It's hard to ignore the rapid growth of the Chinese automotive industry, which is one of the largest contributors to many big car manufacturers' global sales. Over the past years, the car shows in China have gotten more important as more carmakers began using them as a platform for global and regional debuts. This month, Ford's refreshed compact car made its Asian debut at Auto Shanghai.
The refreshed Focus is finally in Asia, although we have to wait a bit longer for it to hit the ASEAN market. We're glad to see that little has changed since its global debut in Europe last year. As a refresher, the updated Focus underwent not just a cosmetic refresh, but also safety, tech and powertrain updates.
Up front is Ford's now familiar trapezoidal grille flanked by slimmer headlights. Its sides are largely unchanged, but they now feature thicker glass. Both sedan and hatchback models have restyled taillights with the hatchback model getting noticeably slimmer lights.
The Sport variant gets a more aggressive look--it comes with a reshaped front and rear valance, a front splitter, a rear diffuser, and reshaped rocker panels. The Titanium variant keeps it simple with a chrome grille and subtle chrome accents on the fog-light housings. Inside, the general look is retained, but it's now noticeably neater with fewer buttons, giving it a more refined appearance.
The refreshed Focus now features a range of EcoBoost engines with auto start/stop technology, a first for an Asian-built Focus. First is the 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which is the motor of the Fiesta Sport+. Then there's the more powerful 1.5-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. While no transmissions were specified, it's possible that these engines could be mated to a conventional six-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox like the Euro versions.
The Active City Stop system, which helps lessen low-speed collisions, now functions up to 50kph. The updated Focus also features Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Aid, preventing drivers from leaving their lanes by accident at high speeds. On the infotainment side, the updated Focus has SYNC2, which has enhanced voice control and an eight-inch color touchscreen.
While the Chinese-market Focus gives us a hint of what to expect in the ASEAN version, some details and standard features may vary between markets. Let's just hope that we get most of the goodies in the refreshed Chinese Focus.