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Geneva show: Updated Ford Focus revealed

Sharp focus: Ford’s facelifted Focus gains similar front-end styling to that of the updated Fiesta and next-gen Mondeo,

Ford sharpens Focus styling while simplifying cabin as part of a mid-life facelift

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Ford logo24 Feb 2014

UPDATED 16:00 AEST FORD has revealed the updated version of its biggest-selling car, the Focus, replete with a suite of new small-capacity turbo engines from its EcoBoost family and a revised cabin design.

The reveal, which took place overnight at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona ahead of an appearance at the Geneva motor show next month, comes hours after images and details of the hatch and wagon versions leaked onto the web.

As expected, the updated Focus gets the same Aston Martin-esque grille as other models in the Blue Oval’s passenger car line-up, including the Fiesta and Mondeo/Fusion. It will join the Ford Australia stable around the same time as the latter, during the first quarter of 2015.

Along with the grille, the Focus gains a new front bumper that does away with the triangular air intakes of the current model as well as redesigned headlights and a new bonnet with contoured lines, making for a sharper front end.

At the rear, Ford has tidied up the tail-lights with a narrower design, while the bumper looks new and the tailgate has also been given a subtle tweak.

The Blue Oval designers have given the cabin a cleaner look by replacing the fussy audio dials and multi-function control at the top of the centre stack with a larger display screen sitting above the simpler audio controls and CD player.

A new three-spoke steering wheel replaces the four-spoke unit of the current model. According to Ford, interior storage is improved over the old model with a new centre console incorporating adjustable cup-holders, and a new easier-to-access glove box.

In the US at least, a reversing camera will be standard across the range, viewed either via a default 4.2-inch screen, or for buyers wanting the Ford MyTouch infotainment system, an eight-inch screen.

Other technology includes a blind-spot monitor to prevent the Focus changing lanes into the path of an oncoming car, a lane-keeping assistant that vibrates the steering wheel and pulls the Focus back into its lane if it starts to stray out, and a smartphone-style app interface that owners can choose to download to the car.

European versions of the car are also expected to feature a smart braking system that can potentially stop the Focus rear-ending the car in front at speeds of up to 50km/h.

Leading the charge in terms of powertrains will be a new 1.5-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder petrol tuned to either 100kW or 132kW of power and using similar technology to the familiar 1.0-litre engine already used Down Under in the Fiesta and EcoSport.

This 1.0-litre three-pot engine – a two-time winner of International Engine of the Year with a block small enough for airline carry-on – also features in overseas versions of the Focus, but GoAuto understands it is unlikely to make it to Australia, at least at launch.

The current 2.0-litre turbo-diesel offering is also expected to continue, but with fuel efficiency improvements of up to 14 per cent. In addition, the range-opening 92kW 1.6 petrol engine will likely be available once more.

The car-maker said the work was not all about changing the look of the Focus.

“In addition to the many advancements in exterior styling, interior design, powertrain and technology, the new Focus will also benefit from suspension and chassis upgrades,” it said.

“These include a new shock absorber valve design providing improved interior quietness, a new electronic stability program system with less intrusion and improved comfort, and a change to the rear suspension to give drivers a more connected feel to the road.” “We have taken the title of world’s best-selling nameplate to impressive new heights with the redesigned Focus,” Ford executive vice-president Joe Hinrichs said.

“Its combination of compelling, modern design and the most high-tech interior in the class will appeal to contemporary consumers who desire a small car with very sophisticated features.

“What makes Focus so attractive to consumers today – being great to drive, delivering exceptional fuel economy and value, and offering leading-edge in-car technologies – is amplified with the new Focus.” The current third-generation Focus arrived in local showrooms in August 2011 and slowly built up sales momentum after a relatively slow start.

Ford sold 19,180 examples in 2013 – a 3.2 per cent boost over 2012 – and was the fifth best-selling small car on the Australian market behind the top-selling Toyota Corolla (43,498), Mazda3 (42,082), Hyundai i30 (30,582) and the Holden Cruze (24,421).

In January this year Ford shifted 2074 Focus’, beating out the Cruze’s haul of 1395 units.

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