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Ford's more luxurious new Focus is still the sharpest in its class

4 Aug 2011

AFTER the successful launch of the current-generation Fiesta in early 2009, Ford is hoping that lightning will strike twice – this time upon its hapless Focus small car contender.

As complete a redesign as you are ever likely to see, Ford’s LW is the third-generation model to wear the name that – over the years – has garnered a reputation as the best driver’s car in its class.

But in the pursuit of style, safety, economy, convenience, technology and refinement, has the latest Focus lost its dynamic edge?

After a stint behind the wheel of several variants, we can say that if this Ford doesn’t sell up a storm Australian small car buyers will need to have their heads checked. The new Focus is thunderingly great.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 August 2011 to 1 August 2015

Previous model

Ford LV Focus

Released: April 2009
Ended: July 2011
Family Tree: Focus

THE third iteration of Ford's MkII Focus after the 2005 LS and 2007 LT, the LV involved a subtle makeover of the nose and tail to bring the ageing small car in line with Ford’s new Kinetic design language espoused by the Mk3 Mondeo. , Interestingly, as they were sourced from Germany, the XR5 Turbo and limited-run RS hot hatches of 2010 also brandished different side sheetmetal to the earlier Mk2s, containing a more pronounced crease along the flanks – meaning that (unlike all other LV Focuses sold elsewhere) the South African-built CL, LX, TDCi, Zetec and Ghia five-door hatch and four-door sedans lacked the new distinguishing feature line., As before, the core engine was the 107kW/185Nm 2.0-litre DOHC four-cylinder petrol unit driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. The TDCi continued with the 100kW/320Nm turbo-diesel, but introduced Ford’s first dual-clutch gearbox in the shape of the six-speed Powershift item, as an option to the continuing six-speed manual transmission., The XR5 Turbo - the only three-door Mk2 Focus sold in Australia - carried over the Volvo-sourced 166kW/320Nm 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol mill, while the RS packed quite a punch with a 224kW/440Nm version of the Swedish powerplant., Although the LV sold reasonably well, it never reached Ford’s sales expectations, and supplies to Australia suffered as a result of ongoing industrial disputes in South Africa.

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