Every 90 seconds, somewhere in the world, a Ford Focus is born. This level of automotive fecundity may come as a surprise to us South Africans, as the Focus has never really been considered a major player in this market. But, with more than 12 million units sold worldwide, perhaps the rest of the world knows something we don’t… Whatever the reason, if you’re lucky enough to sample the latest iteration, you’ll soon realise that the new Focus is set to make significant gains in its local market sector.
Why? Well, for three reasons that we’d argue. One, it’s a distinctively styled, well-made, well-designed, mid-sized car. Two, it has some really exciting engines. And, three, it’s keenly priced. We were lucky enough to drive the new range at a recent launch held in the Eastern Cape, in and around Port Elizabeth… The range consists of a 4-door sedan with 421-litre boot and a 5-door hatch, both powered by either a 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre turbocharged motor. (A diesel will arrive in due course).
Don’t let the engine size put you off: these two motors belong to the EcoBoost range and punch way above their weight. How does 92 kW for the 1.0-litre grab you? It’s ‘bigger’ 1.5-litre brother delivers 132 kW and 240 Nm. What’s more, the new range is up to 19 percent more fuel-efficient than the outgoing units and boasts related drops in CO² emissions.
Both motors drive through a 6-speed manual transmission and a 6-speed automatic will find its way here in months to come. From a styling perspective, both models present modern, sporty lines with a palatable amount of flourish. Besides the badges, the handsome inverted trapezoidal grille also tells you that you’re looking at a Ford. Inside, the designers have held back; the interior is more restrained, but still oozes class and quality. Interestingly, there’s less switchgear to be seen than on previous models; it’s part of a concerted effort to make the interior more accessible and user-friendly.