Paris Motor Show 2010: Ford announces 2012 Focus

During this week’s Paris Motor Show, Ford has unveiled its 2012 Focus.  Glimpses of the new global car have been seen in their release of next-gen airbag technology and a prior preview.  With new sheetmetal, more efficient engines, and a redone interior, Ford’s Civic-fighter might have a chance, given the sales of the just-released Fiesta.

While Ford promises that this generation of the Focus will truly be a Global car, meaning some 80+% of the car’s parts will be shared throughout the markets it is sold in, they’ve said that before, when the 2000 Focus originally showed up on our shores.  Since then, just about the entire car, from drivetrain to sheetmetal, has evolved overseas.  The North American Focus hasn’t seen nearly as many updates, with a refresh in 2005 and again for 2008.

Taking all of that into account, given the current global economic situation and the success Ford and its rivals have seen from selling European-designed vehicles here, I’d say there’s a good chance Ford will actually live up to its promise of a global Focus.

The new car will be available in North America in one of two body styles, a sedan and hatchback.  The 5-door wagon variant remains Europe-only.  With the majority of Fiesta sales being hatchbacks, it looks like Americans are finally taking a liking to the versatile setup.

Expect a mix of the technologies found on the Fiesta and Fusion, the cars below and above the Focus in Ford’s lineup.  The long list will include SYNC, MyFord Touch and the new airbag technology.  Highlights include:

  • Active Park Assist
  • Lane Keeping Aid and Lane Departure Warning
  • Auto High Beam
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Driver Alert
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert and Collision Mitigation by Braking
  • Blind Spot Information System
  • Speed Limiter
  • Rear Seat Beltminder
  • Power Child Locks
  • Rear View Camera

The drivetrain in the NA Focus will consist of Ford’s SelectShift 6-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission, paired to a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine, producing 158 horsepower.  Usually I don’t mention horsepower, but in this case I will, because it betters the offerings available in the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, the small-car segment leaders.

The interior follows the Fiesta in form, but adds to in function, due to the aforementioned infotainment options.  It’s also a whole lot better than the current car, with improved fit and finish, as well as material choices.

The pictures you see here show the exterior, which is also an improvement over the current car, and should help drive sales.  I’ll let the pictures mostly speak for themselves, but I think the new body work has a distinctly European flair to it, much in the same vein as the Fiesta, but more grown up than its pint-sized brother.

Driving dynamics, such as cornering, handling and ride comfort have all been revamped, which should lead to a much more fun car to drive.  As with any European-tuned suspension, expect a smooth but lively ride, with proper feedback coming from the brakes, steering and suspension.  Limited and Titanium trim levels, offered with larger wheels, will provide drivers with a slightly stiffer but better-controlled ride.

While most of the parts will be shared between global markets, look for certain interior and exterior changes from the pictures shown here, such as the head and tail-lights.  Either way, the new Focus is a looker and is stuffed with techno-goodies for today’s up-and-comers, so look for it to make a dent in Honda and Toyota’s sales, not to mention the Mazda3’s sales as well.

Prices haven’t been finalized yet, but with all the upgrades, don’t expect the Focus to start anywhere south of $17,000.  Base S and SE models should have MSRPs starting at about $17,500 and $18,500, respectively, and I expect the top-of-the-line Titanium trim level to command an asking price of around $23,000.

Show Press Release

by John Suit

Source: Ford


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