Ford and its local distributor Sime Darby Auto Connexion (SDAC) today officially launched the new Focus in Malaysia. Stylish, packed with an array of smart technologies and powered by an exhilarating 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine, it is the most powerful small car in Malaysia.
“The new Ford Focus combines smart and safe technologies with the unmatched performance and fuel efficiency of our 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine, which delivers an exhilarating fun-to-drive experience,” said David Westerman, managing director, Malaysia and Asia Pacific Emerging Markets, Ford Motor Company.
For our market, you get three choices; the more affordable Trend line which comes only in hatchback form, the higher spec sedan Titanium + and the high spec hatchback Sport +.
The new Focus’s exterior has been tweaked to feature the company’s new family face consisting of anew sculpted hood and trapezoidal grille. Also new are LED Daytime Running Lights and the headlamps are made slimmer and rectangular fog lamps replace the circular ones found on its predecessor. Seen here is the Titanium+ sedan.
Check out the number of “eye sensors” the Focus has.
It measures 4,360mm in length for the hatch (4,534mm for sedan as seen here), 1,823mm in width (2,044mm in you include side mirrors) and 1,469mm in height with a wheelbase of 2,650mm. For wheels, you get 17″ alloy for the hatchback variants wrapped in 215/70 rubber whereas the sedan will feature 16″ alloys with 205/60 tires.
At the back, you’ll find a rear spoiler, thinner rear lamps compared to the predecessor and for the hatchback, the tailgate is entirely new.
The new Focus 1.5-litre four-cylinder EcoBoost engine is the most powerful in its class-pumping out an impressive 180PS (@ 6,000rpm) of power and 240Nm (@ 1,600-5,000rpm) of torque. It’s certainly far better than the 2.0 litre Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) engine (170PS @ 6,500rpm and 202Nm torque @ 4,550rpm) in the previous incarnation.
On the go, the power is awesome. Once the rev counter hits 2,000rpm, you’ll experience a burst of power that doesn’t taper off till over 5,000rpm. It doesn’t scare you like some turbocharged machines as the power is easy to modulate and control. Even better is the low, guttural engine soundtrack accompanying that power. Best in power, best in engine orchestra.
Ride and Handling
Helping drivers harness this power is a new, lightweight and efficient six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the ultimate sporty drive. Well, “ultimate” might be an exaggeration but it’s certainly much preferred over the 6-speed Twin Clutch automatic gearbox with manual override it replaces. Left in D, it does its job unobtrusively but when it’s shifted to S mode, gear shifts are quicker and far more aggressive.
One of the hallmark of the Ford Focus is it’s handling and the new Focus lives up to its reputation, both in low and high speeds. It has a strong inclination to follow whichever direction you point it to, even at higher cornering speeds. Steering feel is great and vehicle It is arguably one of the best handling car in the segment.
NVH is excellent with wind noise intrusion cutting in at higher speeds in excess of 140km/h but a more thorough test drive (instead of the short few hours drive we had) is needed to ascertain its strengths better)
Ford owners will find the new Focus to be a familiar place. Fit and finish is good and controls are all within easy reach. Ford seem to favor adorning its Focus sedan with beige interior (the hatchback has dark interiors).
In designing the interior layout of the new Focus, Ford listened to its customers and reduced the number of buttons. The result is a cleaner and simplified dashboard that’s intuitive to use. It didn’t take me long to adapt to where things are here.
There’s a nice red footwell lighting that you can see here. The same red tinge can be found on the adjustable cupholders.
On the 3-spoke helm, you’ll find the usual control suspects – hands-free telephony, cruise control, audio and multi info display toggles. You’ll also find steering mounted paddle shifters here.
Sitting between the rev and speed meter is the color TFT which tells you all sort of information such as trip meter, distance to empty as well as driver assist controls.
On the Titanium+ and Sport+, you’ll find a 8″ Color TFT Touchscreen Display SYNC 2 head unit sitting between the center air conditioning vents. It has the same 4-quadrant display as the one in the Ford Mondeo and Ford Ranger Wildtrak. It’s very easy to use and flipping through the controls is convenient since the virtual buttons are so huge.
Sound is played through a 9-speaker sound system which is adequate for a stock system. Trend line gets a 6 speaker system.
For the Sport+ and Titanium+, you’ll get Dual Zone automatic air conditioning. It can be quite chilly in here which is always a welcoming thing to get into in our weather.
Not exactly the largest glove compartment of the segment but it’ll do.
As well as it drives, I’ve always found the Focus’s biggest weakness is its seat. Now, some might say that I’m tall so I might find thigh support to be lacking but if others in the segment can produce a car with better support, there’s no reason why Ford couldn’t. The thigh support is too short for my 178cm frame and the rear backrest a tad straight. Combined, it can get uncomfortable for tall people sitting behind. The good news is the headroom is sufficient and I didn’t have to adjust my hair every time I sit here.
Boot space is good for a C-segment although there are no official numbers and below the boot floor is a space saver tire.
Comprehensive – might not even be the right word to use to describe what Ford has loaded the Focus with when it comes to safety.
- Driver & front passenger airbag
- Side airbags
- Curtain airbags (total 6 airbags)
- Hill Launch Assist
- Keyless Entry/Start
- Perimeter Alarm
- Passive Anti-Theft System EPATS
- Front Parking Aid Sensors
- Follow-Me-Home lighting
- Enhanced Active City Stop
- BLIS with Cross Traffic Alert
- SOS Post Crash Alert
- Enhanced Active Park Assist
Always had problem fitting your car into a tight spot? Ford’s Enhanced Active Park Assist now helps in parallel parking (that’s side parking which is quite common), perpendicular parking (this is our usual cucuk front in or back in and in this case, it’s back in) as well as getting out of a parallel parking spot. The only other car I’ve driven so far that has all these function is the Land Rover Evoque so kudos to Ford for bringing this technology down to this price point.
Here’s a video of it in action
The test drive route allowed us to test various safety features of the car and the Enhanced Active City Stop which autonomously stops the vehicle at speeds up to 50km/h works as advertised. In today’s age where driver spend probably half their time looking down at a smartphone when stuck in traffic, this feature would spare you a lot of apologizing and money wasting when bumping the car in front.
Then you have the MyKey, a system that allows you to program certain settings such as maximum speed, audio volume limit, even customizing to muting the infotainment system if your teenage son who’s borrowing your car did not fasten his seatbelt.
- Full body styling kit
- Standard suspension set up (Sport suspension for Sport+)
- Auto halogen headlamps with Manual headlamp leveling control
- LED Daytime Running Lights
- Power adjustable side mirrors with side indicator, heated, auto-folding and puddle lamps (not available in the Trend line)
- Front Fog lamps
- Rear Fog lamps
- Rain sensing wiper (not available in the Trend line)
- Rear intermittent wash/wiper (not available in sedan)
- Active Grille Shutter
- Dual Zone EATC air conditioning system
- Trip computer, EcoMode, Message Centre, Steering wheel tongle control, outside temperature display
- Dual tone Horn
- Covered Cupholders (roller shutter) and 12V powerpoint in armrest stowage bin
- Powered 1 shot up/down windows
- Remote/powered child-proof rear door locks
- Steering wheel mounted paddle shifter (not available in the Trend line)
- 8″ Color TFT Display SYNC 2 (1x USB, 1x AUX Jack & SD Slot + Front Storage USB) (Trend line gets a 3.5″ Dot Matrix Display SYNC)
- 9-speaker system (Trend line gets 6-speaker system)
- Powered 4-way Driver Seat adjust with manual lumbar adjust – V-shape Sport Style with High Bolster (not available in the Trend line)
- Manual 2-way front passenger seat adjust
- Rear Centre armrest with integrated cup holders
- Leather wrapped, tilt and telescopic steering wheel – 3 spoke
- Color TFT cluster (not available in the Trend line)
- Electrochromatic rearview mirror (not available in the Trend line)
- Overhead console – sunglass holder includes submarine sight (not available in the Trend line)
- Illuminated sunvisor (not available in the Trend line)
- Door sill scuff plates (not available in the Trend line)
- Ambient lighting & footwell lights (not available in the Trend line)
- Front individual map sights and rear map sights (not available in the Trend line)
- Rear grab handle – folding damped with coat hooks (not available in the Trend line)
Ownership and Maintenance
The new Ford Focus retails for RM139,888 for the Sport+ and Titanium+ whereas the Trend sells for RM118,888 OTR excluding insurance. It is available in 4 different colors’ Frozen White, Panther Black, Candy Red and Winning Blue for the hatchback and 3 colors for the sedan (Frozen White as tested here, Ingot Silver and Magnetic)
Is it worth it? For the driving experience, yes. Personally, even though I prefer sedans, the seats just doesn’t cut it for me (but for shorter drivers, it’s not a big deal). The hatchback on the other hand might provide a whole new game – but that’s another story for another day.