1 May 2005
By CHRIS HARRIS
FORD’S second-generation Focus may have looked somewhat less sharp than its startling 1998 predecessor, but it offered improvements in virtually every other area.
Coded LS, it trumped its underperforming predecessor with a much-needed power boost as well as more space, comfort, refinement, economy and value for money.
Again engineered in Germany, the Focus II arrived in four-door CL, LX and Ghia sedans as well as a five-door CL, LX and Zetec hatchback range in ascending order.
Motivation for all models comes courtesy of Ford's 107kW/185Nm Duratec 2.0-litre twin-cam 16V four-cylinder engine also seen in altered form in the Mazda3.
A five-speed manual, or electronically controlled four-speed automatic gearbox with a sequential-shift pattern and grade-control ratio-change adaptability, were the transmission choices.
Underpinning the LS Focus was Ford's C1 platform that shared common componentry with the Mazda3, and Volvo’s S40 and V50.
A 25mm longer wheelbase coupled with a track 40mm wider than before, along with the retention of the old Focus’ Control Blade multi-link rear suspension and a new stiffer front subframe and MacPherson strut set-up, kept the small Ford first dynamically.
Class-leading luggage was another Focus feature (385 litres for the hatch and 510 litres for sedan versus 350L/490L last time).
In April 2006 Ford took a swipe at the popular VW Golf GTI with the Focus XR5.
It borrowed its 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-charged engine from the Volvo S40 T5, resulting in 165kW/320Nm mated to a six-speed manual front-wheel drive transaxle.
Over the more pedestrian Focus the XR5’s overall height dropped 25mm, the firmer riding suspension was tuned for sharper handling, the brakes were upgraded with larger callipers and pads for beefier stopping power and a bodykit was fitted, comprising a honeycomb grille, deeply recessed foglights and rear spoiler.
The car rode on 18-inch alloys with low-profile high-performance tyres.
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