Lately, there hasn’t been much good news concerning small cars in the U.S. The segment has been losing ground to crossovers, leading Ford to decide not to bring its new Fiesta across the pond and GM to reportedly kill the Chevrolet Sonic later this year. But here’s one thing for small-car believers to get excited about: the all-new global Ford Focus will be coming stateside in 2019.
The automaker is unveiling its next-gen compact today at simultaneous events in Europe and China, markets that will be getting the car later this year. Ford tells us the North American market will have to wait until the second half of 2019 to get its latest C-segment offering. That’s likely due to Focus production moving from Michigan to China, a shift that will halt manufacturing of the compact for this market for about a year. But when we do get the new Focus, the Blue Oval says to expect more comfort and space along with an improved driving experience. The fourth-generation Focus was “redesigned from the wheels up,” according to Ford, which also says it considered feedback from customers around the world during the new car’s development. Ford promises each Focus model will be tailored for the global region it’s intended for.
The Focus will be available globally as a four-door sedan, five-door wagon, and five-door hatchback, though we won’t hold our breath on getting any wagon love here in crossover country. The wraps come off the sportier-looking Focus ST-Line, more premium Focus Vignale, and slightly raised Focus Active in Europe, while the Titanium and a China-specific ST-Line make their debut in China.
Thanks to a leaked image earlier this year and many revealing teasers, there’s nothing too surprising about the Focus’ design. The headlights appear less swept back than on the outgoing Focus and feature unique LED clusters and accents depending on trim. The Focus also gets a longer hood and aero-optimized front end. The new model is also more spacious inside despite having the same exterior dimensions as the outgoing Focus. Rear passengers gain more space thanks to a longer wheelbase, which grows shoulder room by roughly 2.4 inches, knee room by 2 inches, and legroom by 2.8 inches. Additionally, designers focused on making the car easier to get in and out of.
One of the goals of this generation of Focus was to reduce complexity but retain flexibility for the many markets that will get the car. Ford says it reduced the number orderable configurations by as much as 92 percent, going from 360 to as little as 26 in some markets. This keeps costs down and paves the way for modular architectures in the future.
The Focus’ all-new chassis and suspension delivers a 20 percent improvement in torsional rigidity, according to Ford. The compact also benefits from a new electric power-assisted steering system that’s said to offer more engaging steering feel compared to the outgoing car. A 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost three-cylinder will be the base engine in China, with a new 1.5-liter turbo EcoBoost I-4 tuned for high torque at low rpms serving as the optional powerplant. Europe will get a 1.5-liter EcoBoost and a 2.0-liter EcoBlue turbodiesel option. A new eight-speed automatic transmission will be optional for some of those engines. Ford says North American drivetrain options will be announced closer to the car’s launch.
The new Focus will offer Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist features. The exact features will vary by region but include Ford’s Evasive Steering Assist, adaptive headlights, a new version of Active Park Assist that can automatically shift from drive to reverse, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, speed-sign recognition, and lane-centering functions. The Focus will also be available with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen.
It’ll be a while before we learn about the Focus models bound for our shores, but it’s good to know Ford hasn’t given up on small cars here completely just yet.