2015 Ford Focus first drive


Ford FocusThe new-look Ford Focus Hatchback and Estates raise the bar for its rivals to clear with its latest engines, refined chassis and improved sophistication and equipment.



There are the new 1.5 EcoBoost petrol engines along with a new 1.5 diesel unit and some of the existing engines have been re-worked to deliver more power and economy as well.


While a lot of emphasis is being placed on the voice-activated Sync2 infotainment system in the car, and it is good, there is no denying the mechanical prowess of the product.


The familiar but retuned small three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost petrol unit goes surprisingly well in 125ps form with a six-speed manual gearbox – a 6-speed automatic is coming later in 2015 – and it will happily keep up with the motorway, main road or urban commute but it is the latest 1.5 EcoBoost petrol unit made in Bridgend Engine Plant South Wales which is more pleasing.


There is a gutsy 182PS we tested as well as 150ps derivative and it delivers strong pulling power mid-range when you are not contentedly cruising in the overdrive 5th or 6th gears.


Ford FocusFord FocusFord FocusOver some very demanding Spanish mountain roads of questionable surface quality, the bigger 182ps EcoBoost was very responsive, forgiving, powerful and composed. A very light flick of the wrist 6-speed gearbox meant you could maximize the engine’s power and the new electric steering and reassuring brakes instilled confidence with their feel and feedback.


The smaller 125ps 1.0 EcoBoost petrol engines had to be worked harder but it was never struggling or unduly noisy and it produced 30.1mpg on test compared to the 26.1mpg achieved with the 1.5 EcoBoost.


A spell in the revised 150ps 2.0 diesel, 6-speed manual saw it return 49mpg and there is bags of pulling power underfoot and its extremely flexible, making it an ideal model for high mileage or towing purposes.


The new Focus Hatch or Estate is a very well sorted handling car with really good ride quality, reasonably good room and it oozes refinement with its black satin trim and chrome detailing inside.


Sophistication comes with the Sync2 system which was designed to make every secondary control function a two or three click operation to minimize distractions and improve road safety.


Parents will have remote control of their youngsters too in the new generation Focus in dealerships for November. Mums and dads will be able to set vehicle’s maximum speed, the stereo’s volume or its ability to be turned on at all if seatbelts aren’t worn, and remove the ability to disengage safety features like traction control.


It’s all done through a master-key which sets the limits according to the parents’ wishes and they hand over a slave key to the driver who cannot alter the settings. The system is also available on the new Fiesta.


The new generation Sync2 infotainment system, which is standard on upper models and optional on others, has a bigger 8-inch screen centrally mounted on the stack which makes the driver’s display look very small as a result.


Prices are roughly those of the outgoing model and insurance groups have to be confirmed but are expected to be similar to the current model as improved safety features will impact on the premiums. Early reports from independent analysts suggest new Focus will have a residual value about 12% higher than the outgoing versions.


The 1.6 petrol engine has been replaced with the newest Bridgend-built 1.5 EcoBoost and this new engine matches the 180bhp and 177lb ft of pulling power of the outgoing one, while achieving improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions of 127g/km. A 148bhp option will also be available.


Ford FocusThe new Dagenham-built 1.5-litre diesel with 94bhp, 104bhp or 118bhp replaces the 104bhp and 113bhp 1.6 TDCi but there was no opportunity to test this at the media launch in Spain this week.

The outgoing Focus was the first Ford to get parallel parking assistance, and the new 2015 model will add a self-parking function that can steer the car into bays. Park-Out Assist is also new, which helps with exiting a tight parking space, while Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers of vehicles moving across their reversing line.


New Focus prices start at £13,995 for the entry-level Studio model, rising to £21,795 for the Titanium X trim, which represents a £100 reduction on the same trim level from the outgoing car. Since its 1998 launch over 12-million Focus models have been sold globally, 6.9-million in Europe and 1.5-million in the UK. At the eight plants making the car around the world, 1.5-million are made every 12 months, a rate of one every 90-seconds.

Currently there are 12 powertrain options compared to just five in 1998, but Ford plan to roll out more over the next 12 months under the hatch and estate bodystyles, including petrol and diesel ST versions early next year.

Ford Focus project manager Rainer Wode said the new model represented the best teamwork between the UK and German engineering teams and added, “We are very proud of the engineering which has gone into this car which we will see for many years to come in Europe and the rest of the world. We have really good people working on this car and they have shown a tremendous passion which you can see in the every part of the car.”

Ford of Britain marketing director Anthony Ireson said Focus has dominated the British market for a 16 years and the new model has been created to meet changing expectations for the future, particularly its technology.

Although its sales are dominated by fleet purchasers, he said there are more private buyers now ordering the car and the newest cleaner 1.0 EcoBoost is growing in popularity among retail purchasers.


MILESTONES: New Ford Focus1.5 EcoBoost, 182ps petrol, Titanium X 5-Door Hatchback. Price: £23,520. Mechanical: 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol, 182ps (180bhp), 240Nm (177lb ft) of torque from 1,600rpm, 6-speed manual with auto start-stop. Performance: Max 139mph, 0-62mph 8.6-seconds. Fuel: 51.4mpg Combined Cycle (26.1mpg on test) Emissions/ tax: 127gkm, VED road tax £0 First Year rate then £110 Year Two onwards, BIK company car tax 18%. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles.  Insurance group: TBA For: Refinement, driving dynamics, ride comfort, performance, equipment, new Sync2 infotainment system. Against: Not the roomiest in its class, can be thirsty when worked hard.  Miles better news agency

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