The new Focus succeeds where the last models have failed

The Ford Focus has finally entered its fourth generation, and it brings a lot of change in terms of design, comfort, and economy. It comes complete with a largely revamped interior and loads of new technology; not to mention a range of new engines that are more powerful and more efficient. As usual, the new Focus will call Europe (and China) home first, before coming to the United States for the 2019 model year.

2019 Ford Focus Exterior

  • New C2 architecture
  • longer wheelbase
  • shorter overhangs
  • Revised roofline
  • Attractive Rear end
  • Grille is an upside down version of the old grille
  • beltline didn’t change much
2018 Ford Focus Exterior Interior
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The new Focus might look longer, but in reality, it isn’t – it’s just a trick courtesy of the longer wheelbase

Don’t be fooled. The new Focus might look longer, but in reality, it isn’t – it’s just a trick courtesy of the longer wheelbase. Built upon the C2 platform, Ford was able to extend the wheelbase by 2.08 inches (53 mm)—something that also leads to much shorter overhangs in the front and rear. With that said, a lot has changed outside. Up front, for instance, the grille takes on a new look. Of course, it looks like ford took the grille from the last generation, turned it upside down, then plastered it on the new model. The hood gets new body lines but is largely the same otherwise. The corner intakes are now taller and feature just a hint of RS DNA. The headlights are all-new as well, and feature a rather sporty LED strip that is similar to something you would find on an Audi or Mercedes.

The side profile has evolved quite a bit as well. The beltline now dips ever so slightly at the B-pillar and elevates just a bit in the rear. The rear stationary glass is about the same, but it may be a little taller thanks to that new roof line. The roofline, by the way, makes the Focus look like a more proper hatchback instead of a vehicle converted into a hatch from the design of a sedan. Down below the lower body line aggressive and stands out like a sore thumb. It’s not a bad thing, but it is certainly noticeable.

2018 Ford Focus Exterior Interior
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The rear glass isn’t as bubbly as before and feels a bit wider, as do the C-Pillars.

The rear glass isn’t as bubbly as before and feels a bit wider, as do the C-Pillars. Since that stationary glass on the side is shaped just a little different, the C-Pillar is now a bit wider, a look that’s assisted by the new taillights that now take up a lot more real estate in the rear quarter. The reverse lights are also split between the rear quarter and the hatch – a rather modern style. The rear fascia is fairly aggressive featuring small concave sections that mimic vertical vents and house the rear reflectors. An underplate wraps around the fascia in the center to create a diffuser-ish look.

All told, it’s a rather attractive design. It’s got sporty styling, aggressive cues where need, and it traded off those annoying flared rear quarters and ugly taillights. The roofline is also a bit flatter and appears longer, giving the car more of hatchback look. Now we just need to see what the ST and more aggressive Focus RS will look like – that’s going to be one mean looking hatchback.

2019 Ford Focus Interior

  • All new interior design
  • flatter dash
  • floating infotainment
  • rotary shifter
  • redesigned seats
  • Tons of extra space in the rear
  • Center stack looks dumb
2018 Ford Focus Interior
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The interior of the 2019 Focus is all-new, with a more modern design, new dash layout, sportier trim panels, and more comfortable seats

The interior of the 2019 Focus is all-new, with a more modern design, new dash layout, sportier trim panels, and more comfortable seats. The most important part of the new-gen model is the increase in space for rear passengers. You can thank the C2 platform for it, but rear legroom has increased by a whopping 2.8 inches while shoulder room has increased by nearly 2.5 inches. Knee room has increased by two inches. This is huge for rear passengers as the old model was quite cramped in the rear.

Moving on to the design and technology, the dash now takes on a flatter design and the corner HVAC vents are now much smaller and way less obtrusive to the overall design. The big center stack is now a thing of the past, now replaced by a floating infotainment system. The center HVAC vents now sit low in the dash while a sleek control system for the infotainment sits just above. Oddly, Ford thought it would be a good idea to shape the vents and the controller like the front radiator grille, then outline them with a chrome strip. It’s not the best look – in fact, it kind of makes me feel like something with small eyes and a big mouth is smiling at me.

2018 Ford Focus Interior
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The traditional gear shifter has been replaced by a rotary unit while the cupholders sit next to it in a longitudinal alignment.

Moving on, the traditional gear shifter has been replaced by a rotary unit while the cupholders sit next to it in a longitudinal alignment. There’s a new wireless charging pad up front and a wider armrest between the front seats. The seats have been redesigned and should be more comfortable. Ahead of the driver sits a new instrument cluster which is a nice addition now that Ford did away with the weird overhangs above the analog gauges. The central screen is also wider.

2019 Ford Focus Performance

  • 84 to 180 horsepower gasoline engines
  • 94 to 188 horsepower diesel engines
  • Manual or automatic transmissions
  • 2.0-liter diesel has steel pistons
  • Down 194 pounds
  • More efficient
2018 Ford Focus Exterior Interior
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Over in Europe, however, the Focus is offered with your choice of a 1.0-liter EcoBoost or a 1.5-liter EcoBoost

The new Focus won’t make it to the United States until next year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that U.S. specs aren’t yet available. Over in Europe, however, the Focus is offered with your choice of a 1.0-liter EcoBoost or a 1.5-liter EcoBoost. Both of which can be had in different flavors. Models equipped with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost can be tuned to deliver 84 horsepower, 99 horsepower, or 123 horsepower. Meanwhile, the 1.5-liter can be had with 148 horsepower or 180 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission is the standard offering while an eight-speed automatic will be available as an option.

Of course, it’s Europe we’re talking about here, so there will be a couple of diesel engines available too. There’s a 1.5-liter that’s good for 94 horsepower or 118 horsepower. Regardless of tune, this engine delivers 221 pound-feet of torque. Then there’s a 2.0-liter that’s good for 148 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. This engine uses steel pistons, which is a first for any diesel engine from the blue oval. For now, fuel economy, sprint times, and top speed have yet to be announced, but the new Focus should be quicker, and more efficient thanks to the C2 platform which lead to a total weight loss of 194 pounds. Oh, and it’s drag coefficient is lower at 0.250 for the sedan and 0.275 for the hatchback, so that should also help improve things over the outgoing generation.

Stay tuned for U.S. specs – we’ll be sure to update you as soon as they are available.

2019 Ford Focus Pricing

2018 Ford Focus Exterior Interior
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Pricing for the new Focus has yet to be announced for any market, but Ford knows its place so don’t expect pricing to increase much. The current model runs anywhere between $17,950 and $24,270 for the sedan or $20.540 and $24,470 for non-performance versions of the hatchback. Pricing will increase marginally at best, so expect the entry-level sedan to start at no more than $18,200 while the hatchback will start out around $20,700.

2019 Ford Focus Competition

Honda Civic

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
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The Honda Civic has been around twice as long as the Focus, but it continues to be one of Honda’s most popular go-to compact cars. It has its place in the hearts of those looking for great fuel economy, reliability, and it’s a favorite among tuners everywhere. The Civic hit a rough patch in the mid-2000s as the styling cues of the eighth generation Civic weren’t all that accepted. But, that is in the past, and the Civic was actually redesigned for the 2016 model year. The new design was widely welcomed and is certainly more appealing than the outgoing model. For the 2018 model year, the Civic starts out at $18,840 but increases to as much as $26,700 for the range-topping Touring trim.

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic.

Chevy Cruze

2017 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Chevy Cruze, as we know it now, came to be in 2009 when Chevy released it as a successor to the Chevy Cobalt. The first generation ran from 2009 to 2015, and for the 2016 model year, Chevy brought in an all-new design. The Cruze comes standard with a 1.4-liter, turbocharged engine that puts out 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic transmission. The Cruze pulls an estimated 40 mpg on the highway and can hit the 60 mph benchmark in 8.0 seconds. As of the time of this writing, the Cruze starts out at $17,850 but climbs as high as $24,000 for the range-topping model. The Cruze hatchback starts out at $22,195.

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze

Final Thoughts

2018 Ford Focus Exterior Interior
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The new Focus addresses a lot of the problems that exist with the current model, including the lackluster and dated interior design (and technology) and the lack of space for rear passengers. These will be huge selling points when it does go on sale as will the new look outside that is slightly more aggressive but certainly not overboard as far as modern design goes. Ford has a real winner on its hands here, and now the important thing is to get it to the U.S. by next year. The ST and RS models should come much sooner in the Focus’ lifecycle than before, and the RS should be the first model to sport Ford’s new mild hybrid system, leading to the possibility that it could deliver as much as 400 horsepower. As more details about the U.S. model come available, we’ll be sure to update this review so stay tuned.

  • Leave it
    • * Not coming to the U.S. until 2019
    • * A fully digital instrument cluster would be nice

References

2015 Ford Focus High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2015 Ford Focus.

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Read more Ford news.

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