New 2018 Ford Focus revealed: prices, specs and pics

New fourth-generation Ford Focus hatch to take on the VW Golf with a sharp design and updated tech

Meet the new Ford Focus. One of Britain’s favourite family hatchbacks has been overhauled for 2018 to coincide with the Focus’s 20th anniversary. It’s got a brand-new look, more tech and toys, more trim options and a £17,930 starting price.

With Volkswagen nabbing second place in the UK’s new car registration tables with the Golf last year, and arrivals such as the Kia Ceed and Toyota Auris just around the corner, Ford’s outgoing Focus was falling behind the times. As a result, the firm has retaliated with the fourth-generation Focus, which is on sale now ahead of September deliveries.

New 2018 Ford Focus: prices

The Focus range arrives with seven familiar trim levels: Style, Zetec, ST-Line, ST-Line X, Titanium, Titanium X and Vignale. The Style starts at £17,930 – lowering the entry point to the range by £2,300 compared to the previous generation. Further up is the sporty-looking ST-Line, which starts at £21,570. While drivers looking for the most luxurious Focus have the option of the Vignale – which opens the books at £25,450.

In addition to this, there is a Ford Focus Active, which gives cars an SUV flavour with extra body cladding and a 30mm taller ride height. An estate version has also been launched, which, aside from the Active model, boasts an identical trim line-up. With the rear seats folded the estate offers 1,650 litres of carrying capacity – a touch more than a VW Golf Estate or Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer can manage, but slightly behind the cavernous Skoda Octavia Estate. Come late 2019, both the estate and hatchback ranges will be bolstered with warm ST versions. 

ST-Line X£24,050
Titanium X£22,820

New 2018 Ford Focus: design

Take a quick glance at the new Focus, and you’d be forgiven for thinking this isn’t the clean-sheet design Ford claims. From the nose there’s a clear look of the old car, but stare harder and you realise it’s more than just a clever reboot.

New 2019 Ford Focus ST spied at the Nurburgring

“Proportionally the Focus has matured a lot,” exterior design manager Jordan Demkiw told Auto Express. “The cabin sits a lot further back compared to the old car and the A-pillars are slanted backwards.

“Add in the longer bonnet and there’s a more powerful look,” he said. “This is enhanced on the high-spec cars; if you go for a Focus with larger wheels, it eats up more sheet metal, allowing the car to sit better. The Focus is now lower and wider than before; we have been able to achieve all the good metrics of car design while offering more space.”

Along the sides, that clean-sheet mentality is more evident. “With this car we really wanted to move on the design language,” said Demkiw. “The previous car was styled under our Kinetic design influence, whereas this language is much more athletic.

“We’ve played around with concave shapes, moving into really very crisp lines. The theme of the car is simple – there’s one line from the bumper that stretches back and disappears into the rear door. We’ve tried to replicate a traditional sports car with its squat stance and pouncing rear haunches.”

Look at the new Focus from the rear, and there are shades of BMW 1 Series in its stance – and indeed some Mercedes A-Class in the dimensions and looks. The Focus badging has been replaced with chrome letters spaced out across the bootlid. “It’s more premium than before,” said Demkiw, “and spacing the letters out helps give that look. We’re also very proud of the Focus name.”

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Ford still recognises how the original Focus was not only a trend setter for hatchback design in the new millennium, but also how it helped transform the firm into what it is today. It was a car that killed off the dark cost-saving days represented by the Mk5 Escort, welcoming in a new, more daring brand identity.

Since then, Ford has shifted two million Focus models in the UK and seven million in Europe. Launching on the 20th anniversary of the Focus name comes steeped with pressure, however.

“We even contemplated replicating the original Focus’s famous high-set tail-lights on this new car,” revealed Demkiw. “It got pretty far down the line, but we eventually settled for this design.”

New 2018 Ford Focus: tech

While the design looks nothing like the original Focus, then, under the body, Ford has attempted to retain some of the old car’s fun-to-drive DNA. The Mk4 is built on Ford’s new C2 platform and most models feature independent rear suspension – just like the original car – as well as Continuously Controlled Damping.

This system monitors suspension, body, steering and braking inputs and adjusts the damping for the best ride comfort. There are new driving modes (Normal, Sport and Eco), while torque vectoring features, too. Ford also claims that the new electric power steering is sharper and more responsive than ever. Consider the fact that the new car is 20 per cent stiffer, and it’s clear Ford wants to regain its crown of having the best-handling family hatchback.

As you’d expect, the Focus’s arsenal of safety kit has been improved. The VW Golf rival now carries the type of safety gizmos and gadgets that were reserved for range-topping luxury cars a few years ago. You’ll be able to specify your Focus with Level 2 autonomy thanks to Ford’s Co-Pilot360 system, which includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring.

Other driver aids include Evasive Steering Assist, Blind Spot monitoring with Cross Traffic Alert and Wrong Way Alert, plus there’s Ford MyKey, inflatable seatbelts and Post-Collision Braking. You’ll find improved versions of Active Park Assist and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, too.

For the first time, buyers will be offered full-LED headlights with a matrix function to prevent dazzling other drivers. These can also widen the beam at junctions for better visibility. The Focus can be ordered with a super-bright head-up display as well; Ford says this is the only system on the market that can be read by drivers wearing polarised glasses.

New 2018 Ford Focus: engines 

Under the bonnet every Focus offers the usual selection of petrol and diesel engines – all with stop/start as standard. The key petrol will be the 1.0 EcoBoost in 84bhp, 99bhp and 123bhp outputs, with CO2 emissions as low as 108g/km.

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Those after a little more punch will need the new 1.5-litre EcoBoost, which comes in 148bhp and 180bhp guises. There’s also a range of new EcoBlue diesels – two 1.5-litre cars with 94bhp or 118bhp and a powerful 148bhp 2.0-litre. The new auto box will be optional on the 123bhp 1.0 and 148bhp 1.5 petrols, as well as the 118bhp 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesels.

New 2018 Ford Focus: interior

All UK Focus models will get Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment system, which incorporates an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlayAndroid Auto and Bluetooth connectivity. The Focus also introduces the brand’s new FordPass Connect system that includes a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices and Live updates for the sat-nav.

When drivers download the FordPass smartphone app they can locate, lock and unlock their car, and if the Focus is fitted with the eight-speed auto, it can even be started remotely. Wireless phone charging also makes an appearance in the Focus for the first time.

The interior design takes a big leaf out of the latest Fiesta’s book, with the cabin focused around a large touchscreen. Material quality of the pre-production car you see in the pictures was decent enough and there’s a great, low-slung driving position.

High-spec models come with the choice of a six-speed manual or a new eight-speed auto with a Jaguar-style rotary gear selector. A new electric handbrake (which is standard on autos and high-spec manual models) also frees up more space inside.

Unsurprisingly, there’s more room for passengers and luggage, too. The dashboard has been pushed as far forwards as possible to maximise room up front, and there’s more rear knee and shoulder room, thanks to a 53mm longer wheelbase. The flat floor offers more space for middle seat passengers, but whether that sounds the death knell for a new-generation four-wheel-drive RS remains to be seen.

What does the Ford Focus have to beat? Check out our list of the best hatchbacks on sale right now...


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