A sharper new Focus
IT is overhaul time at Ford, where the sweet-steering and big-selling Focus is getting a refresh in time for Christmas, writes William Scholes.
Each change is minor enough when taken alone, but together they give the Focus a sharper, more modern edge.
For example, there are new LED lamps front and rear, and the Ford 'blue oval' badge is now fitted to the grille rather than on the bonnet.
As is customary with these things, inside the car the 'infotainment' has been boosted, with the Focus getting the shiniest and newest version of Ford's 'Sync' system.
That means a 13.2-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard, which as well as your radio and sat-nav also controls the heating system.
It is up to you whether the loss of simple switches and knobs to operate the fan and change the cabin temperature in favour of poking and swiping a digital screen is a backward step or a change for the better...
The lovely 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine - a mild hybrid these days, naturally - can now be had with an double-clutch automatic gearbox in both 123bhp and 153bhp tunes for a "less demanding two-pedal driving experience". The 123bhp car can also be had with a six-speed manual. A 118bhp 1.5-litre diesel with an automatic transmission is also available.
Updating the safety tech is another 'must' in the mid-life refresh playbook, so the Focus gets a blind spot assistance system that can take into account whether the car is towing a trailer; the driver can enter the length and width of a trailer being towed, with the car adapting to warn if another vehicle is in line with the trailer.
Each trim level gets its own take on the new look, so the sporty-looking ST-Line trim looks, well, even sportier than before, while the SUV-themed Active model seems to have grown a little better into its black body cladding and slightly incongruous raised ride height.
The estate remains the thinking-driver's choice - perhaps an Active estate is where the smart Focus money goes?
There, or the full-fat ST model, which continues as a vivid riot of speed, acceleration and colour.
Ford says the upgraded Focus range is priced from £22,465, meaning a modest £200ish increase compared with the outgoing version.