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Sydney show: Ford tempts buyers with Focus cabrio

Flip top: The Focus CC's roof opens in 29 seconds.

Drop-top version of Ford's Euro-built Focus small car is coming Down Under in 2007

27 Oct 2006

THERE is nothing quite like a Ford-versus-Holden stoush on the racetrack – or, as it happens, an exhibition floor.

So the Blue Oval brand yesterday presented its Focus coupe-cabriolet, which will be a direct rival to the Holden Astra Twin-Top, which also made its show debut.

The Focus-Astra battle joins FPV Force 6 and 8 (grid-locked with HSV) and its Ranger one-tonne ute, which replaces the Courier and will be a formidable opponent to the ageing Holden Rodeo.

Like the VE Commodore, the BF MkII Falcon also got its first motor show airing.

On the Ford stand, management confirmed the Focus CC would arrive in Australia early next year, with pricing tipped to start from around $45,000.

Full specifications and pricing will be announced closer to launch.

In Europe, the four-seater is available with three engines: a 1.6-litre petrol, 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre TDCi diesel. However, Australia is expected to get just the 2.0-litre petrol, mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

Designed in partnership with classic coachbuilder Pininfarina, the Focus coupe-cabriolet has an electric folding roof that takes 29 seconds to open or close.

Inside, the car's dashboard layout follows the style of other Focus models, but with an upmarket colour scheme and leather upholstery.

The cabrio has a rigid high-strength steel body and full complement of safety gear, including front and side airbags and two safety hoops that rise 200mm up behind the rear passengers in the event of a rollover.

With the roof closed, it offers 534 litres luggage capacity, and with the hard-top stowed, there is still 248 litres of space.

In terms of homegrown muscle, Ford Performance Vehicles has shown its luxury Force 6 and Force 8 twins. Force 6 features FPV's high-tech intercooled F6 270 Turbo in-line six and the Force 8 is powered by the quad-cam 5.4-litre Boss 290 V8.

Both are mated to the ZF six-speed automatic while the cars feature four-piston front and single-piston rear Brembo brakes, 19-inch shadow chrome alloys, sports-tuned suspension, limited slip differential and a long list of luxury appointments.

27 center imageLeft: Ford Ranger.

The other highlight on the stand was the new Ranger ute, which is claimed to be quieter, more powerful, safer and better handling than the Courier.

Visually more aggressive and bolder, it has a modern, car-like interior and significantly higher towing capacity as well as more two powerful common-rail turbo-diesel engines.

Pricing starts from $20,990 for the 2.5-litre Turbo Diesel 4x2 single cab-chassis XL, through to $45,990 for the range-topping XLT 3.0-litre Turbo Diesel 4x4 crew cab pick-up.

Four different cab styles will be available – single cab, crew cab, chassis cab and super cab with a choice of 4x2 or 4x4, a five-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic transmission.

Compared to the previous 2.5-litre turbo-diesel, the new 2.5-litre direct-injection common-rail diesel produces 18 per cent more torque at less revs with a 22 per cent improvement in fuel economy.

The 2.5-litre diesel develops 105kW at 3500rpm and 330Nm at 1800rpm while the 3.0-litre diesel delivers 115kW at 3200rpm and 380Nm at 1800rpm.

At the front, Ranger's 4x2 and 4x4 models have car-like independent double-wishbone suspension with a longer and larger torsion bar and larger-diameter dampers for greater control and ride comfort.

The rear suspension has been strengthened to support the vehicle's hauling and towing capabilities with longer leaf springs and a new stabiliser bar. The steering has been optimised for easy handling in low-speed manoeuvres and better control at high speeds.

The Ranger has larger front ventilated discs and leading and trailing drums at the rear. Braking effort has been reduced and four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist are standard on XLT 4x4 models and available as an option across the range.

At the rear, the side-wall of the cargo box is 60mm higher than the Courier, boosting storage to 1547 litres on regular cab models.

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