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2015 Ford Focus ST arriving earlier than expected

The 2015 Ford Focus ST will reach our shores earlier than expected.

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Ford Australia’s original forecast had the updated hot-hatch arriving in local showrooms in the second or third quarter of next year, but it now expects the refreshed model to be available as early as March.

The German-built 2015 Focus ST will be the first of the updated range available in our market, with the rest of the Thailand-sourced Focus range to follow shortly after in the second quarter of the year.

The 2015 Ford Focus ST features mildly revised styling with a higher honeycomb grille, larger lower intake, slimmer headlights and foglights, reprofiled bonnet, tweaked tail-lights, and a deeper rear bumper.

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The cabin also benefits from an overhauled centre stack with a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen display with a reverse-view camera and fewer button and dials, aiding usability. A new flat-bottom steering wheel is standard, while heated front seats will be available in some markets.

The 184kW/340Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine and six-speed manual transmission carry over unchanged, though Ford has reworked the steering and suspension, targeting an even sharper drive.

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The regular Focus gains the brand’s now-signature chrome-slatted hexagonal grille along with slimmer headlights and other exterior tweaks.

The interior mirrors that of the updated ST, with a cleaner dashboard layout with fewer buttons and a larger centre screen with Ford’s SYNC2 connectivity system.

The updated Focus will benefit from a host of new and improved technologies, including automatic perpendicular parking, rear cross traffic alert, park-out assist (to guide drivers out of parallel spaces), enhanced collision avoidance auto braking up to 50km/h (up from 30km/h), enhanced adaptive cruise control with preferred following distance options, and MyKey technology.

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The existing 125kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is set to make way for a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine with either 110kW or 132kW, while the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo – available in 74kW and 92kW tunes – may replace the ageing naturally aspirated 92kW 1.6-litre.

Power from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel is set to dip from 120kW to 110kW, though Ford is also promising a 13 per cent fuel economy improvement, potentially dropping combined cycle consumption to 4.8 litres per 100km.

Ford’s engineers say the updated Focus’s revised steering, suspension and electronic stability control systems deliver a “more solid, responsive and connected-to-the-road feel”.

Australian specifications and prices for the 2015 Ford Focus range will be released closer to its launch from March 2015.

The launch of the updated Focus is part of a busy 12 months for Ford Australia, with the Falcon FG X, Territory SZ MkII and MY15 Kuga on sale in December this year, the new Mondeo arriving in February, and the Mustang, Everest and facelifted Ranger scheduled to arrive from mid-2015.