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Ford confirms Australian Focus specs

Revealed in detail: Ford's high-spec, high-tech Focus will go on-sale in Australia in August.

Blue Oval shoots for top of the class with high-spec, high-tech new Focus

Ford logo1 Jun 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

FORD has announced the engine and specification line-up for its all-important new LW Focus, due to arrive in Australian showrooms in August after its local premiere at the Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne on July 1 when pricing will be announced.

On paper, the well-equipped, efficient LW Focus looks set to rise to the top of its class, with the technology-packed flagship variant becoming Australia’s first mainstream small car to offer adaptive cruise control.

Ford Australia has seemingly taken a leaf out of Volkswagen Group’s book when it comes to naming model variants, opening its new Focus range with the Ambiente – which will sound familiar to Skoda customers – followed by Trend and Sport, both of which echo the Trendline and Sportline variant designations used by VW.

Only the Titanium badge for top-spec cars is common with the US and Europe where the rest of the range is respectively badged S, SE and SEL or Edge and Zetec. The Euro-market Focus also gets a Titanium X range-topper.

The Australian Focus’ variant badging appears to be consistent with Ford’s Africa and Middle-Eastern naming conventions.

Like the US the Australian-delivered Focus will be available in five-door hatch and four-door sedan guises. In Europe, the choice is between hatch and wagon body styles.

27 center imageWith no Euro-style Titanium X spec, Australian Focus buyers will not be offered optional driver assistance features such as lane departure warning, lane keeping aid, automatic high beam, traffic sign recognition or blind spot information system and satellite navigation, although Ford Australia product communications manager Justin Lacy told GoAuto these options were “something to be considered for the future”.

The Ambiente – replacing the CL model designation of the current range – will be the fleet special with its steel wheels and basic interior. It will be exclusively powered by a 1.6-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine, producing 92kW of power at 6300rpm and 159Nm of torque at 4000rpm and mated with a five-speed manual transmission on the hatch.

A six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic will be standard-fit on the sedan and optional on the hatch, but this transmission choice will not become available until November, meaning that base-spec Focus sedans will not go on sale until then.

In manual form, official Australian figures show the 1.6 to be capable of returning combined fuel economy of 6.2 litres per 100 kilometres and emitting 144 grams of CO2 per kilometre when running on 95 RON premium unleaded.

The automatic transmission increases these figures to 6.6L/100km and 154g/km, with part of this rise being attributable to the fact that Ambientes equipped with the auto box will miss out on the electric power-assisted steering that comes with all other models.

Diesel is also unavailable on Ambiente, and like the rest of the range, it gains Ford’s Torque Vectoring Control to help control front-wheel drive torque steer.

Ambiente standard equipment includes remote central locking, power windows, trip computer, air-conditioning, adjustable steering, Bluetooth, voice control, six-speak audio, six airbags – including side curtain bags for front and rear passengers – ABS, ESC and hill-launch assist.

Next model up the ranks is the Trend – replacing the LX – which gets the bigger 2.0-litre GDi direct-injection petrol engine producing 125kW of power at 6600rpm and 202Nm of toque at 4450rpm.

Ford claims this engine, with its 12:1 compression ratio and electronic solenoid valve control, to be “the most powerful and fuel-efficient normally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine in the small car class”.

The engine, offered from launch with a choice of five-speed manual or six-speed PowerShift automatic transmissions, is said to be one of the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder engines Ford has offered, delivering enough power to trump main rivals such as the Holden Cruze, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Golf and Hyundai i30.

It even outperforms the Mazda3’s 2.5-litre SP25 by 3kW, although the Mazda’s larger displacement enables a 25Nm torque advantage – and Mazda is about to hit back with its new super-efficient SkyActiv engine range.

Ford has extracted promising fuel economy and CO2 figures from its 2.0-litre petrol engine, in manual form matching the 1.6 automatic’s 6.6L/100km and 154g/km. These increase by just 0.1L/100km and 2g/km when mated to the dual-clutch auto, making it more powerful and economical than an automatic Holden Cruze 1.4-litre iTi.

Equipment levels on the Trend step up with 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, rear parking sensors, body coloured door handles, cruise control, leather gearshift knob and lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat.

An optional pack provides auto headlights, auto rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming rear view mirror and ‘follow-me-home’ lighting.

These features are standard equipment on the Focus Sport, which also gets bigger 17-inch alloys, rear spoiler on the hatch, heated power adjustable side mirrors with indicator lamps, LED tail lamps on the hatch, an upgraded Sony audio system with nine speakers and colour screen, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear view mirros, Eco Mode driver information system, sports seats, ambient cabin lighting, leather steering wheel, centre console with armrest, illuminated vanity mirrors, rear seat folding centre armrest and front scuff plates.

The top-of-the-range Titanium adds 18-inch alloys, six-speed Powershift dual-clutch transmission as standard, active park assist, keyless entry, start button, partial leather seats, trip computer, four-way power driver’s seat and heated front seats.

An optional Sports Pack includes adaptive cruise control, bi-xenon HID headlights with cornering lamps and LED running lights and power sunroof.

The third launch engine will be the 2.0-litre turbo diesel, which with 120kW almost matches its similarly-sized petrol counterpart in terms of power but predictably generates more torque, at 350Nm.

Available as an automatic-only option from launch on all Focus Sport and Titanium variants, the oil-burning powerplant also will be available with the Trend trim level from October.

Until Ford decides to import the super-frugal 1.6-litre diesel Econetic variant to Australia, the 2.0-litre TDCi will remain the economy leader, with combined consumption of 5.5L/100km, matching the base petrol engine’s CO2 emissions of 144g/km.

Although the small Ford is matched on power and beaten by 10Nm of torque by the Cruze, it gains ground in the economy stakes. The diesel Cruze comes close in manual form with 5.6L/100km but to compare like with like, its automatic figure of 6.7L/100km does not come close to the Focus figure.

Of course, the Cruze has ‘made in Australia’ stamped on it, whereas Ford has to source the Focus from Germany until the Thai factory comes online next year. In other markets, Ford offers 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol and turbo diesel engines that further improve efficiency with idle-stop.

The Focus is Ford’s first global car, designed to appeal to all markets, and one at which the company has thrown all its technology. In the US, for example, the Focus is available with leading-edge technology including MyKey that enables the car’s owner to program a key to apply settings such as top speed restrictions, maximum audio volume and the level of annoyance meted out by the seatbelt reminder.

Also available in the US is a system that enables the driver to start the engine and pre-warm or pre-cool the car using a key fob, Ford’s Sync infotainment system, which enables voice operation of MP3 players and Bluetooth phones while offering in-car services such as emergency assistance, turn-by-turn directions and business search.

Ford recently announced that it is developing a car seat that can wirelessly monitor the driver’s heart rate to monitor the health of at-risk people on the move and provide not only real-time health information but alert them to imminent cardiovascular issues such as a heart attack, giving them time to pull safely to the side of the road and contact the emergency services.

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