The next generation Ford Focus is limbering up to take its place next to subcompact newcomers from Volkswagen, Opel and Mazda. Scheduled to début in Paris, the new Focus’ biggest selling point seems to be its roomier, more upmarket interior…

The next generation Ford Focus is limbering up to take its place next to subcompact newcomers from Volkswagen, Opel and Mazda. Scheduled to début in Paris, the new Focus’ biggest selling point seems to be its roomier, more upmarket interior…


When three- and five-door versions of the Blue Oval’s Segment C challenger take a bow at the Paris Motor Show next month, it will not make such a bold style statement as its predecessor did in 1996. Instead, the elegantly sculpted Focus, which shares its platform with the Volvo's S40 and V50 and the Mazda 3, will look more sophisticated (“until the RS versions come along”, the Playstation generation will be musing).


As can be seen from this gallery, it appears the Focus interior quality has taken a big upward step over the existing car – and it will need to if it is to match the quality of the Volkswagen Golf 5 and Opel’s Astra (which is due in South Africa next month). There is a distinct Mondeo-like family look to the interior and the once futuristic (but now ageing) dashboard layout of the current car has been replaced by a simpler, brushed aluminium-look design.


The steering wheel will be adjustable for reach and rake and electric front windows, CD player, air-conditioning and six-airbags will probably be standard. Options on European markets will include keyless entry, AFS adaptive front-lights, Bluetooth telephone connection, and speech-control for the telephone, climate control and satellite-navigation systems.


The next Focus’ wheelbase will be 25mm longer than that of the current car ( reports the hatchbacks are 4 340 mm long overall). Luggage space will also be better… In the case of the hatchback capacity will be 385 litres, rising to 1 245 litres with seats folded (35 more than the current car).


In terms of the range’s engine lineup, the base model will be equipped with a 1,4-litre Duratec unit producing with 59 kW and 126 N.m of torque. There will also be 1,6-litre (74kW and 150 N.m and two-litre (107 kW and 184 N.m) Duratec engines, with high-performance ST and RS versions to follow.


The range’s diesel engines will reportedly be latest-generation common-rail units with particulate filters, including a 1,6-litre (80 kW and 240 N.m) and two-litre (100 kW and 340 N.m).


According to a report, the petrol engines will come with a five-speed manual transmission, as will the 1,6 diesel (also available with continuously variable automatic transmission). The two-litre diesel will be equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox.


Will this Ford Focus range be built in South Africa (possibly for the export market) as it has been widely speculated? And if so, when will the range be introduced on the local market? Expect a formal announcement on these matters from FMCSA in the very near future, the company’s spokesman Craig von Essen said on Monday.