litre capacity with a tyre repair kit (316 litres with a space-saver spare wheel) falling short of most rivals’, but the new car has a more competitive 375 litres; a Volkswagen Golf gives you 380 litres, for example, and a Vauxhall Astra 370 litres.
The estate’s boot, meanwhile, has grown from 490 litres to 608 litres, and the opening is now wide enough to take a dog-carrying crate.
Passenger space should also be improved in both the hatchback and the estate, because the front and rear axles are set farther apart on the new Focus. Ford claims an extra 56mm of rear knee room, although we’re yet to confirm this for ourselves.
Ford Focus new vs old – costs and equipment
Ford hasn’t revealed prices for the new Focus yet, but it’s expected to offer entry-level versions for less than £20,000/$28,400, whereas the current car starts at £20,135/$28,592.
Good discounts and tempting finance deals should also be a given and while the trim line-up is likely to remain unchaged, the cheapest Style model should gain alloy wheels.
The sporty ST-Line trim, meanwhile, is expected to be the biggest seller, bringing a lowered ride height, more aggressive exterior styling, carbonfibre-effect trim and red stitching.