Wednesday, February 26, 2014

First Look: 2015 Ford Focus


Since the Focus' redesign for 2012, global sales – it is built in eight plants and sold in 140 countries -- rank it the world's bestselling nameplate. To sharpen its focus on the globally dominant C-segment, Ford is restyling the car's front and rear, spiffing up the interior, and upgrading the infotainment and driver-assistance gear for 2015. The changes will be unveiled on the hatchback in March at Geneva, with the sedan following in April at the New York show. The new face of the Ford family of fine cars finally arrives on the Focus, with the familiar grille set in a new fascia framed by a revised hood and those currently fashionable bulging headlamps, with projector beams and chrome-accented LED fogs on fancier-spec variants. The design emphasizes a horizontal, lower, wider aspect and is said to improve the car's drag coefficient slightly. Out back, the hatch is also new, and is now laser-brazed for a smoother appearance. The rear fascia and taillamps have also been retooled, but the doors, fenders, and roof remain the same.

Inside, the center stack is cleaned up and simplified. Sync will now be fitted to all Foci, controlled by a standard 4.2-inch or an optional 8-inch touch screen that's new to the Focus. A standard rear-view camera also utilizes these screens to warn of danger behind. There's more and better storage and cupholders, and owners wielding iOS or Android smartphones will now be able to enjoy more than 60 apps with more on the way, thanks to the developer-friendly enhanced Sync AppLink system. These apps can access onboard vehicle data such as speed, acceleration, odometer, and location information -- the last of which can be considerably more accurate than phone-based GPS info.

The direct-injected 2.0-liter continues as the base engine, backed by a five-speed manual or six-speed dry-dual-clutch automatic, but the optional engine is the multiple-award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-banger that already accounts for 32 percent of sales of the current Focus in other markets. We've been impressed with this engine's smoothness and power output in the Fiesta SFE. As in that application, no automatic will be offered, but the manual gets an extra cog in the Focus, for six total. No further numbers have been provided, but expect to pay extra for the 1.0-liter. We hope it costs less and/or makes more output than in the Fiesta SFE, where a $995 premium buys 123 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. That might be a tougher sell against a base engine that currently makes 160 hp and 146 lb-ft, even though the EcoBoost fuel economy is expected to eclipse the current Focus SFE's 28/40 EPA city/hwy. The Focus EV will continue and will share the upgrades made to its gas brethren.


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