Growing Up

Story and Photos by Joe Yeo
5 Mar 2012

Ford’s new Focus has grown up and is more matured now. Joe Yeo checks out the four-door saloon bodystyle.

Introduction, styling

For many years, the Escort held the torch for Ford in the competitive compact class segment. The Escort was, well capable to cater to most people’s needs if a little mundane and somewhat boring to drive and look at (the fiery Cosworth notwithstanding). Here in Singapore, it was the Japanese made, Mazda 323-derived Laser that represented Ford in the compact class.

But it was all change in 1998 when the Focus superseded the Escort. The radical Focus was great looking inside and out and was endowed with dynamics that made it such a hoot to drive on twisty and flowing roads. The Focus was such a fabulous car that the Blue Oval was easily forgiven for its mediocre models in the past. Seven years and four million cars later, Ford introduced the second gen model in 2005. Compared to the original Focus, the second gen model lacked imagination in the way it looks while it lost a degree of the first Focus’ dynamic edge as well, feeling less sharp overall. When it came to replacing the second gen Focus, Ford finally had the chance to re-instil that extra degree of dynamism into one of its most important models.

The much-awaited third gen model is now here after making its public debut at the Detroit Motorshow in early 2010. The new car features an evolution of Ford’s Kinetic Design styling language that is characterised by the angular air inlets on the front bumper and wraparound head and tail lamps. The hatchback loses the earlier generation car’s high-mounted tail lamps – from the sides, the new hatchback’s tail lamps actually look like a stylised “F”. It features tauter and crisper lines than previously overall while it is also wider and longer than its predecessor model to model. The new model also features a rakish and vast windscreen. The flared wheel arches and headlamps are familiar styling cues that are carried over from previous generation models.

The saloon, tested here might look largely similar in overall profile to the old four-door model at first glance but Ford’s designers have somehow successfully made the elongated boot look more integrated with the rest of the car’s styling than before but we still think that the hatchback is the prettier of the two variants. As before, the new Focus will also be available in a more practical estate form at a later stage. Overall, the new Focus looks more sophisticated, matured and grown up than the model it replaces.

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