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News & Reviews
Last 7 Days
  • Technology, looks, drivability, diesel engine, powershift, safety
  • No sat-nav (yet), 1.6L petrol a little gutless, five-speed manual

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

The all-new ultra-high-tech LW Ford Focus is a great addition to the small car segment.

To date, Ford Australia has had a hard time convincing buyers to focus on the growing small car segment (pun intended).

So far this year the Ford Focus has captured just 5.5 per cent market share in its segment. To put that into perspective, the Mazda3, which the Focus has a lot in common with, is the best seller with 18.4 per cent market share. In fact, the outgoing Ford Focus is merely the 8th best selling car in its class. Given the success Ford has had with the Focus in overseas markets, local results are surprising.

But times are changing at Ford. The Blue Oval is reinventing itself with a line-up of stylish, sophisticated and technologically advanced models. From the recently launched Ford Fiesta, to the popular Ford Mondeo (which outsells the Mazda6) and the Territory, Ford Australia has high expectations for the new Focus.

The new LW Ford Focus comes in four variants and three engine choices, which are coupled to a manual or six-speed powershift automatic transmission. Prices range from $21,990 for the base model Ambiente 1.6-litre manual hatch and go all the way to $36,090 for the Titanium 2.0-litre diesel powershift automatic.

The design of the new Ford Focus is certainly a big change from the outgoing model. The front sports a rather aggressive grille while the rear of the hatch has moved away from the tall, thin lights and on to a more modern wrapping design. Australian buyers should be happy to know the rear of the Focus sedan was largely the work of Ford’s Tasmanian designer Todd Willing (also the man behind the new Territory). Overall, it’s a much cleaner execution of Ford’s new Kinetic design language.

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

Ford is keen to point out that its new Focus is the most technologically advanced vehicle in its class. So much so that Ford’s vehicle line director of global c-cars, Mr Gunnar Harrmann, believes “no vehicle even gets close”. That’s a big claim, but a quick glance at the plethora of technological features inside will give you an idea of what he’s talking about. As expected, most of the new technologies are either available as options only or standard on the top of the range Titanium version (feature list breakdown at bottom of article).

The one feature which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows is the Ford Active Park Assist system, which can parallel park the Focus by itself (you’ll need to control the accelerator and brake pedal). Not exactly a new concept, but to see it in an everyday Focus is a surprise.

Moving on, you have the Adaptive Cruise Control system that uses forward-mounted radars to keep a safe distance to the car in front by slowing down and speeding up with traffic (to your chosen speed). It will also give you a warning if there is a chance of a collision and go as far as to brake for you in case a collision is imminent (and you’ve not noticed).

There is also a great deal of new features that you most likely won’t even notice, such as the Torque Vectoring Control system. By transferring torque to the front wheel that has the most grip, the system helps reduce understeer substantially.

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

There’s the usual stuff as well, such as smart-key entry with push-button start/stop system, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth audio streaming as well as telephone connectivity, a nine-speaker Sony sound system with native iPod/iPhone/USB support and much more. It does, however, have one rather large omission from the features list: satellite navigation. Ford Australia says a system will be available later this year on the top two spec vehicles (and available as an option on Trend variants).

Ford will also introduce the MyFord in-car voice recognition system into the Focus next year, which is capable of understanding up to 10,000 free speech voice commands. So if you ask your Focus to “set temperature to 18 degrees”, it will do just that. It’s meant to be significantly more advanced and easier to use than the current limited voice control systems found in many cars.

The 2011 Ford Focus will come from Germany, but production for the Australian market is expected to shift to Thailand by mid next year. Ford Australia says it could have either waited for the Thai production to start or import the European built Focus in the interim – it chose the later.

To prove the Focus’ superior characteristics, CarAdvice was invited to road test the range around Victoria’s hilly and twisty countryside. To begin with, we set out to escape Melbourne’s morning traffic in a 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi Trend sedan.

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

With 120kW (at 3750rpm) and 340Nm of torque (between 2000-3250rpm) the diesel is by far the best engine in the Focus range. Unfortunately it’s not available with a manual transmission, but is matched perfectly to Ford’s dual-clutch six-speed Powershift automatic transmission. Similar to Volkswagen’s DSG transmision, Ford’s Powershift uses two clutches, with one clutch acting on first, third and fifth gears and the other used for second, fourth and sixth gears. This way the next gear is always ready to be engaged at a much quicker rate.

The 340Nm of torque is available early in the rev range and helps pull the Focus along nicely both in traffic and on the highway. The diesel sips just 5.5L/100km, which is rather impressive for the performance it provides.

One of the key areas of focus was ride comfort, with Ford engineers concentrating a great deal of effort into improving on the previous model.

Driving around Melbourne’s outer suburbs, the Focus feels smooth and easy to drive, but ride quality is not exactly soft or plush. That’s a good thing though, because unless you plan on driving through pothole-infested roads, the new Focus’ suspension is tuned to a great balance between comfort and handling.

The Focus also has a well thought-out European-inspired interior, with soft-touch plastics used throughout the cabin and plenty of storage space. The auxiliary and USB ports are placed deep inside the glove box, which we found to be a bit of nuisance.

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

The instrument setup on the two base models is pretty easy to use and relatively straightforward. The addition of the Sony audio system (nine speakers) and dual-zone climate control on the Sport and Titanium models adds a few too many buttons for simplicity’s sake – particularity on the steering wheel.

It would be nice of Ford to come out with an iDrive equivalent to control the huge number of gadgets built into the range-topping variants. Even so, it’s not much of an issue.

The seats are comfortable and provide good adjustment for the perfect driving position (with a fully adjustable steering column). Boot space is more than enough in both sedan and hatch body shapes and the rear seats can comfortably seat two adults even for those long distance trips.

The Powershift transmission doesn’t offer paddle-shifters on the steering wheel. Instead, you have to make do with a small button on the gear lever that allows your thumb to shift through the gears. We would’ve preferred the traditional sequential ‘up and down’ gear selection method.

Our second test car was a Titanium diesel hatch. For this leg of the journey we drove from Kangaroo Ground to Launching Place through a series of twisty mountain roads, which included a stint across some dirt tracks.

Equipped with sports suspension (standard on both Sport and Titanium models), the hatch felt much firmer in its setup than the Trend sedan, with the benefit of offering noticeably better handling characteristics. Around the mountain there was almost no hint of torque steer from the powerful diesel engine. The electronic nanny controls did tend to kick in a little too frequently for our liking, but best to be on the conservative side when it comes to safety.

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

Ford says the new Focus is the first car that is born out of the ‘One Ford’ philosophy, where the company shares its skillset across the globe. Even so, you can tell the Americans had nothing to do with the Focus’ ride and handling, as it loves to corner.

With the sport suspension fitted, we found it had no trouble hanging on and powering out of tight corners. Even in the dirt.

The Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS – standard across the range) is very precise in how it translates your movements to the front wheels, but could do with a tad more feedback and at times can feel a little too progressive in its adjustments. You get used to it quickly, so don’t let it put you off after a quick steer.

From Launching Place we headed out to Healesville in a 2.0-litre Sport petrol five-speed manual. With 125kW (6600rpm) and 202Nm of torque (4450rpm), the manual transmission does its best to extract as much power from the engine as possible, but it could do with an additional gear for the highway.

Ford hasn’t provided us with 0-100km/h figures but the diesel definitely felt faster, despite its enormous 169kg weight disadvantage (comparing 2.0-litre petrol manual Sport hatch with the 2.0-litre diesel Titanium hatch). It’s also interesting to note that even though the diesel is carrying the equivalent of two big adults in weight, it still uses less fuel than the manual or automatic 2.0-litre petrol (5.5L of diesel/100km vs 7.2L of petrol/100km for manual or 6.6L of petrol/100km for auto).

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

Of course the benefits come at a cost, as you’ll end up paying an additional $3,500-$3,710 (depending on variant) for the diesel engine over the 2.0-litre petrol and another $2,300 for the Powershift transmission.

We also drove a 1.6-litre petrol manual base model Ambiente from Healesville to Kinglake and found it to be a tad underpowered. With just 92kW and 159Nm of torque, the 1311kg hatch (1312kg sedan) gets moving easily, but don’t expect zippy performance or quick highway overtaking manoeuvres. It will do well for the price-conscious, A-to-B buyer, with a starting price of just $21,990.

Safety is standard across the range and the new Ford Focus has earned the maximum possible five-star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Ford Australia is currently “looking into” the 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbocharged petrol engine for the Focus, but if it is to come, we don’t expect it to arrive for at least another year. The performance version (think XR5) is also on its way, but not in the very near future.

Overall, there is a lot to like about the new Ford Focus. It’s an exceptionally well balanced small car with a great upmarket interior. It corners with ease and comes packed with a heap of standard features. If you can afford it, the diesel is certainly the pick of the bunch, not just for fuel efficiency but also for driveability.

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

Early adopters will have the benefit of buying a German-built Focus before the Thai-built models arrive next year. If you’re in the market for a small car, do yourself a favour and test drive the new Ford Focus.

The all-new Ford Focus is the standout performer in its class, if a smart, efficient and sporty drive is what you’re after.

 

Engine

Transmission

Manufacturer’s List Price*

($)

Hatch
Ambiente

1.6L Duratec Ti-VCT

5-spd manual

21,990

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

6-spd PowerShift auto

24,290

Trend

2.0L GDi Ti-VCT

5-spd manual

24,490

6-spd PowerShift auto

26,790

2.0L Duratorq TDCi

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

6-spd PowerShift auto

30,500

Sport

2.0L GDi Ti-VCT

5-spd manual

27,390

6-spd PowerShift auto

29,690

2.0L Duratorq TDCi

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

6-spd PowerShift auto

33,190

Titanium

2.0L GDi Ti-VCT

6-spd PowerShift auto

32,590

2.0L Duratorq TDCi

36,090

Sedan
Ambiente

1.6L Duratec Ti-VCT

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

6-spd PowerShift auto

24,290

Trend

2.0L GDi Ti-VCT

6-spd PowerShift auto

26,790

2.0L Duratorq TDCi

30,500

Sport

2.0L GDi Ti-VCT

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

6-spd PowerShift auto

29,690

2.0L Duratorq TDCi

33,190

Titanium

2.0L GDi Ti-VCT

6-spd PowerShift auto

32,590

2.0L Duratorq TDCi

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review

36,090

Options

$

Convenience Pack (Trend)

  • Auto headlights
  • Auto rain sensing windscreen wipers
  • Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • ‘Follow me home’ lighting

300

Sports Executive Pack (Titanium)

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and static cornering lamps
  • Power tilt/slide sunroof

2,300


FORD LW FOCUS: 

Focus Ambiente
Bodystyles
-5-door Hatch and 4-door Sedan
Mechanical

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
  • -Standard engine: 1.6-litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol
  • -5-speed manual transmission
  • -Control Blade Independent Rear Suspension
  • -Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)1
  • -Torque Vectoring Control

Exterior

  • -Twin chamber halogen headlights with aluminium bezel
  • -Body coloured bumpers and mirrors
  • -Power adjustable exterior mirrors with integrated side indicator lamps
  • -Rear spoiler (hatch only)
  • -16″ steel wheels with full wheel covers
  • -Ford Easy Fuel capless fuelling system

Interior

  • -Ford audio system with 3.5″ dot matrix display, extended integrated control panel
  • -AUX connection for external music devices
  • -USB/iPod connectivity port
  • -Remote audio controls
  • -Stereo radio/CD with six speakers
  • -Bluetooth hands-free phone and Voice Control
  • -Power front and rear windows
  • -Shift Indicator light (manual transmission only)
  • -Manual 4-way driver seat adjustment
  • -60/40 split/fold rear seats
  • -Driver and passenger sunvisor with mirror and strap

Safety

  • -Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • -Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System (TCS)
  • -Hill Launch Assist (HLA) function
  • -Driver and passenger front airbags and side thorax airbags
  • -Side curtain airbags for front and rear seat occupants

Optional

  • -6-speed dual clutch PowerShift automatic transmission2

Focus Trend
Features additional to Ambiente
Bodystyles

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
  • -5-door Hatch and 4-door Sedan

Mechanical

  • -Standard engine: 2.0-litre GDi Ti-VCT petrol
  • -5-speed manual transmission

Exterior

  • -16″ alloy wheels (set of four)
  • -Front fog lights
  • -Rear parking sensors
  • -Body coloured door handles

Interior

  • -Cruise control with Adjustable Speed Limiting Device (ASLD) and steering wheel-mounted switches
  • -Leather gearshift knob
  • -Manual driver’s seat lumbar adjustment

Optional

  • -6-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission
  • -2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine
  • -Convenience Pack, which includes:
  • o-Auto headlights
  • o-Automatic rain sensing windscreen wipers
  • o-Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • o-‘Follow me home’ lighting

Focus Sport
Features additional to Trend
Bodystyles

  • -5-door Hatch and 4-door Sedan

Mechanical

  • -Standard engine: 2.0-litre GDi Ti-VCT petrol
  • -5-speed manual transmission
  • -Sports suspension

Exterior

  • -17″ alloy wheels (set of four)
  • -Large rear spoiler (hatch only)
  • -Heated power adjustable exterior mirrors with integrated side indicator lamps
  • -Auto headlights
  • -Automatic rain sensing windscreen wipers
  • -‘Follow me home’ lighting
  • -Rear LED tail lamps (hatch only)
  • -Chrome door frame moulding along waistline

Interior

Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
Ford Focus Review
  • -Sony audio system with nine speakers and 4.2″ colour TFT multi-functional display
  • -Dual zone climate control
  • -Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
  • -Eco Mode driver information system
  • -V-shape sports front seats with high bolsters
  • -Ambient LED courtesy lighting
  • -Leather steering wheel
  • -Centre console with armrest and Z-shape handbrake
  • -Driver and passenger sunvisor with illuminated vanity mirror and strap
  • -Rear seat folding centre armrest with integrated cup holders
  • -Front scuff plates

Optional

  • -6-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission
  • -2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine

Focus Titanium
Features additional to Sport
Bodystyles

  • -5-door Hatch and 4-door Sedan

Mechanical

  • -Standard engine: 2.0-litre GDi Ti-VCT petrol
  • -6-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission

Exterior

  • -18″ alloy wheels (set of four)
  • -Active Park Assist
  • -Ford Smart Key keyless entry system

Interior

  • -Ford Power Start Button
  • -Partial leather seat trim
  • -Power 4-way driver seat adjustment
  • -Heated front seats

Optional

  • -2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine
  • -Sports Executive Pack, which includes:
  • o-Adaptive Cruise Control
  • o-Bi-Xenon HID headlights with static cornering lamps and integrated LED daytime running lights
  • o-Power tilt/slide sunroof


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FORD FOCUS BREAKDOWN

Ford Focus Review
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Ford Focus Specs

AMBIENTE : LW : 1.6L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - UNLEADED PETROL - 5D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
FORD
Model
FOCUS
Variant
AMBIENTE
Series
LW
Year
2011
Body Type
5D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$8,800 - $10,000
Dealer Retail
$10,360 - $12,320
Dealer Trade
$7,000 - $8,000
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.6L
Max. Torque
159Nm @  4000rpm
Max. Power
92kW @  6300rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
68.7W/kg
Bore & Stroke
79x81.4mm
Compression Ratio
11.0
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.824
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
55Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6.2L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1339
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1484mm
Length
4358mm
Width
1823mm
Ground Clearance
100mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
205/55 R16
Rear Tyres
205/55 R16
Wheel Base
2648
Front Track
1559
Rear Track
1549
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Lower control arm, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Control Blade, Multi-link system, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Hill Holder, Traction Control System
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Power Steering, Trip Computer, Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Rear Spoiler
Interior
Cloth Trim, Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Front Floor
Country of Origin
Germany