The truth is that a car's mid-life facelift often runs so deep it's hardly a facelift these days. Especially when, often, a platform is carried over to what's badged as a complete new-generation model, like the Volkswagen Touareg.
The lines between generation and makeover blur. Recent ‘facelifts’? The Vauxhall VXR8 is barely recognisable from the car that preceded it. The Ferrari California T has the same chassis as the California, but to all practical purposes is a new model.
And even this new Ford Focus, a more obvious mid-life refresh, has been the recipient of more than a wash and brush-up.
Not that we thought it necessarily needed it in all areas. The Volkswagen Golf might lead the class for interior feel and cabin quietness (and overall, to most eyes, as a result), but the Focus is still, to our testers' hands and feet, the stand-out driver’s car in the class.
Ford has revised the dynamics anyway. And the rest. We've come to Lommel, Ford's proving ground in Belgium, to give it a look over and do that 'sit in the passenger seat' thing that tells you quite a lot, but frustratingly not enough, both at the same time.
First, the essentials, then: the cabin has been revised. There's a new steering wheel design, similar architecture to before but a fresh façade on it, and a large touch-screen. A more 'cockpit'-like feel is the promise, as so often it is. And as it so often is, it doesn't look to me much like the interior of an aircraft.
Still , material surfaces are vastly improved in feel. Many are softer, and that's important, engineers will tell you, for reducing cabin noise. “Customers link quietness to quality,” says Stephan Presser, Ford of Europe’s vehicle engineering manager.