Ford is lifting the kimono to give us a first look at its next-generation “global” Focus line-up – but it says it won’t reveal the U.S.-specific model until shortly before it goes on sale later next year.
The next version of the compact model will be offered in a range of body styles and trim levels, while adding a variety of tech features, including the new Ford CoPilot360 driver assistance suite. Expect roomier and more comfortable interiors, the automaker says, while adding that the next-gen Focus will feature new gas and diesel engines, as well as a new suspension.
“We’re evolving our successful One Ford strategy to find new ways to create a sporty-looking small car our customers will love,” said Jim Farley, president of Global Markets. “We’ll tailor which cars in the Focus line-up we offer in markets around the world to ensure we best meet customers’ different needs and preferences.”
(Ford Fiesta among three familiar models may vanish as sales shift to SUVs. Click Here for the story.)
In a statement describing the new Focus line-up, Ford doesn’t point out, however, that production will be moving out of the U.S. to a factory in China. That controversial move was ordered to make room at a Michigan plant to make room for the new Bronco SUV and Ranger midsize pickups.
Depending upon the market, the new Focus will be offered in 4-door sedan, 5-door wagon and 5-door hatchback body styles. Development used a new product development process, Ford says, to yield a more “human-centered design.” In practical terms, that translates into a longer hood and cab-rearward stance meant to enhance the line’s “on-road presence.”
In reality, the overall dimensions of the Focus are unchanged, though the new models will offer more interior space for both passengers and cargo – shoulder room, for example, increasing by 2.4 inches, with legroom gaining an extra 2.8 inches.
Improved aerodynamics and those new gas and diesel engines also promise to improve fuel efficiency – though the automaker didn’t back that up with hard numbers in its first news release on the next Focus line.
(Click Here to see why the popular Ford Escape flunked its IIHS crash test.)
We’ll have to wait to learn what will power the U.S. version of the Focus, but in Europe, Ford is adding two new options: a 1.5-liter EcoBoost gas engine and a 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel. Chinese customers will now be offered that gas package, as well as a smaller 1.0-liter EcoBoost option.
Buyers will also have available a new eight-speed automatic transmission that will feature both adaptive shift scheduling and adaptive shift quality. These features will automatically respond to driving conditions and driver demands to deliver a smoother but more responsive ride.
For the first time, the new Focus models will give owners the ability to select from three driver modes: Normal, Sport and Eco. They’ll adjust settings for engine, transmission, steering feel and Adaptive Cruise Control.
At a time when markets around the world are rapidly shifting from passenger cars to light trucks, it’s no surprise the next Focus will borrow some technology found in Ford crossovers, notably including a hands-free liftgate on wagon models that drivers will be able to open by waggling a foot under the rear bumper.
Other new technologies will include onboard WiFi, wireless cellphone charging, the FordPass mobile app and the latest iteration of the Sync3 infotainment system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Look for the next-generation Focus to go on sale in global markets during the second half of 2019, almost certainly as a 2020 model.
(Ford recalling nearly 400,000 Mustangs and SUVs. Click Here for that breaking news.)