While it has been dropped from Ford’s Philippine lineup, the Focus has traditionally had a very firm grasp on one of the podium spots in Britain’s top 10 best-selling cars. In recent times, though, not so much—electric vehicles and crossovers are commanding more sales than ever, and the grip of the Focus has weakened. Time for it to get an update, then.
This being a midlife facelift, we’d be remiss if we weren’t to immediately mention its new lights and grille. Because of course it has those. LEDs are now standard all around, the front pair bookending a bold new grille and the rears wearing a new darker tint for extra assertiveness.
Much like on the recently updated Fiesta, the grille morphs depending on your trim level, getting ever chromier with the money you spend. The ST-Line’s honeycomb pattern apes that of the full-bore ST hot hatch, a car whose refresh has seen diesel power dropped. Posh Vignale trim remains for the regular Focus, as does the ‘lowrider SUV’ Active version.
The Focus now possesses a “largest in segment” 13.2-inch central media screen with over-the-air software upgrades to stop it dating too quickly, but it ought to be in pretty good shape for a while yet: Ford’s latest Sync 4 infotainment brings cloud-connected satnav and voice control that’s more natural to use, apparently. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard fit.
This is the first time a blind-spot assist system has found its way into a Focus, and it’s one that will apply corrective steering if you ignore its nagging. If you’re towing a trailer, you can input its length and width to make sure the system incorporates the extra footprint into its monitoring.
We’ve not even talked about the engines yet. A pair of mild-hybrid gasoline units get an automatic option for the first time, a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission apparently retaining “typical Focus fun-to-drive” with the help of triple downshifts for overtakes, while the start/stop intervenes from 11kph and below to eke out fuel economy. The 1.0-liter turbopetrol comes with 123hp and 153hp outputs boasting mileage as high as 21.9km/L and CO2 emissions as low as 116g/km. A six-speed manual remains for those who like things old-school, as does a 118hp 1.5-liter turbodiesel if you like things really old-school.
We end, somewhat pertinently, in the rear cargo area. The Focus Active wagon now possesses a ‘wet zone,’ presumably to keep muddy dogs out of owners’ bad books. But that’s not all.
“During customer research, Ford found that 98% of current Focus wagon owners were not aware of all the existing features such as the stowable tonneau cover and boot floor, remote seat release, and floor divider system,” we’re told. So now, the wagon’s trunk comes with its own quick-read guide. Complying with RTFM has never been so easy.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.
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