“All the gear, similar idea” could be the mantra, as Ford seeks to repeat the Focus Mk I's phenomenal sales record with its high-tech successor.
The covers come off the MkII at Paris in late September, to reveal a car rich in Blue Oval breakthroughs, but arguably short on 'wow' factor. Ford will emphasise developments – a 1.6-litre engine with twin variable camshaft timing and gadgets like keyless entry and cornering headlamps – while reminding cynics: “If it ain't broke, why fix it?”
Although most of the disguise has been stripped away for final testing, the front end treatment isn't quite clear in our photo. But it takes its lead from the C-Max with a bolder grille and more geometric lamps. With its coupe-like roofline, Focus II's silhouette looks plenty sporting, but it isn’t as dramatic as the Megane II.
Focus II rides on a different platform, dubbed C1, as the revised proportions attest. It’s wider, taller and longer, boosting cabin space. Components are shared with the Volvo S40/V50 and Mazda 3, offering huge economies of scale with up to 1.3m sales a year.
All three have the same Focus-inspired Control Blade rear suspension, and struts up front, tuned by Ford's ride and handling gurus. Safety is by Volvo, and expect anti-lock brakes to be standard from launch this time. Another safety gizmo is cornering headlamps, while keyless access surfaces a la Renault-Nissan.
Engines range from 75bhp 1.4-litre to a 145bhp 2.0-litre. The highlight is a new 115bhp 1.6-litre Ti-VCT, with twin variable camshaft timing, to optimise torque or economy depending on driving conditions.
As for diesels, the 110bhp 1.6-litre TDCi, with optional CVT transmission, will be offered alongside the 136bhp 2.0 TDCi. And sources say the ST version runs a 220bhp Volvo fivepot, pushing the Focus RS into 300bhp Subaru Impreza STi territory. But with Volvo's 4wd system already plumbed into C1, traction shouldn't be a problem. Focus II sales begin late this year, with prices from around £11,000.
Petrol engines include 75bhp 1.4, 115bhp 1.6, 125bhp 1.8 and 145bhp 2.0. A 110bhp 1.6 TDCi and the C-Max’s 136bhp 2.0 TDCi also offered.
Uses new C1 platform, shared with Mazda 3, Volvo S40 and C-Max, complete with Control Blade rear axle. Focus II is taller, longer and wider.