The new Ford Focus range will start at less than £16,000 when it hits UK showrooms in March 2011, the company has announced. The base Edge, with a 1.6-litre 102bhp petrol engine, is the cheapest Focus at £15,995, with the £25,095 2.0-litre TDCi Titanium X topping the range.
There will be seven engines to choose from: three petrol and four diesel. The 1.6 petrol units produce 104bhp, 124bhp and 148bhp, the latter coming with a fuel economy-raising stop/start system. The diesel 1.6 churns out either 94bhp or 113bhp and are also fitted with stop/start, while a 2.0-litre oil burner can be had in either 138bhp or 161bhp guises and is the only engine that can be bolted to Ford's double-clutch Powershift transmission.
What kit does the new Ford Focus get?
All models come with a digital radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, voice control, front, side and curtain airbags, ESP and Isofix child seat attachments as standard. They also get Ford Easy Fuel, which prevents drivers from filling up their petrol car with diesel and vice versa, and Torque Vectoring Control, the system which cleverly balances the engine torque between the front wheels, optimising grip and stability.
On top of the Edge, the Zetec (expected to be the best seller) starts at £16,995 and gets 16in alloy wheels, a heated front windscreen and door mirrors, a leather steering wheel, front fog lamps and sports seats.
Titanium spec starts at £18,745 and comes with keyless start, dual zone climate control, Hill Start Assist (HSA), rain-sensing front wipers, automatic headlamps, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control and speed limiter, an upgraded audio system and a tyre deflation detection system.
The range-topping Titanium X begins at £21,245, adding part-leather trim, heated front seats, 17in alloy wheels, Active Park Assist (the car steers, you accelerate, brake and change gear – do people take no pride in parallel parking nowadays?), bi-xenon headlamps, LED daytime running lights, headlamp washers, an electric driver's seat and electric-folding mirrors.
Anything else I should know about the new Ford Focus?
Buyers can also choose extra safety kit like the Lane Keeping Aid, which warns the driver when they're about to leave a lane without indicating, and a blind spot warning system, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Tick the box for Sony DAB sat-nav and you’ll get a rear-view camera too.
The base £15,995 Focus is more expensive than its rivals’ cheapest models. But when comparable engines and specs are taken into account then Ford’s hatchback looks very tempting; a five-door Volkswagen Golf Twist with a 102bhp 1.2TSI engine costs £600 more at £16,595.