What is it?
In its pomp, the Ford Focus was a giant of our continent’s car market worth more than half-a-million annual European-market registrations; but to find a year in which it recorded even half of that tally now you have to look back more than a decade. Landmark car or not, this hatchback’s sales fortunes are dwindling, and that helps to explain quite a lot about Ford’s latest model line overhaul for it.
This brings a refreshed look, a new cabin layout and plenty of new infotainment and active safety features for the Focus, but it disguises plenty of cuts too. Where a couple of years ago there was a range of three- and four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in the car, now only the originally entry-level ‘EcoBlue’ options remain on the diesel side, while the upper-level 1.5-litre petrol options have been dropped also.
Ford is using its 48-volt mild hybrid technology to bring a little variety back into the Focus’s technical armoury. The firm’s multi-award-winning three-pot Ecoboost petrol motor can be had with or without this simplified hybrid arrangement; producing up to 153bhp and 177lb ft, if you have it; and now also in combination with a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox for the first time (although our test car had a six-speed manual).
The Focus’s showroom range is now made up of entry-level ‘Trend’, mid-range ‘Titanium’, sporty ‘ST-Line’ and crossover-inspired ‘Active’ trim levels, and of regular hatchback and five-door estate bodystyles. Ford’s rather ill-fated ‘Vignale’ luxury trim level, meanwhile, has been turned into a glorified options package available on all but the bottom-rung car.
On an ST-Line car it gets you a ‘B&O’ premium audio system, an alloy wheel upgrade, ‘Sensico’ synthetic heated leather seats, digital instruments, a wireless charging pad, a ski hatch and some styling touches. It’ll cost you £2200, which could seem steep on a ‘regular’ Focus that might already cost more than £30,000 before you tick any options boxes - but that’s the territory in which this car now finds itself.
The Focus’s volume-selling glory days are behind it; in order to make financial sense for Ford, it now has to turn a profit via the most direct route available - and that means offering more to the customer than it used to both inside and out.