Ford is giving the venerable Focus a major mid-life update for the 2022 model year, and the family hatchback (and estate...) will come with new engines, new styling, and a major overhaul of the cabin.
Sim LED lights
Outside, the biggest changes are at the front, where you'll find a bigger, more prominent grille, and new slim-line headlights (with more distinctive LED daytime running light signatures). The Ford 'Blue Oval' badge has also moved from the edge of the bonnet to the centre of the grille, while at the back there are now dark-smoked rear lights (with an optional upgrade to full LED lights).
There are also some subtle exterior differences between key models - Connected and Titanium versions get a wide upper grille with a gloss chrome surround, horizontal grille bars, and upturned side air vents. ST-Line models get a slightly different grille shape, with a honeycomb pattern, and a deep lower air intake. The SUV-esque Active model gets a big grille with upright bars, and taller side vents to go with its chunky side cladding.
There's also the Vignale pack (Vignale as a separate model has now been dropped), which gets satin-chrome features and upgraded alloys.
"The Focus has always been at the forefront of our 'human-centric' design philosophy, and now we have created a line-up that has even more personality," said Amko Leenarts, director, Design, Ford of Europe. "Every Focus oozes quality and modernity driven by technology, while each variant has a character that our customers can connect with emotionally - reflecting their own personality."
The engine lineup kicks off, as before, with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder petrol turbo engine with 125hp, which has CO2 emissions of 121g/km. There are now two 48-volt mild-hybrid versions of the same engine - in 125hp and 155hp forms, with CO2 emissions starting from 116g/km. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is optionally available.
The mild hybrids come with a starter-generator motor, which can help to save fuel around town by activating the stop-start system earlier and keeping the engine switched off for longer, or can add more power and torque to the engine under acceleration. For long-haul drivers, a diesel Focus, using the 1.5-litre EcoBlue engine with 120hp and 120g/km of CO2 will also be available.
The Focus will also get Ford's Drive Mode tech, which allows you to choose between Normal, Sport and Eco modes, and Active models get an off-road focused Trail function too.
Inside there's one big difference and it's the screen - sat in the centre of the dash, it's a 13.4-inch whopper and, to be honest, looks a little incongruous plonked into the Focus' relatively plain-looking cabin. Still, it's running the latest SYNC4 software (as does the all-electric Mustang Mach-E), but sadly that means that the heating and air conditioning controls now move to the screen, rather than being simple physical controls as they were previously.
Ford says that the software includes 'advanced speech recognition' in 15 languages, which combined with always-on internet connectivity means "quick, accurate responses to commands for everything from entertainment, phone calls and text messages to climate control and weather information."
The system can get over-the-air software updates, which will normally be done overnight, or at a specifically scheduled time, so that you can wake up to a fully-updated (and hopefully fully-functioning) system in the morning. You can of course connect the system to the FordPass app on your phone, and that will allow you - among other things - to check fuel levels, oil life, and start the car remotely. Ford's SecuriAlert system can provide extra peace of mind by using vehicle sensors to monitor for any attempt to enter the vehicle - even if a key is used - and send alerts to the user's phone. Functions such as live traffic, weather and parking information as well as Local Hazard Information will be provided free, at first, on a trial basis for all new Focus customers.
The Ford Secure subscription includes Stolen Vehicles Services, which provides 24-hour on-call assistance in the event of the vehicle being stolen, including tracking and recovery. The Ford Secure subscription will receive Neighbourhood Alerts - notifications from other SecuriAlert-protected vehicles in your area, and Location Alerts - the ability to create user-chosen boundaries and push notifications should the vehicle leave these areas, as Power-Up wireless updates at a later date.
Other high-tech options include Dynamic Pixel LED headlights (automatic high-beam LED headlights are standard), blind spot monitor with trailer assistance, a forward-facing camera safety system that helps to prevent you from turning across oncoming traffic at a junction, a rear occupant alert, and active park assistance.
"The new Focus is packed with new technologies and features that all deliver a tangible benefit to the driver or passengers in terms of comfort, convenience or safety," said Glen Goold, Ford Focus vehicle line director. "Our customers expect to find the latest features when they step into a Ford and that they will blend seamlessly into their lives - this is what we have achieved with the new Focus."
Estate now more practical
The Focus will also now be a little more practical, in the estate version at least, as the boot floor now comes with a moveable section that locks into place at a 90-degree angle, creating two separate spaces to keep items more secure. Following on from the example of the smaller Puma crossover, the boot of the estate now also features a wet zone, with a load-floor liner inserted into the space to provide water resistance against items such as wet suits and umbrellas. The water-resistant lining can be removed from the space for easy draining or cleaning, and the area can be enclosed from the rest of the boot with floor folded down, or separated with the vertical divider to create wet and dry zones.
The 280hp Focus ST hot hatch model gets the same cabin and styling changes as the rest of the lineup, but continues with no major mechanical updates. There are some equipment upgrades, though, and ST models equipped with the upgraded X pack feature Dynamic Pixel LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels and an additional Track mode within the selectable Drive Modes, for optimised EPAS feedback, a more aggressive throttle tuning and greater leeway from the ESC system.
Ford Ireland has not yet announced Irish arrival dates nor prices for the updated Focus as yet, but we'll update this article when it does so.