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First drive: Ford Focus – on sale February 2008

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Review

The Focus is getting tough for 2008.

Ford has given its best-seller a facelift that introduces its new ‘kinetic design’ philosophy, seen recently in the new Mondeo.

This is Ford’s translation of energy in motion, and a browse around the revised Focus reveals that the changes have certainly given the car a bit more energy.

It’s an important revision for Ford.

It sells 115,000 Focus models a year, equating to one in every 20 new cars sold in the UK.

The new version will sell similar numbers, with the five-door taking 79% of sales, three-door 7%, estate 12% and four-door saloon 2%.

New Focus’s swept back headlamps and trapezoidal grille make the front end look more assertive, while the side profile and boot have received undercut lines at waist level.

The tailgate has a built-in spoiler, and the rear lights have also been redesigned.

Inside, the instruments are clearer and illuminated in red along with all other controls, and the instrument panel and upper trims of the doors are finished in a new soft-touch plastic.

Other changes include ESP fitted as standard, hazard light activation with heavy braking and capless refuelling.

Ford is pushing for a more upmarket feel with the revised Focus, and has an extensive options list of premium features, including LED rear lights, bi-xenon headlamps, DAB radio, tyre pressure sensors and a ‘power button’ to start the car.

Usefully, Ford offers a premium centre console with storage box and 230v power socket to allow owners to easily plug in equipment such as their household phone charger or laptop.

“When you buy a Focus it will always be well equipped.

"That’s important for customer satisfaction” said Roelant de Waard, Ford of Britain managing director and chairman.

The carmaker has slimmed down the Focus range from 107 variants to 82, by dropping the LX and Ghia versions.

The revised line-up goes through Studio, Style, Zetec to Titanium.

The revised ST hot hatch and Focus Coupé-Convertible both go on sale in March. A Focus RS will follow in 2009 in small volumes.

Six petrols and five diesels engines will be in the range.

The petrol units, unchanged from the outgoing Focus, are expected to account for 65% of UK volumes.

Among the diesels, Ford’s revisions have ensured all 1.6-litre TDCi variants will achieve sub-120g/km CO2 emissions.

These will be branded ECOnetic.

Automatic transmission is available on the 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrols.

A Powershift double-clutch six-speed transmission can be selected with the two 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi engines from March.

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