Next year's Focus breaks cover
The next-generation Ford Focus - Britain's best-selling car - is due to go on sale next year, and it will have received more than just a mild makeover. It will be built on the new platform which forms the basis of the recently-launched C-MAX compact MPV, the Mazda 3 and the all-new Volvo S40, and be longer, wider and more spacious inside. These photos hint at a less bulbous, more elegant side profile for the hatchback, though a Ford spokeswoman told us that they don't give any clues as to the final appearance of the front end: apparently, this will have some "very different detailing", and a whole new look. The nose won't resemble that of the Visos concept displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, however: the design and development of Focus Mk 2 pre-dates that project, and was already signed off before the Visos was styled.
Engines on offer in the Focus will include new 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre SCi direct-injection petrol units, the latter as already offered in the Mondeo, and revised versions of the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDCi diesels. A new semi-automatic gearbox will be offered in higher-powered variants, with steering wheel-mounted controls and a double clutch system similar to that in Audi's DSG 'box. High-performance versions will follow, but apparently there are no plans to introduce a four-wheel drive version, despite Ford's testing of such technology (see separate Focus C-MAX story). We've also been told that there are "definitely no plans" for a Focus-based coupe, despite the positive reception given to the Capri-like Visos, though we wouldn't rule it out at a later date. The new Focus range will consist of hatchback, estate and saloon models only, as well as the C-MAX, at least at the time of launch.
Ford is preparing the launch of the all-new generation Focus. Here are photos showing for the first time a prototype of the three-door model with some disguise at front and rear end, and the five-door hatchback. The latter picture is the first to reveal that model's new styling.
The forthcoming second generation Focus will spawn the replacement for the world's best-selling car from March 2004 on (hatchback, sedan, wagon). It was expected to make its debut at this fall's Frankfurt Motor Show, simultaneously with the new VW Golf 5 and the new Opel Astra, but was not shown.
Ford will offer the Focus again as three- and five-door hatchbacks, four-door sedan, and a station wagon. The sportier versions and possibly a coupe are expected to come to market later. With the new Focus the company is striving for more quality of the new model generation. It is a completely new vehicle, and the platform will be used also by Volvo and Mazda. Power comes from a brand-new engine, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivering 150 hp, in some versions.
The most significant development is the Focus's growth spurt: The wheelbase is 103.9 inches and overall length is 171.3 inches, thus providing considerably more space in the passenger compartment.
The new Focus will be offered with four-wheel disc brakes. Other safety features will include dual-stage front airbags, side curtain airbags, and seat-mounted front side airbags.