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|16th February 2017, 06:14||#1|
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Spy Pics: The 2019 Ford Focus
The next Ford Focus is ramping up for a 2019 launch, with engineers currently testing late-build prototypes.
Spotted by Autocar UK' photographers, these images show the fourth-generation model’s real skin beneath a disguise being tested in arctic conditions. Such testing only takes place when the car’s look and specification are mature, to prove that the finished model works well under extreme conditions and to fine-tune its braking and stability electronics.
The new Focus, set to be revealed in early 2018 ahead of a launch the following year, will follow the same evolutionary path as the recently unveiled Fiesta, using Ford’s highly flexible global C-class platform.
The Focus programme’s similarity to the Fiesta’s evolution is no surprise since the project is now under the management of Ford’s small-car guru, Darren Palmer, whose team recently delivered the Fiesta, the Ka+ and a dramatically improved Ecosport B-segment SUV.
The new Focus is unlikely to grow in length or width, but is tipped to have about 50mm more wheelbase to match its rivals for rear legroom. It will also deliver weight savings around 50kg, model for model, though precise figures are still being calculated. Efficiency will be high on the agenda: Ford will undoubtedly improve on the current car’s aerodynamics.
The new mainstreamer’s engine range will depend heavily on the successful 1.0-litre Ecoboost three-cylinder petrol engine — available in 99, 123 and 138bhp versions — and is likely also to offer 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol units in several power outputs to power its ST-line and “full fat” ST versions. The staple diesel will again be the 1.5 TDCi, though a 2.0-litre diesel may still be offered for ST performance models. Ford has been talking nine- and 10-speed automatics in America for several years but is likely for the time being to stick with its the six-speed Powershift twin-clutch gearbox as the European automatic option.
One certainty is that Ford will launch a high-riding Focus Active, along lines established by the recently revealed Fiesta Active, to take advantage of burgeoning demand for “lifestyle” models. There will be several models: base cars will have a regular front-wheel-drive system, but there is likely to be an optional four-wheel drive utilising hardware from the existing Kuga SUV.
Suggestions that there would be no replacement for the current Focus RS appear wide of the mark: Ford sources suggest there may be “at least one more” version of the highly rated 165mph sports hatch in the company’s armoury. Ford chief Farley is known to be keen on such models, which he says do much to boost the image and desirability of the whole Ford range.
Inside, the new Focus will be more carefully packaged than ever, to offer enhanced passenger space in key areas even though it is no bigger externally. The décor will be simpler and more stylish: the company’s designers privately admit they “overdelivered” on dashboard complexity in recent Fiesta and Focus cabins. The fascia, in particular, will be simpler and less claustrophobic, with more functions activated via a prominent central touch-screen.
Hopefully, Ford can get the Focus here. By the looks of it, the C segment (or whatever it will be called) will hit 20 lakhs by then and there will be a lot of space for mature and capable hatchbacks. Let's hope against hope that our market will have some space for the driver's cars among the deluge of boring all-rounder cars and SUVs.
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