The Blue Oval freezes the price of the entry-level Focus variant, due on sale in November, and lops £100 off the cost of top-end Titanium models
Julian Rendell
2 September 2014

The facelifted Ford Focus will cost from £13,995, the same as the current model, when it goes on sale in November.

Ford's biggest-selling global car has undergone a significant refresh that adds more technology, improved cabin quality, new powertrains, some cosmetic revisions and a raft of chassis and handling tweaks.  

The range retains a six-level line-up of Studio (from £13,995), Style (£16,795), Zetec (£18,295), Zetec S (£20,045), Titanium (£19,795) and Titanium X (£21,795). The prices of the high-level Titanium and Titanium X versions are £100 less than the current equivalents.

The entry-level model will continue to be a 1.6-litre TI-VCT petrol in Studio trim equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox. The cheapest diesel variant will cost £17,895 for a 1.6 TDCi in Style trim with a six-speed manual transmission. The entry-level estate-bodied car is the 1.6-litre petrol at £17,880. 

Ford product development boss Joe Bakaj has pledged that the new Focus, heavily revised in the latest generation, will regain its slot as the best-handling car in the class.

Stung by the handling prowess of the latest Volkswagen Golf, which ousted the Focus as the best-handling car in the class, Ford has engineered a raft of detailed chassis changes as part of a deep-facelift that also includes four re-tooled body panels, revised front and rear bumpers, new front and rear lights, a new dashboard and new cleaner engines.

"We want our handling crown back, that's why our engineers put a lot of effort into revamping the Focus chassis," said a determined Bakaj at a launch event for the new Focus earlier this year.

Many of the detailed chassis components are replaced or retuned, starting with new, more expensive front dampers, which now offer more subtle body control thanks to two extra steps in the damper valving.

The springing stays the same, but there are new, stiffer bushes both front and rear, aimed at firming the chassis in a lateral direction with the benefit of more stability.

"The turn-in was already pretty good," says Bakaj, "but the new Focus has less delay on turn-in and that extra edge of bite in cornering."

Also retuned is the electric power steering, which Bakaj says now offers better 'on-centre' feel. "The steering wheel weighting is now much more progressive, too," he adds.

More handling improvements come from a reprogrammed ESC system, which is said to operate more smoothly with more gentle intervention.

As a result, Bakaj says the new Focus is now more stable in extreme lane-change manoeuvres and can tackle slalom-type courses at higher speed. "It gives you more confidence," he adds.

The roll centres have also been adjusted by subtle geometry changes, which reduce cornering body roll.

The facelift program – the Focus was all-new only in 2010 – is the deepest-ever mid-cycle re-fresh applied to Ford’s best-seller since the Focus nameplate was launched in 1998 and follows on from similarly significant revisions applied to the new Fiesta last year.

Indeed Ford's European chief Stephen Odell said: "The changes are so substantial I prefer to call it an all-new car. It's not just the bodywork and interior, but the technology, the suspension and so on. The focus on ride and handling is crucial - it's long been referred to as part of Ford's DNA and we think the changes keep us right there."

Ford has also freshened the Focus visually, with new metalwork, bumpers, grille and lights, created under Ford Europe design director Steffan Lamm. The centrepiece of the new look is a hallmark, trapezoidal grille, now positioned higher up on the Focus nose in what Lamm describes as a 'prouder' position.

The grille in these pictures features five chromed bars with a chrome surround and will be standard on top-spec Titanium models. Entry-level and mid-spec models will feature a matt-black mesh grille, which may appear sportier than this glitzy Titanium version.

"The grille is up high and looks more sophisticated. We have a sporty look, but with a touch of sophistication," says Lamm. Also new are more narrow, less dominant headlamps, a feature that Lamm says will become a feature on all new Ford models.

"Slimmer headlights are part of our design DNA. We did the same on the new Fiesta," adds Lamm. A new bonnet pressing now adds more shape with a centre 'power dome' leading down to the grille-mounted Ford blue oval badge.

To fit the new narrower headlamps and deeper front bumper moulding, Ford says it has also re-tooled the front wings, although the changes are subtle. As significant are the rear styling changes, where a new tailgate pressing features fewer parts, and is laser-welded for greater stiffness.

The new tail-lamps take on a wider proportion, but cleverly Ford has avoided having to re-tool the rear wing panel by retaining the same shape of lamp where the lens wraps around the body side. The tailgate glass is also retained, again to save expensive re-tooling.

A range of revised engines, including a new 88g/km diesel and 99g/km petrol, will also keep the Focus competitive with rivals and all engines now meet EU6 regulations.

The Focus is the first car to be fitted with a new Bridgend-built 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, with 148bhp and 177bhp power outputs. Also new is a 1.5TDCi with outputs of 94bhp and 118bhp and built in Dagenham.

Entry-level models will continue to be powered by the 1.0-litre EcoBoost in either 99bhp or 123bhp versions, and a new version will offer 99g/km, which Ford claims as the first non-hybrid family hatch to slot below 100g/km.

Detailed improvements to the 2.0 TDCi are said to have improved economy by 14 per cent when matched to a manual transmission and 13 per cent with the auto. Also coming is a 1.5 TDCi mated to a Powershift auto, which promises a 19 per cent economy improvement over the outgoing version.

Ford says it responded to customer feedback and has redesigned the Focus centre console to eliminate the 'multi-button' look that many drivers disliked. "Technology has moved so fast with touchscreens becoming available, so we listened to Ford buyers and invested in a cleaner-looking dashboard," says Ford Europe boss Barb Samardzich.

A battery of 18 electronic driver aid 'Assist' technologies have also been added to the Focus for the first time.

The new Focus is the first Ford to offer Perpendicular Parking, an additional hands-free parking technology to help drivers reverse into spaces alongside other vehicles.

The system operates in the same way as the existing Active Park Assist technology, and is made possible thanks to new sensors incorporated at the rear of the car.

These extra sensors also enable Ford to offer two more parking systems: Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may be about to pass behind them, and Park-Out Assist, which helps drivers with exiting a parallel parking space. 

As important is second-generation Sync II software for the driver interface, which is now cleaner looking, and claimed to be simpler in operation. It features a high-resolution, eight-inch colour touch screen and voice control to access audio, navigation, climate control and mobile phones.

Sync II’s navigation system also offers a split-screen display – which is a first for a Ford vehicle in Europe. Ford's MyKey technology – which allows owners to restrict the vehicle's top speed and programme restrictions on other controls – is carried over from the Fiesta.

At the heart of the revised interior is a new, sportier-looking three-spoke steering wheel.

Our Verdict

Ford Focus 2011-2014

Can the Ford Focus capture the hearts and minds of hatchback buyers?

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Comments
31

24 February 2014
"The facelift program — the Focus was all-new only in 2010 — is the deepest-ever mid-cycle re-fresh applied to Ford’s best-seller since the Focus nameplate was launched in 1998." Wrong Autocar, the Mk 2 had the most thorough facelift when all the sheetmetal, bar the roof, was changed. And the fact the current Focus was launched 4 years ago suggests that now is the time for a tweak, but you make it out as this is an early revamp. This isn't like the 1990 Escort, facelifted after only 2 years!

25 February 2014
Absolutely correct Saucerer. Remember though most motoring JOURNALISTS are too young to remember what happened in 2010 and are only treading water until they get an opportunity to write weather headlines for the Daily Express

24 February 2014
It's better, hopefully in the flesh it'll do as much good as the 08 facelift did for the last model. The current Focus only looks decent in black or dark blue, otherwise it looks a complete mess. I also wish Ford would do a coupe or something exciting. We can't all afford a BMW.

Boulle

24 February 2014
Boulle wrote:

It's better, hopefully in the flesh it'll do as much good as the 08 facelift did for the last model. The current Focus only looks decent in black or dark blue, otherwise it looks a complete mess. I also wish Ford would do a coupe or something exciting. We can't all afford a BMW.

I agree about the Focus being a complete mess. When Ford's Kinetic styling was first seen on the S-Max,Galaxy and Mondeo, it looked understated but good. Then it got a bit brash for the Fiesta and first Kuga which, while attractive, made those cars age quickly, but when Kinetic appeared on the Focus, C-Max and B-Max, what a total mess! These cars not only look uncohesive and wierdly proportioned, but their styling is trying too hard and as a result they look cheap and unsophisticated. This facelift certainly improves matters up front and the rear, but the rest of the Focus is still a mess. I hope the Mk 4 model looks more balanced and mature. The new Mondeo/Fusion has set out Ford's current design language so fingers crossed that the next Focus does't look like a dogs dinner. But then, that's what happened to the current model despite the stylish S-Max/Galaxy/Mondeo.

24 February 2014
Well... actually Focus seemed to lag behind competition and it did need a boost. It seems the changes do improve many aspects but I am afraid the new look is not very succesful... especially the new front grill that might look similar to Fiesta but in the Focus it looses some appeal. With Golf being neutrally styled as usual but all round appealing, V40 smashing the sales, Auris having at last a quality aspect and Astra being a serious better looking Golf alternative, Focus had little advantages to pose. Unfortunately the looks is a serious weakness in my opinion for a car in that difficult segment. Focus can be noted as a 'very decent car' but I am fraid nothing more than that...

:ghost:

25 February 2014
johnspan wrote:

Well... actually Focus seemed to lag behind competition. With Golf being all round appealing, V40 smashing the sales, Auris having at last a quality aspect and Astra being a serious better looking Golf alternative, Focus had little advantages to pose.

I'd like to address this nonsense with the Focus being a Golf rival. I run both current models, as I did mk5, mk6 and mk2.5 focus. The magazines will tell you they are rivals but if paying with your own money (ie real world prices), you'll pay £4000 upwards extra for the Golf. The Golf is also the more expensive car to run due to depreciation. Each car obviously has it's pros and cons, I love my Golfs but each one of them has required some very expensive repairs, luckily all done under warranty or 'good will gesture' basis. Touch wood, nothing has gone wrong with any of the Fords. V40 smashing sales? Well that wouldn't be hard as their sales were pretty poor in the first place. Compared to the previous generation S40 and even older V40 (the older estate version when Volvo was owned by Volvo), the latest V40 sales is a disaster. The Auris? well that's beyond comment and the Astra may have the looks but it also drives much worse, has ancient engines and I'm led to believe Vauxhall have just stumbled upon something called DAB radio. I'm not even sure they provide USB's. The Focus is light years ahead of the Astra in terms of technology. I also drove an A3 Sport recently - not only did that not have DAB, (listening to Radio 5 live via AM thru it's TWO speakers!) it didn't even have a trip computer. I had to resort to pen and paper to work out my mpg! something I haven't done in any car since the late 90's! The Focus has never lagged behind the competition. Add to that, a national Ford dealership were selling 1.0 ecoboost del miles '63 plate Zetecs for under £12k last month, at that price the Focus is a seriously good buy.

24 February 2014
Think this looks far better than the current Focus. When is the C-Max due for a revamp it must be next surely.

24 February 2014
... and ditch the comically-large, style-destroying headlights so prevalent over recent years, as Ford are promising to do. It's one of the reasons the new front on this car works.

Wide cars in a world of narrow.

25 February 2014
Herald wrote:

... and ditch the comically-large, style-destroying headlights so prevalent over recent years, as Ford are promising to do. It's one of the reasons the new front on this car works.

I totally agree. Just look at the new Suzuki S-Cross, a tidy enough design completely ruined by oversized front light units. But its even more annoying on vehicles designed from scratch to use compact LED lighting such as the new S-Class, where they end up filling the space with loads of twiddly bits of plastic.
Back to the Focus, I didn't realise the Golf had become the best handling car in its class - is that the whole range or just the ones with the multi link rear suspension?

24 February 2014
Will have to see one in the metal before making up my mind but it does look better than before. Having said that I think a 308 or Leon looks better. Ford seem to have a really strange design process where successful elements of previous cars are lost when bringing out a new generation car and then they scrabble to fix the problem. The mk 2 looked like it had been made by a different company and was only saved by a huge makeover although the handling was very well judged. The mk 3 then re did the handling set up and messed that up. When all was needed was a Mk2 with a better quality interior and a bit more noise insulation.
Will be interesting to see a full road test...

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