The Ford Focus has been the most significant Ford model in the country, competing in the small family/compact car class against the likes of the Toyota Altis, Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze.
Technically, the new Focus is actually the 3rd generation model overall, as the outgoing model (2004-2012 was already the 2nd generation of the nameplate. The Philippines never got the original Focus hatchback, a car introduced in Europe back in 1998. In its place, Ford sold the Lynx sedan, a rebadged version of the Ford Laser sold in Australia and other markets.
When the 2nd gen Focus was launched in 2004, it set itself apart by offering a European feel and drive in a predominantly Japanese market class. The Focus also distinguished itself as a racing machine by competing and winning numerous titles in the World Rally Championships, as well as Philippine Touring Car Championships with Tuason Racing School, and also became a frugal performance option with the TDCI turbodiesel variant.
The Focus TDCI was also the most affordable car (at the time) that offered a dual clutch automatic transmission until the introduction of the Ford Fiesta with a similar Powershift transmission.
It took Ford ASEAN and, subsequently, Ford Philippines to bring in the Focus, but now its available at dealers. The manufacturing center for the all new Focus is the new Ford facility in Rayong, Thailand.
Exterior design and dimensions
The new look of the Focus is more striking than the one it replaces. The ASEAN-spec Ford Focus was revealed to us this March at the Bangkok International Motorshow, proudly sporting the KINETIC design language of the brand. The new bumper presents a unique pattern with a trapezoidal lower grille flanked by triangular vents. The headlamps are more rounded than the outgoing model. Sedan models get a set of long, wraparound taillamps while the hatch gets taillamps more akin to the Fiesta instead of the slim and tall taillights we got used to in the previous Ford Focus.
The all new Ford Focus has grown longer for both the hatchback and sedan form factors. The new Focus HB now measures 4358mm long (2nd gen HB: 4337mm) while the Focus 4dr spans 4534mm (2nd gen 4dr: 4481mm). Both the new HB and 4dr models have gotten slightly slimmer and lower though.
Interior design and features
The interior shares more details and motifs in common with the current Ford Fiesta rather than the previous Focus. In front of the driver are a pair of gauges (speedo and tach) housed in a very modern, almost concept car-like binnacle, while the center console is dominated by an multi-function, multimedia audio system similar to the Fiesta. The climate control system's buttons are exactly the same as the outgoing model.
As for features, particularly in terms of safety and security, more on them later.
Powertrain and suspension
The new line of engines will be the best in the class, bar none. The Focus gets a pair of high output 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter motors with 125 and 170 metric horsepower (PS) respectively, thanks to gasoline direct injection and Ti-VCT valve timing systems (technologies first seen in the Explorer and Fiesta. For transmissions, the Focus will be available with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed dual clutch (Powershift) automatic.
Unique to the Focus will be a Torque Vectoring (TV) system that actively brakes the wheel which is most likely to slip during cornering (the inner wheel, i.e. turning left, its the inside left wheel). According to Ford, the TV system (installed in the Titanium and Sport variants) will be seamless and imperceptible to the driver.
International markets are already getting the even more advanced EcoBoost (turbo petrol) engines, especially the reigning 2012 World Engine of the Year: the 120 PS 1.0L EcoBoost. Also, TDCI Duratorq turbodiesels are available in European markets. No word yet when (or if) the Philippines and ASEAN will be getting the EcoBoost and TDCI engines.
Body rigidity has been improved, along with the suspension system to deliver an improvement in driving dynamics. Check Chokdee.info next week as we drive the all new Focus in Krabi, Thailand.
Safety and security
The spec sheet of the 2012 Focus reads more like something from Volvo, Mercedes-Benz or Lexus rather than from Ford; and we know that can only be a good thing.
The Focus will be getting technologies like Active Park Assist (self parking), Active City Stop (automatic braking when a collision is imminent within city speeds), a Blind Spot Information System, Ford SYNC and Smart Keyless Entry with Power Start.
With all these high tech safety features and innovative solutions, along with the usual airbags, stability control systems and other bits, the Ford has ensured that the Focus will take a commanding lead in the class for safety.
Variants, prices and colors
The Focus will be made available in 6 colors, namely: Candy Red, Winning Blue, Ingot Silver, Lunar Sky, Frozen White and Panther Black. It can also be specified in the following variants and corresponding prices:
2013 Ford Focus 5dr Hatchback 2.0L Sport 6PS PhP 1,199,000
2013 Ford Focus 5dr Hatchback 1.6L Trend 6PS PhP 989,000
2013 Ford Focus 5dr Hatchback 1.6L Ambiente 6PS PhP 929,000
2013 Ford Focus 4dr Sedan 2.0L Titanium 6PS PhP 1,199,000
2013 Ford Focus 4dr Sedan 1.6L Trend 6PS PhP 989,000
2013 Ford Focus 4dr Sedan 1.6L Ambiente 6PS PhP 929,000
2013 Ford Focus 4dr Sedan 1.6L Ambiente 5MT PhP 859,000
Ford dealerships are currently accepting reservations for the all new Focus. First deliveries will take place in September.
Start It, Share It, Win It Contest
As an amazing bonus, Ford Philippines also announced the launching of a new contest wherein participants have to make an onboard video inside the new Ford Focus.
Contest mechanics are still pending, but the gist is that during the all-new Focus's mall tour, participants can record a video of themselves while inside the car. Winning entries will be decided by the number of Facebook Likes.
The prize? A brand new 2013 Ford Focus.
More details to follow later on.