Two days ago in East London Ford Europe launched the new Ford Focus, the fourth generation Focus. This launch is important because it is the 20th year that the Focus has been in production.
I felt sad when I realised the press launch was just next to my WeWork Spitalfields office. For a long time, I gave up on the automotive industry. I was an early blogger and couldn’t get a grip with the press officers. They couldn’t identify what I was. So, I gave up. Nowadays, there are more bloggers than journalists. However my bad experiences prevented me from attending the press launches. However, this time, I really wanted to be at that press launch.
In 1998, Ford made a serious decision and ceased the production of the Escort. In its place they created a brand new model, the Focus. The first generation Focus had a revolutionary design and state-of-the-art handling. Twenty years ago, most of the manufacturers were using torsion beam suspension, but the Focus offered with the multi-link rear suspension.
The interior quality was adequate for the time, and with regard to reliability, the Focus was the benchmark. As a result, you still see them running.
The exterior design? It was like a spaceship landed on Earth. Everyone was talking about the Focus and looking at it. If Instagram had been available in 1998, Focus would be really popular! However, the second and the third generations never managed to improve on the exterior design of the first generation Focus. They were in the shade of the iconic first generation model.
Now things have changed. We live in a connected world and people don’t buy cars anymore. Bear in mind, my first car was a 2004 Ford Focus. Now, living in London, I don’t have a motivation to own a car.
The fourth generation Focus is unique. It was launched onto the market with state-of-the-art technologies. Now, it can detect a pothole and the suspension prevents the wheel dropping into the pothole. The car then tells the rear-wheel to do the same. A similar technology is used in the Audi A8, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Also, you can now adjust the firmness of the suspension. There is 360-degree cameras, semi-autonomous driving, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, cross traffic alert, wrong way alert, inflatable seatbelts, post-collision braking, pre-collision assist with pedestrian and cyclist detection. And lastly, there is a new SYNC3 system, which is not really tempting.
Avoid the entry level Ford Focus model because it has torsion beam rear suspension to reduce the cost. The new Focus is based on a new platform called C2, and Ford decided to follow the route of the VW and introduce torsion beam. The dual-clutch gearbox has also vanished from the Focus. BMW has removed it as well! Now you can get 8-speed automatic (1-lt 123HP and 148 HP / 1.5-lt diesel 118HP and 2-lt diesel) or 6-speed manual.
Overall, the new Ford Focus looks amazing. Just replace the badge with an Audi one and people will not know the difference. I really loved the Vignale spec. It is expensive but worth it. However, I felt really sad not attending the press launch in the Focus’s 20th year.