It was a nice warm day as Ford kick started their customized test drive sessions for the general public today. Held in Holiday Inn, Glenmarie, the session was purely by appointment and only for those who have registered for the test drive. Kensomuse registered while the Focus was on display at Pyramid and was quick to jump onto the opportunity to be one of the first in Malaysia to test the car and share with you some insights about it.

 

Before I go on, please read the earlier article below as I won’t spend too much time explaining about each features since it has already been covered and will focus more on how each feature works as shown in this test drive session:-

 

http://www.kensomuse.com/the-next-generation-ford-focus-start-more-than-a-car/

 

When the car was in display in Pyramid, there were little information on the specifications and trim levels. Today, Sime Darby, the official distributor of the Ford range revealed more information about the car and it’s scheduled for launch some time in September. The Focus will be sold in both sedan and hatchback form and there will be 2 trim levels; a standard and a higher spec version called Plus.

 

Design

 

Ford’s Kinetic design conveys well in both hatchback and sedan form, looking pretty handsome in either form.

 

 

Ford calls its hatchbacks Sport whereas the sedans are called Ghia. Sport gets 17″ alloy wheels while Ghia gets 16″ and this applies to both Plus and non-Plus specifications.

 

There were 3 Ghia colors on display; ingot silver, frozen white and surprisingly a bronze color which is not part of the local offering (other than silver and white, Ghia can be had in midnight sky blue and for Ghia Plus, you can also order it in Candy Red). The last picture above is a UK spec-ed unit which explains the color and the star-shaped rim is not something we will be getting here.

 

 

On the Sport, you’ll get a nicely shaped spoiler which completes the overall look of the hatchback.

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The Plus gets Bi-Xenon projector headlamps and DRL (DRL only for Ghia Titanium Plus)

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Both variants gets puddle lights which is a great convenience in avoiding dog poo when parking in the dark

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Also found on the side mirrors of the Ghia Plus are the Blind Spot Information System where a small yellow light would light up if there is a car beside you in your blind spot so that you don’t blindly change lanes.

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Check out the amount of sensors the front windscreen has

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Stand within 1-2 feet to lock/unlock the doors

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Performance

 

 

 

We’ll only be getting one engine variant and that’s the 2.0 litre Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) 4 Inline producing 170PS @ 6,500rpm and 202Nm torque @ 4,550rpm which is pretty decent for a NA engine.

 

Acceleration is brisk and unlike Asian made cars, the engine does not sound strained when pushed. Ford claims the Focus can hit a top speed of 207kph for both the Ghia and Sport and no official zero to hundred figures were given.

 

 

The Focus has Active Grille Shutter which closes the front vents to improve aerodynamics. I doubt anyone can feel it working but it’s supposed to improve fuel efficiency.

 

 

Paired with the engine is a 6-speed Twin Clutch automatic gearbox with manual override. Note the manual over-ride is not the usual + – slot as most other tiptronic gearboxes may have. It’s probably the only car in the world that has the manual shift controls ON the gearstick itself. Until today, motoring journalists around the world are still baffled as to why Ford choose to reinvent the wheel … particularly when the wheel is working so well. It certainly felt a bit odd to be shifting gears with my thumb and this is the only way to do it as the Focus does not have paddle shifters. It might not be more easier to use if we were a left hand drive market as most drivers use their right hand more often (hand brakes, changing gears, etc) and the right thumb is well “exercised” but I believe most drivers would not have a deft left thumb when trying to manually engage gears when the mood to go fast hits. An ergonomic oversight for Asian markets?

 

As the roads were clear, I didn’t notice if the the gearbox displayed the usual juddering at slow speeds as most dual clutch gearboxes. However at high speeds, the gear shifts are seamless and occupants won’t feel any gear drag that usually accompanies gear kick down. It’s still not as sharp and fast as VW’s DSG but much better than a conventional auto transmission.

 

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Ride and Handling

 

One of Ford’s forte is in the handling area and the Focus certainly demonstrates this with great aplomb. The test route had us drive out from Holiday Inn Glenmarie, run on some curvy B roads before hitting straights. Drivers would not feel the Torque Vectoring Control working but it must be as the car felt really planted on the road. There’s a small roundabout at the regular Glenmarie test drive roads and throwing it round and round, it manages to stay focused on staying stable. Unless you’re attempting suicide or drunk, the limit of what a sane person will attempt in taking corners is pushed higher. Dare I say that this is probably the best C segment car I’ve ever driven!

 

My only gripe is that the steering felt a tad too light. It still manages to convey a good amount of road feedback but I would have preferred a slightly more weighted wheel. Having said that, the light steering is a great point for those regularly commuting within the city and more often than not encountering heavy traffic.

 

 

Cabin Convenience

 

The Sport gets semi leather seats:

 

 

 

Whereas the Ghia gets full leather seats with a beige interior:

 

 

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I like the beige interior …. it adds an airy ambiance to the cabin

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My biggest complaint about the Focus are the seats. For my height, the front seats do not offer sufficient thigh support as you can see in the picture above. Driving long distance may be tiring for a person with long legs and Ford can’t increase the seat length too much else the rear legroom, which isn’t fantastic to begin with will shrink even more. However, for the fairer gender, I believe most women are of that height and will find the seats comfortable enough for them.

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Keyless entry and Push Start is standard on all variants

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The Sony head unit features CD, MP3, AM/FM & AUX Input port. It also allows playback from USB and has iPod connectivity.

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Song title and artist are clearly displayed on the 4.2″ Color Multifunction Display and the USB Port is found within the glove compartment

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Ford SYNC Audio System with Voice Command

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Over 10,000 voice commands are programmed into the car and all you have to do is speak the proper commands the Ford SYNC does the rest. We had a chance to try out the audio controls via voice commands and it could understand local accents well enough. It could also read SMSes to you and we tested with the following message:-

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It sounded like the same lady in Garmin GPS systems were speaking to us and the usual US mispronunciation such as “Gent-ting” and “Bung-gah” was present. It’s bound to be a source of endless amusement to you and your passengers as you discover newer ways of pronouncing local words. Btw, LOL would be read in full Laugh Out Loud. You may also voice command an SMS reply but only preset templates that cannot be re-programmed.

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Active City Stop

 

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Only available for Plus spec models, Active City Stops will bring the car to a complete stop automatically within speeds of 30kph. This is perfect for those who love SMSing while driving and it is most useful in situations such as roundabouts where you’re busy looking at oncoming traffic on the right without realising the car in front has stopped or in shopping malls where the car in front suddenly stops after spotting a car exiting a parking lot

 

 

It was unnervingly like a rollercoaster ride when the instructor told us to accelerate towards the white box but keeping within 30kph and consciously not to step on the brakes. True enough, at about 6 feet away from imminent impact, the system automatically kicks in and the car is brought to a complete stop for about 1 second before it starts to creep forward again. The reason why it would move again is because Ford has conducted studies that concludes that most drivers would automatically step on the brakes if they are aware of any obstacles ahead. It’s due to the lack of awareness that caused the accident in the first place but once they can see it, they will brake so the system is not required after the braking maneuver is done.

 

The system will still work at speeds above 30kph but may only slow down the vehicle without stopping in time to reduce impact. The system will also work if you were lightly tapping the brakes.

 

 

Active Park Assist

 

Perfect for those who find it challenging to do parallel parking, this system automatically scans for a parking space big enough to park the car and turns the steering wheel automatically. Here’s how it works:

 

 

Press on the ‘Auto |P| ON’ button found in front of the gear stick. The system will automatically scan the LEFT side of the car (this is by default) since we are in a driving-on-the-left-side-road country. You can scan the RIGHT side by switching the RIGHT indicators on. The car needs to be moved within 2 feet of the adjacent vehicles for the lateral sensors mounted on the front and rear bumpers to work.

 

 

Once a suitable parking space is found, you’re then prompted to do the following:

 

 

 

Hands off and poltergeist takes over the steering. All you need to do is just manage the brakes. The car will creep (like how your car tend to move forward on its own when the gear is on ‘D’ mode) towards its intended direction

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Slot the gear forward after reversing to the proper position. The steering then turns by itself again to move forward and then you’re done.

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You can manually override the system by holding onto the steering. The system disengages when it encounters resistance on the steering wheel.

 

 

 

Safety

 

Next to a Volvo, the Ford is probably one of the safest C segment vehicles you can find on Malaysian roads by offering:-

 

  • Anti Lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Hill Launch Assist (HLA)
  • Torque Vectoring Control (TVC)
  • Driver & Passenger single stage airbag
  • Side airbags
  • Child Proof Door Locks
  • Seat belts with pretensioners
  • Driver and Passenger Seat belt minder (audio chimes)
  • Ultra Rigid Safety Cell & Crash Crumple Zone
  • Collapsible Steering Column & Control Pedals
  • Front & Side Collision Protection Beams
  • Electronic Passive Anti Theft Security System (EPATS)
  • Perimeter Alarm
  • Front & Rear Disc Brakes
  • Front & Rear Parking Aid

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Plus spec has curtain airbags (bringing a total of 6 airbags) in addition to the non-Plus spec

 

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Specifications

 

The Ghia Titanium sedan has the following specifications:-

 

Exterior

  • Halogen headlamps
  • Front & Rear Fog Lamps
  • Reversing Lamps
  • Center High Mounted Stop Lamps
  • Electric Folding Side Mirrors
  • Power Adjustable Side Mirrors
  • Turn Indicator and Puddle Lamps
  • High Gloss Black Color Front Grille
  • Chrome Window Trim
  • Front & Rear Towing Hooks
  • 205/60 R16 tires with 16″ alloy wheels
  • Mini sized spare wheel

 

Interior

  • Keyless Entry with Push Button Start
  • Automatic & Electronic Dual Zone Climate Controls
  • Leather Wrap Steering with Audio Controls
  • Leather Wrap Gear Shift
  • Power Windows – all 4 windows “one touch up/down”
  • 4.2″ Color Multifunction Display
  • “SYNC” Audio System
  • Bluetooth Connectivity and Voice Control
  • Audio System – CD, MP3, AM/FM & AUX Input Port
  • USB and iPod Connectivity
  • 9 Premium High Series Speakers
  • Leather seats
  • Power- 4 way Driver Seat Adjust
  • Sun-visor with Illuminated Vanity Mirror
  • Rear Center Armrest
  • 60:40 Split Folding Rear Seat
  • Front wipers – Variable Intermittent
  • EcoMode

 

Transmission & Driving Dynamics

  • Twin Independant Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT)
  • Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)
  • 6-speed Automatic Twin-Clutch with Manual Override
  • Front Suspension Independant with McPherson Strut
  • Rear Suspension Control Blade Independent Rear
  • Electric Power-Assisted Steering (EPAS)
  • Rack & Pinion Power Steering
  • Active Grille Shutter

 

*The Sport hatchback gets the following in addition to the Ghia sedan:-

  • LED Rear Tail Lamps
  • Full Body Kit
  • Rear Spoiler
  • 215/50 R 17 tires with 17″ alloy wheels
  • Semi Leather seats (instead of full leather seats in the Ghia)
  • Manual 4-way Driver and Passenger Seat Adjust (instead of Powered Driver seats)
  • Rear Wipers – Intermittent

 

 

Opting for the Ghia Titanium Plus would give you the following:-

 

In addition to the non-Plus spec unless specified otherwise

 

Exterior

  • Bi-Xenon HID Headlamps with Headlamp Jet Washer (instead of Halogen)
  • Follow-me-home Lighting
  • Power Tilt/Slide Sunroof
  • Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

Interior

  • Rain Sensing Front Wipers, Variable Intermittent
  • Automatic Headlamps
  • Cluster Variable Dimming
  • Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror

 

Transmission & Driving Dynamics

  • Active Part Assist
  • Active City Stop
  • Blind Spot Information System (BLIS)
  • Cruise Control

 

*The Sport Plus hatchback gets the same addition as the non-Plus over the sedan but with the addition of the Plus kits. However for some reason, Ford has removed BLIS and DRL (not sure if this is a printing error on the spec sheet but only way to be sure is to wait for the launch date) from the hatchback so don’t go looking for it.

 

 

Ownership and maintenance

 

The selling price OTR with insurance is as follows;-

 

2.0l Ghia Titanium sedan and Sport hatchback – RM115,888

2.0l Ghia Titanium Plus sedan and Sport Plus hatchback – RM128,888

 

Another cool thing about the is the Focus is now offered with a FIVE year warranty, something of a norm nowadays for C segment vehicles or 200,000km whichever comes first.

 

 

With these prices, the closest C segment competitors is the Honda Civic and Mazda 3 while the Peugeot 308/408 is not that far off. In terms of specifications, here’s how the Focus looks compared to its competitors:-

 

 

Sedan

 

 

 

 

Hatchback

 

 

Looking at the chart above, I doubt you will be able to find another car that comes with such cutting edge technology being sold at these prices and certainly worthy of considering. When you are able to sample it in a test drive, bring your cheque book along; you’d be hard pressed not to buy one after being poisoned by its superior specifications and driving dynamics.

 

 

 

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kensomuse

Though working in a field completely unrelated to the automotive industry, kenso has always had an interest in dabbling into the automotive industry, particularly business related aspects such as sales, marketing, strategic planning, blah blah blah. You can probably find better sources of technical specifications elsewhere if you dig long enough in the internet as this blog talks about the real life ramifications of who, what, where, when and why of the automotive world and focuses on relevant information to potential buyers.

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21 Comments

  1. King
    August 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm — Reply

    Thanks for the review of this car … looking forward to the launch date.

    Is this event open to automotive bloggers only or anyone who registered for the test drive?

    Any comments on Ford Malaysia after sales service as i have never owned a Ford … thks

    • August 12, 2012 at 8:16 am — Reply

      The event is open to all who registered for the test drive. You can still request for a test drive by submitting your details here:

      http://www.ford.net.my/all_new_focus/

      Those I know who owned/owns a Ford has never complained about servicing so they’re alright in this department, I guess.

  2. Duck
    August 12, 2012 at 1:32 am — Reply

    Ford makes generally good cars. My dad owned a 1.6 Laser Ghia back then. But only gripe is the spare parts were really hard to find after 10 years of ownership. Maybe SIme Darby does a bettter job now for Ford.

    One look at the seats (even without reading the article) has already tell me that its not comfortable. It looks too flat. Unless your ass has a bit more flesh, this would be an agonizing long journey ride. _ That’s just me judging by the looks. So, Kenso: tell us more!

    agree that the Ford is a safe car next to a volvo. Volvo is running a promo now for their pre-reg S40 which is priced at 14xK. You may want to choose between that out going S40 against a new Focus. Btw, the Volvo got really comfy seats! But a lot lesser HP and Torque.

    • August 12, 2012 at 9:28 am — Reply

      I don’t really have an issue with the seats being flat. I do pity the sales advisor sitting behind as she gets thrown around at the speed I was traveling around corners (hey, what better way to test the Torque Vectoring Control, right?). My concern is limited to the length of the thigh support which, for my height may pose an issue. It was fine for that short drive and will probably be able to comment more conclusively if a longer test drive is allowed. Otherwise, support for the front is good and there was sufficient cushioning to say it’s not hard.

  3. DC18
    August 12, 2012 at 8:45 am — Reply

    I hope they reconsider giving 5years warranty. This will give them the edge over Japanese and other conti.

    • August 12, 2012 at 9:33 am — Reply

      Sadly, it’s not just the Japs the Focus has to contend with. Think back on the latest C segment offerings; Proton Preve, Honda Civic, Kia Forte, Hyundai Elantra, VW Jetta and Peugeot 408 ….. ALL of them offer 5 years warranty. SDAC would be the first to break that streak of manufacturers offering 5 years warranty if it opts to maintain the usual 3 years warranty (which if they do offer the 5 years warranty and from what I hear about Ford made cars, is not really needed because their cars are made to be durable and you hardly hear any issues about them during this half decade of ownership)

  4. DC18
    August 12, 2012 at 9:09 am — Reply

    As for the seats, actually it is comfy for long distance for the front passenger/driver. Back not so due to the almost vertical seats.

    Service is average, do not expect it to be any diff with local setup.

    • August 12, 2012 at 9:34 am — Reply

      Hmmm, I didn’t feel the rear was sitting as straight compared to a Peugeot 308THP or Suzuki Swift. It was reasonably comfortable at the back, only issue was the rear legroom which is not class leading.

      • wyntm
        August 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm — Reply

        The back seats on the hatch slants more and is more comfortable. But surprisingly on the sedan, it was straighter and similar to the Peugeot 308.

  5. DC18
    August 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    Was replying to duck on the seats.

    There could be a surprise on the warranty.

  6. Tom
    August 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm — Reply

    How tall are you Kenso? So we can roughly estimate the space based on the picture of you sitting in the front seat. 🙂

    • August 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm — Reply

      I’m 5’10”, bro.

  7. silent-ford-fan
    August 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm — Reply

    love the hatchback.. thanks for SDAC for organizing this, and much better than last last years Fiesta outing!

    i roughly know the roads around that area, so i tried the TV feature at the u-turns and
    blast out of the guard house. it REALLY bites! one of the best EDL system. difficult to feel TV at s-bends as its not sharp enough to spin the inner wheels. all i can think of when Harv mention TV was WOT at sepang turn 9.. hehe.

    agreed too that rear space is surprisingly ‘very last decade’ . i felt very comfy at the back of the sedan but fitting 3 adults there really reminded me of how car the C-segs have went ahead. but i really wanna be in the driver’s seat of the hatchback all day long 🙂

    thumbs up to the lady promoter demo-ing the Ford Sync… better presentation skills and beauty than most promoters…hehe

    • August 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm — Reply

      Oh yeah … Ford SYNC demo girl was hot .. should have pretended to say want to test the system and ask for her number so that we can call her phone that’s already synced to the system 😛

  8. Tunasandwich
    September 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm — Reply

    When you say the steering is a bit on the light side, is it as bad as the 2012 Elantra?

    The one on the Elantra was really quite feedback-less :-S

    • September 7, 2012 at 6:31 am — Reply

      The good thing about the Focus is that even though it’s light, there’s still feedback. Hyundai, on the other hand gives you steering weight that gives you the constant impression your car is going to skid at higher speed corners

  9. Fisher
    September 15, 2012 at 11:24 am — Reply

    Nice review! Any idea on the boot size and Weight of sedan version?

  10. namrod
    November 14, 2012 at 1:10 am — Reply

    hi kenso!
    been a keen reader of your blog all the while. just hope that for future reviews on C-segment cars, maybe you can add more details like manufacturer’s fuel consumption claim (L/100km or km/L) and availability of rear passenger’s aircond vents in your comparison chart.
    anyway keep up the good effort!
    ^_^

    • November 14, 2012 at 5:32 am — Reply

      Hi, excellent points! I will prepare accordingly

  11. Naz
    August 12, 2013 at 12:12 am — Reply

    Hi kenso!
    I am in dilemma to choose between focus sport + or used golf mk6 (budget is <130K). Cannot make up my mind after testing both cars (only tested the mk7 but assuming mk6 driving experience is more or less similar). Space, fuel consumption is not an issue as it is going to be my weekend ride.
    The golf is more powerful but focus has more toys and brand new. How's your mk6 ownership experience like? Have you sold it?
    PLease help me to decide
    Cheers!

    • August 12, 2013 at 8:42 am — Reply

      Hi Naz,

      Sweet that you’re choosing between these 2 cars for a weekend ride. My views about both cars is that the Focus handles more sharply compared to the Golf. You’re right to say the Focus has tons of gadgets in it and considering you’re buying it new, the satisfaction of owning it cannot be compared to a 2nd hand car. Of course, in terms of brand prestige and power, the Golf trumps. Personally, I feel that the Golf gives a more balanced driving experience compared to the Focus. It’s not just about how fast the car gets to 100kph from standstill but more of how everything, from handling (which the Focus has a edge) to comfort for all passengers and of course, the thrill of picking up speed after a corner. In that sense, I would choose the Golf.

      Do note that the Golf isn’t without its problems. The infamous mechatronic failure is present (although mine seems to be permanently rectified once it was changed) and the 15k km/1 year maintenance fee is certainly higher than the Focus which is given free for the first 60k km, if I’m not mistaken. I’m quite happy with my Golf and intend to keep it long term.

      Having said that, don’t mistaken the driving experience of the Mk 7 the same as the Mk 6. It isn’t and between the Mk 6 and 7, I’d take the 7 anytime. Test both out when you have the chance.

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