Ford will introduce a new third-generation edition of its iconic Focus in time for '11' registration plates in March next year. The new car promises to be more comfortable, agile and more technologically advanced than the current vehicles. And it looks absolutely nothing like the current Vauxhall Astra. No, sir.

The new Ford Focus will feature a raft of technology including a new touchscreen interface, automatic parallel parking (as seen on the Toyota Prius), adaptive cruise control, accidental lane-change and speed-limit warnings, and a low-speed anti-collision system like the one Volvo uses in its XC60.

There are loads of changes to the the new Focus' underpinnings, too. It'll be based on Ford's C platform, which will be used in the forthcoming C-Max and Grand C-Max cars. Ford reckons this improves the car's agility and reduces the amount of noise, handling and harshness felt in the cockpit.

Several engine choices will be on offer. The company will supply a range of 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines, five- and six-speed manual gearboxes, plus the option of a paddle-operated semi-automatic transmission. Most interestingly, Ford's also confirmed a battery electric version will appear in 2012, and is also hinting at the possibility of a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version in 2013-14.

All in all, the new Focus is a very exciting prospect. Whether it'll re-invent the hatchback as it did when it first appeared back in 1998 remains to be seen, but here's hoping. Don't forget to click through our photo gallery above to see more pics of the car, then go watch our Car Tech video reviews of the current Ford Focus RS, and Ford Focus CC.

Ford will make an electric version of the Focus in time for 2012. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are also being talked about.
There's a brand-new cockpit, jam-packed with shiny buttons and flashing lights. This Focus will park by itself, automatically match the cruising speed of the traffic in front and even brake when it senses danger.
Ford says the new cabin will have less noise, harshness and vibration.
The new grille seems to draw inspiration from the current Focus.
But from other angles, it doesn't look much like a Focus at all.
If anything, it's slightly reminiscent of the current Vauxhall Astra.
Here's the saloon version.
And here it is in motion -- looking all dynamic and that.
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