Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bucket Seat: 2018 Ford Focus - First Impressions

Ford yesterday showcased their latest Focus range which included the much loved hatch, sedan, station wagon and for the first time, a Focus based cross-over. With the C-Segment market hotting up over the past few years, there have been a few front runners in the market, with VW still being firm favourite going just by purchases. No doubt the Golf has a mighty heritage and many have tried to out do the German's with their own variants. While consumers might have blind faith in one company, its always worth a look at what competitors are doing. Ford have been one of the stronger few over the past decade or more, with their Focus proving to be stiff competition, both in their guise and their sport offerings in the ST and RS models. Built in several plants around the globe, the Focus still remains a predominately UK based model from the American Motor giant. So a lot of this car is molded to the European market and needs. 

Looking at this new model, the design is fresh but still resembles the outgoing model. The car is more sleeker than the older shape, more straight lines and smoother curves, the rear more is elegant and protruding bumper and diffuser gives it that sporty look. In the hatch, it looks like there are two option packages to chose from, the ST Line which offers the customer a sporty look, with blacked out trapezoid front grille, winged type molds at the fog lamps, large five spoke rims, blacked out rear diffuser and twin chrome exhaust pipes. This will definitely be a hit in the local market, as trends show our consumers to opt for the sports packs when it comes to buying new cars. The other option being the Vignale, which is sort of their "Luxury" package, key features are the chrome front grille, silver and chrome trimmings throughout the car, multi-spoke silver rims and dual chrome exhaust pipes on the rear. For some reason I'm preferring this Vignale over the ST Line, both look great but maybe it's the old man in me that is opting for luxury over sport.

Ford also showed their other variants of the Focus range, the Sedan, which in the pictures sports Chinese plates, not sure if this is an indication that the model will only be available in China, seeing that certain manufacturers opt to do this, as seen with BMW and their 1 Series Sedan. The Focus station Wagon is another model that I'm not sure will come to South Africa, for some reason Wagon's don't sell in the local market, most of the time these models make more sense to have but I guess purchases have to do with appeal and Wagon's lack that. 

The interior looks great and whilst similarities might be drawn to competitors models, there are some distinct differences in the Focus. The large 7" infotainment screen takes center stage in the cabin, which comes loaded with Ford Sync 3, which has Apple Car Play and Android Auto capabilities. There is a jog shuttle selector for those who don't want to touch the screen, also depending on the options you chose, there seems to be a host of other buttons below that, I'm guessing its for comfort modes and turning the stability control on and off. The Focus steering wheel has multifuction controls, and an optional heads up display. The interior upholstery has a few options for your fancy, with both leather and cloth on offer. 

There's a new model to get the Focus badge and that's the Ford Focus Active, which is their cross-over model. Looks wise, it looks superb, it's basically the Focus Hatch with some beef! It's height has been raised, given large rims, some brushed metal accessories and scuff plates giving it that rugged look. It's a model that will appeal to the adventure seeker, would have looked cool with some roof racks on it but not quite sure if Ford have plans for that. Also not sure if the car will be AWD, it would be cool if it was. Overall Ford have really upped the anti to this model segment, with VW planning to unveil the Golf 8 soon and with most of the world already surprised at Toyota's new Auris/ Corolla Hatch, it only adds more competition to this important sector. The Focus is set to be launched towards the end of 2018 in South Africa, when we get more details on the models, engines and pricing available here, we will let you know. 

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