Ford’s new compact Focus has been remade to attract young professionals, couples and families and anyone looking for style, durability and daily utility in an economical package.
The Focus showcases new technologies and styling mixed with a confidence-inspiring ride and reflexive handling that give it a nimbleness and fun-to-drive factor that rivals the best small cars. The cabin is well equipped, meticulously appointed and spacious for four grown adults. And the trunk is simply cavernous.
Several southern Ontario couples representative of potential buyers were recently brought together to drive the new car for their evaluation for Carguide Magazine.
In a controlled environment, they practised advanced driving skills in the vehicle before taking it out on a public highway, this time in and around historic Montréal and the ski and golf resort town of Mont-Tremblant.
They were the first “civilians” in Canada to drive the new 2008 Focus.
New exterior design, an all-new interior and improved driving dynamics, plus the industry-first Ford/Microsoft Sync system (bringing previously unheard-of levels of connectivity to the market, regardless of segment) define the new Focus.
Fuel economy has been improved through better aerodynamics, engine modifications and a body that weighs 45 kg less than before. The new Focus is also quieter inside, through use of thicker windshield and door glass, better aerodynamics and sound deadening materials.
Several drivers expressed amazement at how little distance the Focus took to fully stop on wet pavement and how the anti-lock braking allowed them to maintain steering control while forcing the brake pedal.
Generally, the applied science of the human/machine interface, called ergonomics, scored high marks all around. The tallest of the drivers, six-foot Craig Sabine of Toronto, remarked on more-than-ample headspace in the back seat and in the front. Entry and exit was easy courtesy of large doors that open wide, said Zeeya Fazal of Brampton.
The Focus won kudos for comfort and performance with “just right” steering, said Fazal, who found it a breeze to zip between cones in the lane change exercise.
“This car steers wonderfully,” remarked Sabine.
The Focus’ sturdy body structure and many active and passive safety systems won praise from all.
Significantly, all said they would recommend others to test drive the Focus when shopping for a new compact car.