It wasn’t that long ago that Ford was offering us vehicles that were just plain awful. Showrooms were filled with Five-Hundreds, older Escapes, and current generation Focus models. Could this have been the reason why Ford went down the tubes? Possibly.
Ford wasn’t alone though, as General Motors and Chrysler were falling like dominoes as well. General Motors owned more car companies than Coca Cola does drink brands, and needless to say, it wasn’t working. Pontiac went down the drain, as did Oldsmobile, Hummer, and Saturn. What they were left with wasChevrolet , Cadillac , and Buick , three companies that failed to offer a competitive vehicle.
Chrysler , who owned Dodge and Jeep, might have been worse off, if that’s possible. Most of the Jeep products were horrendous and Dodge was in the same boat. Chrysler on the other hand, had a hit on its hands with the 300C, but outside of that, most of their products weren’t very good. After it was all said and done, Chrysler was partly taken over by Fiat, in the attempt to turn the company around and GM was in the hands of the government.
Among the big three car makers in the United States, Ford has undertaken the largest overhaul. The new 2011 Mustang and the new Fiesta are just starting points, but they have changed the way we think about the company. They are wonderfully built, gorgeous to look at, and sensational to drive.
The next machine to come out of the Ford juggernaut is the 2012 Focus , which will be shown at the 2010 Paris Auto Show in just days. The new Focus is an example of Ford’s “One Ford ” product strategy and it will likely be the largest seller for the company. The Focus that we have been seeing in photos will be sold in Europe and in North America, with a few changes in the motor offerings and minor details.
Hit the jump to read on.
The car will be available in a sedan and a hatchback variant in this country and it might surprise some people that the coupe will no longer be available. Perhaps the reason for this was that the current Focus coupe is terrible, or that hatchbacks are coming on strong in America. In other countries, Ford will be offering a wagon, but the chances of that coming here are slim, as we’re still in the crossover phase. That being said, we would still love to see a wagon version of the Focus.
Ford will be offering the 2012 Focus in a few different trim levels – S, SE, SEL, and Titanium. The base version will only be offered in a sedan variant, while the SE and the SEL can be had in both hatch and sedan. The S will come with 15-inch wheels, while the Titanium version comes with gorgeous 17-inch wheels.
Looking at the Focus from the exterior, it’s easy to see why there is so much anticipation for it. There are more shapes in the front and the rear of the car than a child’s toy. It has strong bodylines on both the hatchback and the sedan and we love how the taillights wraparound the car’s rear. As far as design goes, this is the best-looking Focus that we have ever seen. The cars it will be competing against, the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic, are light years behind in terms of style.
On the inside, the dashboard – from the photos we’ve seen – is a huge upgrade over the dull look of the current version. The fit and finish is some of the best we’ve seen and the overall look is futuristic and functional. The S model doesn’t get a whole lot of toys, while the SEL and the Titanium models get Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system that adds an eight-inch LCD display. Judging from early spy photos of the next-generation Civic, the Focus already seems to have the lead.
Powering the 2012 Ford Focus will be a new 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder, but Europe and the other North American markets will be getting a 1.6-liter and a 2.0-liter diesel, as well as a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder. We’ve always wondered why Ford screws its home country over like they do, but that being said, the 2.0-liter should be fairly decent. It uses direct-injection and Ford’s twin independent variable camshaft timing. All that helps the Focus put out 158 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque.
Transmission offerings are always intriguing, and the new Focus is no different. Those who love to shift their own cars will be able to get a five-speed manual, but not a six-speed. Those buyers will also be forced to get the S or the SE trim levels and we’re not going to get involved with why we disagree with that. The other offering is a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch automatic, the same transmission that is in the new Fiesta.
There are other technological advancements that will be fitted to the new Focus, including a torque-vectoring system that delivers power to each of the front wheels. This should also help reduce torque-steer in the high-powered Focus ST that will be coming to America.
The Focus ST will feature 247 horsepower from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Sadly, we will have to wait until 2012 for it become available. There isn’t a whole lot of news on the new ST, as Ford wants to wait until the end of the week to release more information.
Ford has been making huge strides in terms of fuel economy and the new Focus is no different. The 2.0-liter motor, attached to the six-speed automatic, should be able to manage 40 miles per gallon on the highway. The higher trim levels and the hatchback versions won’t get that high of mileage, but they should be able to manage around 35 mpg.
The Focus will be equipped with a few toys to help it be as efficient as possible. The car uses an active grille shutter that will improve drag at higher speeds and low rolling resistance tires. The navigation system will even pick out the most economical route when telling you how to get to your destination. How cool is that?
We haven’t had a chance to take the new Focus out on the roads, but we would imagine it would have the same pleasant driving experience as the Fiesta. The body is 30 percent stiffer and it will use a quicker steering ratio and electronic power assists to help it be fun as ever through the bends. If the base Focus is as good as we are imagining, the ST should be the best driving car that Ford has made in some time.
We aren’t sure how much this new Focus will cost, but we would imagine it would be around $17,000 for the base and $24,000 for the Titanium model. Ford will announce pricing next month. The ST model might be in the low $30,000 or high $20,000 range.
The Fiesta started in all in the United States and it’s being followed up by the new Focus. With other wonderful models such as the Fusion and the new Taurus in the books as well, Ford is ready to dominate the world. Let’s just hope we can get a Focus RS as well.