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Ford funks up the Focus

Published: 11 September 2007

Facelift for the Focus: all the details

Ford is funking up the Focus with a mid-life facelift. Aside from the Mondeo-esque nose, the major talking point is a double-clutch transmission on the flagship diesels. It’s good news for the Focus, which would have looked pretty bland on the Blue Oval’s Frankfurt stand next to Ford’s other unveilings, the Verve supermini concept and the Kuga SUV. The conservative Focus Mk2 has always looked a total wallflower compared with the orchid-like allure of the 1998 original. While the new trapezoidal grille and wraparound headlamps inject some boldness, the proportions – roof that towers over the bonnet, apologetically short nose – can’t be cured until the next-generation family car. But the low, wide, muscular Verve – which previews next year’s Fiesta replacement – suggests that the Mk3 will be worth the wait. Other visual tweaks to keep Britain’s best-seller at the top of the pile include bigger wheelarches and revised rear lamp graphics with a burst of white LEDs. Inside, a red-lit instrument panel from the Mondeo makes an appearance, while material quality is improved, claims Ford. The revised range goes on sale in February 2008. Mechanical changes are few, because they’re largely unnecessary on the best-driving car in the class. Five years after the Volkswagen Group pioneered it, Ford is getting a double-clutch transmission on the 135bhp or 109bhp 2.0-litre TDCi diesel. Like the VW system, the ‘PowerShift’ tranny employs a second clutch to pre-engage the next gear, enabling seamless shifts that are faster than a manual’s and use 10 percent less fuel. Unlike the VW system, the Ford ‘box is a collaboration with Getrag, not BorgWarner which had a hand in VW’s shifter. The Focus range will also get an ECOnetic model – much like VW’s Bluemotion range. Aerodynamic tweaks and a frugal 1.6-litre TDCi engine combine for brilliant carbon dioxide emissions of just 115g/km and 65mpg. The car is also equipped with a particulate filter to trap and incinerate nasties. As a result of this, the Focus ECOnetic should be Congestion Charge exempt – assuming London mayor Ken Livingstone makes good on hints to waive the charge for cars emitting less than 120g/km of CO2.

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine

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