Ford Focus at the Detroit motor show 2010

Published: 11 January 2010

Welcome to what will undoubtedly prove to be a very familiar sight in the coming years: the new 2010 Ford Focus. Unveiled as a world car at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, the new Mk3 Ford Focus is easily one of the biggest launches in Detroit.

So the new Mk3 Ford Focus is going global?

You betcha. This one will follow the Fiesta across the Pond to America, giving the Focus a footprint from Dagenham to Detroit and beyond. It’s all part of the One Ford strategy, which bins previous attempts at having localised product developed for different markets at huge expense (the last Focus sold in America was quite different from the one that stormed Europe’s sales charts).

The new 2010 Ford Focus is a development of the now-familiar Golf challenger recipe: it aims to retain its dynamic zest, thanks to the latest iteration of the control blade rear suspension, but wrapped up in a cleaner, safer and more beautiful package.

It’s very different to look at, this new Focus!

Quite. Where the Mk1 Focus shocked with its nouveau shape and edgy detailing, the Mk2 lapsed into conservative safety. No more. Ford of Europe design boss Martin Smith has thrown his full Kinetic Design mantra at the Mk3 – with intriguing results.

With the arrival of the new 2010 C-Max and – for the first time – seven-seat Grand C-Max, there’s now space to make the new Focus even sportier. So this five-door you see here looks quiet swooping and low-set (it’s 25mm lower than the outgoing Focus). A three-door isn’t in the plan currently, after disappointing sales, although a four-door notchback is for saloon-biased markets.

What was the reaction in the CAR office when the Focus pics landed?

We found it striking and sporty – but we’d be lying if didn’t admit a few spotted Korean influences in the exterior, with (whisper it) shades of Kia Ceed in that nose for instance. It’s nonetheless a captivating design, with especially striking rear lamps shaped like a runny egg melting down the Focus’s flanks. The front end, too, is influenced by Fiesta but strikes out the next iteration of Ford’s family face.

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2010 new Ford Focus: the oily bits

Take note of this new mid-sized architecture from the Blue Oval. It’ll underpin a fulsome 10-strong range of medium cars, cranking out an impressive 2 million cars a year by 2012.

The new Focus sticks with front-wheel drive, powered by a new family of 1.6 and 2.0 Ecoboost engines which will kill off oddities such as Volvo’s five-pot in the ST. The new downsized-ish Ecoboost family ushers in turbos and direct injection, although cost reasons will ensure that many buyers stick to lower tech naturally aspirated engines.

Dual-clutch transmissions will be available, too, as are carryover 1.6 and 2.0 diesels. And remember that Focus BEV electric car? You’ll be hearing plenty more about that in the Mk3 Focus.

The new Ford Focus: tech galore

Get this. Even the Focus class cars now sport some pretty impressive gadgets. The new 2010 Focus hatch sports an active grille that closes off under certain speed/thermal conditions to improve airflow; Sync software will enable full web connectivity once Europe’s comms firms pull their fingers out; radar-braking systems will be optional; and it’ll read road signs and park the car for you if you go crazy enough on the spec sheet.

But all of that will count for nothing if Ford hasn’t nailed the Focus’s raison d’être: to provide a no-nonsense hatch with driver appeal to top the class, democratic pricing to win the wallet, roominess for family duty and build quality to equal the Golf. If – and only if – it delivers on all those counts, then the Blue Oval’s got another hit on its hands.

>> For CAR’s full verdict on the new Ford Focus, buy the new February 2010 issue of CAR Magazine out 20 January

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet