There are some things that the previous Focus did well, like drive and handle well; this was especially true in the. On the looks and sales fronts, the old Focus never really set Australia on fire. The third major iteration of the Focus hopes to change all that.
And on the aesthetic part of the ledger, the new model delivers. Dressed up with large 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED driving lights, fog lights that double as parking/turning lights, and black paint that sparkles in the daylight, our top-of-the-range Titanium hatchback managed to convey both athleticism and luxury in one come-hither stare.
The boot is decently sized; lie the split-fold rear seats down, though, and you'll realise that the boot floor has been raised to accommodate a space-saver spare tyre. To compensate, somewhat, the foam surround for the spare wheel features compartments for hiding valuables under the boot floor.
Thinklevels of touchy feely goodness mixed in with more adventurous design and that's basically the new Focus' interior in a nutshell. The dashboard plastics are wonderfully soft and pliable, the switches click with precision, and the leather-trimmed steering wheel, handbrake and gear knob feel suitably aristocratic.
There are still some bum notes, though. For instance, the matte chrome highlights on the steering wheel look great, but reflect the harsh Australian sun distractingly. The piano black on the dashboard looks nice, although it does attract fingerprints and dust readily. While the shiny grey trim around the cabin just looks cheap.
Open the doors at night and the cabin is filled with enough light to make a shopping centre envious. And the instrument dials aren't slathered in the usual shades of white or red, but a rather fetching aqua blue.
Finding a comfortable driving position isn't too difficult as the driver's seat features electric adjustment, and the steering wheel adjusts for both reach and angle. Only the seat bolsters are lined in leather, lumbar adjustment is manual and there's no under-seat storage compartment.
The range-topping Titanium that we drove was fitted with a good number of gadgets and gizmos, but can be optioned up further via a Sports Executive pack that includes xenon headlights, cornering lamps, LED driving lights, adaptive cruise control and tilt/slide sunroof. Standard on all Titaniums is dual-zone climate control air conditioning, heated (but not cooled) front seats, stability and traction control, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and electric-folding mirrors.
As previously mentioned, the dusk-sensing headlights feature xenon bulbs that shine bright blue-tinged light into the darkness. Unfortunately, they don't swivel with the driver's steering inputs to help illuminate corners or bends.
The active cruise control system can not only maintain a constant speed, but also brake for you. This allows the car to slow down on hills and automatically keep a safe, and configurable, distance from the car in front. Unlike some systems fitted to high-end luxury vehicles it won't bring the car to a complete stop.
In lieu of a reversing camera, the Titanium is fitted with an automatic parallel parking system, and parking sensors at both the front and the rear. Compared to the parallel parking system we tried in the, the Ford's is rather hit and miss. Parking spaces generally needed to be 1.5 times the length of the Focus, it would sometimes fail to detect obvious parking spaces, and parking behind hatches or vans would lead to a wheel up on the curb.