Try Ford Focus 2018, a leap forward
The segment of the compacts wobbles. For this reason, each update or each new generation must be met with great care so as not to lose your market share. The Ford Focus 2018 arrives on the roads, and we have already had the chance to test it.
Who was going to tell us more than a decade ago that the compacts would suffer as they are doing now? The most popular market segment of the old continent struggles to stay on the podium of the best sellers, although it has nothing easy with the pressure of the SUV. We are at a point where each generation that comes to light may be the last, so each renewal must be treated with great care and attention. Such has been the case of the Ford Focus 2018 that has already begun its commercialization stage. I have already had occasion to prove it in its international presence.
Obviously, not all models suffer the same thrust of the SUV. The Focus is one of those cars that takes it quite well, in fact, so far this year occupies the 8th place in the ranking of sales at European level, and that we are facing a car that has finished its commercial stage. The Ford Kuga, on the other hand, is not able to match such sales data, but of course, it is not all focused on Ford models. The segment is very competitive.
So, how to propose the renewal of a sales success? Well, simple, not overcomplicating and following market trends. These are not other than a lot of technology, neutral design and sober behavior accompanied by ridiculous consumption and reduced efficiency. All this may seem simple on paper, but bringing it to reality is not easy because getting balance is a job that takes time, and sometimes is not achieved.
Ford has been developing and refining this new generation of Focus for more than two years, the fourth generation to reach Europe. In the aesthetic section, the truth is that it leaves a bit cold. It happens to all new compacts. Personally, they all resemble each other. The new Focus, compared to the previous one, is not a true revolution in the eyes. The only thing that has been done is to polish a little the appearance of the old softening lines, strengthening the character with different ribs and creating a different color palette. And ready.
I do not consider it as something negative because to me the Focus is one of those cars that I have always liked, but it is true that there comes a point where many rivals in the C segment start to seem too much. Personally, it reminds me of a lot of a Hyundai i30, a FIAT Type, or a Peugeot 308. We could define it as a car to European taste, and I see a lost opportunity on the part of Ford to have acted like this since there are always those who seek to give the jarring note
But come on, that does not mean that I like the style of the new Focus. In addition, as usual, thanks to the different equipment packages we can alter the aesthetic character of the car. From this point of view, the Titanium and ST Line finishes are the ones that provide the most sporting touches and sugarcane, while the Vignale finish is designed for those customers who look for more elegance and sobriety with a greater amount of chrome elements.
Ford has been very pilling because it knows that today SUVs are the most demanded products, but also knows that these may not convince everyone, so in an intermediate plane of a parallel reality the Active finish has been created, as I did with the Ford Fiesta. We still have a Focus, but in this case, the suspension is slightly raised and the black protective plastics that seem to be synonymous with camper are added. As the Subaru XV has been doing for years
But leaving aside the aesthetic aspect, where it has become clear that there is a Ford Focus for each potential buyer, it’s time to jump inside. An interior that leaves you quite indifferent, its clear that the wheel is already invented and that nothing can be done to improve it, but it is also a good idea to get off on a tangent from time to time. Why do I say this? Well because once again the appearance is very similar to that of other models in the segment. In this case the i30.
It is the most common way to present an interior today. It may be the most correct way to conceive an interior in terms of livability and ergonomics, but I still miss something bold, something daring in terms of design is concerned. It is good that the elements have to go in their corresponding place, but so much boredom. That’s what Germanic cars are for.
The main thing is the screen, tactile handling and with a size of up to eight inches, below it is the rest of elements and instruments. The presence of buttons has been reduced thanks to the fact that the screen is capable of absorbing a greater number of functionalities, and I like that Ford has not disposed of the air conditioning module. Easy and fast to operate without having to move several menus across the screen
I know what I said that the interior has left me cold, but that does not mean that I appreciate the evolution that has suffered. He has done it on several levels. One of them is in reference to qualities. Like the rest of the models in the segment, the perceived quality has been improved thanks to better-selected materials that bring that leap of sensations. Also, as we used to Ford, the feeling of durability is tremendous. Finally, the moldings can change depending on the level of equipment selected.
The most sensitive area to be modified is the central tunnel. It will depend on whether we choose manual or automatic change. In the situation of choosing the first one, we will have the traditional lever with its corresponding auxiliary buttons on the sides. On the contrary, if we choose the automatic transmission we find that the lever has been replaced by a selector wheel, placing the rest of the keypad behind. In all cases the handbrake is electric.
Jumping into the driving position we find a more traditional environment, or at least more known. Possibly the view of the driver is the part that changes least with respect to the previous model. The multifunction steering wheel presents a very similar shape, just like the instrument panel that does not fall into the temptation of being digital as it is so fashionable now. Two spheres inform us of the basics and a central display shows us the rest of the data that we may need. Classic as well as functional
Obviously, like any new car worth its salt, the technological section takes on more and more relevance. In this section the jump given that is remarkable. In addition to having all the existing and imaginable driving assistants, such as the blind spot detector, the lane departure warning, the adaptive cruise control with brake function, the camera with obstacle detection, the light assistant connected to Full LED headlights, and the 360º safety system, which thanks to various cameras and sensors monitor everything that surrounds the car, being able to act autonomously to avoid a collision.
That’s all about active and passive safety, at least a part. To all that we must add an interesting endowment that promises to make life on board much more comfortable with the aforementioned screen. Parking camera, light and rain sensors, keyless access and start, SYNC 3 infotainment system with connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, navigator, heated seats, and for the first time in a Ford in Europe, the Head-Up Display
According to studies, technology is already the third most decisive point when buying a car, only surpassed by design and price. For this reason, it is not surprising that today a compact as the Focus has among its equipment with many elements that years ago were only imaginable in the big sedans. And all this achieved despite having a platform, the C2, dating from 2003. Obviously, in this case, has been revised and completely renovated, but that does not mean that it has been very difficult to integrate modern technology.
Some time ago we told you that the new Focus was going to be one of the latest Ford models to use the C2 architecture, which in turn is based on the C1 structure. In future generations, the compact, like the Kuga, will settle on scalar platforms that promise to reduce costs as well as achieve a faster amortization of each product.
This has caused that the growth of Focus has hardly become evident. The total gain is just 12 millimeters, while the wheelbase gains up to 2.7 meters (52 millimeters more). That translates into a more livable car, at least in its rear rows, where it leaves more room for the occupants’ legs. In fact, four occupants will travel very well, while that fifth should occupy a square somewhat more uncomfortable to be narrower and slightly raised. Even so, three people can occupy the back row as long as they are not excessively large. Three child seats do not fit.