Could the Blue Oval be planning a new price-leading Focus variant? There's no official word yet, but Australia's Green Vehicle Guide says yes – and it could come from China.
The all-new Ford Focus has already been priced and specified for Australia – including the new crossover-styled Focus Active – but there's still one gaping hole in the line-up: a low-$20k base model.
Well, that could all be about to change. The Australian Government's 'Green Vehicle Guide' included a mystery Ambiente variant in its Focus listing – which details a vehicle's CO2 emissions, fuel consumption, and noise data.
It's also listed as an 'SA' generation, not the outgoing 'LZ' model, and is powered by a non-turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that isn't available with other Australian-market Focus models – though Ford's local division had "nothing" to announce on such a model.
Power and torque figures aren't listed, though the Ambiente appears to be available with both six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, driving the front wheels exclusively like the wider range.
By comparison, the turbocharged unit is fitted as standard with an eight-speed automatic locally.
A quick internet search showed that the non-turbo 1.5-litre engine isn't available in the UK or Germany – the latter where the wider Australian Focus range will be built.
However, a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine is available in China, making a humble 90kW at 6000rpm and 153Nm at 4500rpm, available with both six-speed manual and six-speed auto shifters.
The automatic-equipped Focus sedan with this engine accelerates from 0-100 in a leisurely 12.7 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 191km/h.
Ford's Chinese website lists fuel consumption at 5.6L/100km, though the Green Vehicle Guide quotes a combined figure of 6.9L/100km.
With that in mind, it's possible the entry-level Focus could be imported from China. The Blue Oval builds the new-generation small car there for the Chinese market, and was going to export the Focus Active to the US from its factory in China, but has since cancelled those plans.
This could also put the Focus sedan (pictured in blue) back on the cards for Australia, as it is made in China for Asian markets, but isn't built nor available in Europe – though it could be limited to left-hand drive.
As for specification, the base 'Style' grade available in the UK (pictured in red) could serve as a guide, which includes 16-inch alloy wheels, halogen headlights, LED daytime-running lights, electric mirrors with heating, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist protection, automatic headlights, tyre pressure monitoring, manual air-conditioning, along with electric one-touch windows all round.
Where the British model gets a budget-looking 4.3-inch monochrome infotainment display, the Chinese model gets an 8.0-inch display though without Sync 3 – we reckon the Oz-market would include Sync 3 like the wider range.
Ford Australia has declined to comment on this news. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest updates, and let us know your thoughts in the comments – would you be in the market for a $20-25k entry-level Focus?
Click here for more images, and thanks to Cameron for the tip!