What does the future of the Ford Focus look like?
It seems ridiculous to consider the possibility that Ford could relegate the Focus name to the history books. Or is it? We’ve already seen the end of the Mondeo, the Edge may be gone and of course the Taurus – once a bestseller in the US – is gone.
Something else the American company is doing is reinventing certain names. Once a niche coupe, the Cougar has become a hugely successful crossover with a different spelling. And we all know the Mustang Mach-E. For now, at least, the Focus is safe, having recently received a midlife update.
power economy mix
The engine range consists mainly of mild hybrids, which offer a good mix of lower CO2 emissions and excellent economy. Having spent a few days with the latest 155hp ST Line Vignale hatchback, I can confirm that this range of hatchbacks and station wagons are still at the top of their game.
The 155bhp 1.0-litre engine is mated to a standard six-speed manual gearbox and like all Ford of Europe vehicles, the revised Focus has sharp dynamics and wonderfully compliant suspension.
With this engine and gearbox, the CO2 average is 121 g/km, 0 to 100 km/h acceleration takes 9.0 seconds, top speed is 130 km/h and combined consumption is 52.3 mpg. In fact, I’ve seen even better fuel economy, although not quite as good as the official WLTP best figure. That’s 60.1mpg.
Facelift and interior revisions
In addition to some powertrain tweaks, the car received a new hood, fresh front and rear lights, new alloy wheels and a revised interior.
Inevitably, the earlier buttons for HVAC functions have disappeared and have been replaced with those functions now on one screen. Despite this, they are fairly easy to find, although not as easy as before.
Like most of the latest Fords, the dashboard, door panels, headliner and upholstery all have a pleasingly soft feel. Instrumentation is clear, lighting feels premium, and there are few of the nagging beeps that plague many competing models. All in all, the interior of this latest Focus is really nice, especially in Vignale trim.
What about the sale?
Although not a single Ford was in the UK July top ten, the marque holds the marque in first place with a total of 68,024 sales year to date. The brand has a 1,948 passenger car lead over second-placed Volkswagen, while Kia is third with 3,563 passenger cars and SUVs.
At first glance, the absence of Ford’s long-running C-segment hatchback and station wagon from the sales list is shocking, but it shouldn’t be. A combination of buyers flocking to hybrids, PHEVs, EVs instead, and the national infatuation with crossovers and SUVs are just two of the reasons. The other is the lack of cars.
At the Saarlouis plant, the company manufactures all versions of the Focus for Europe. The regional department and national sales companies have reportedly been recently informed that the German plant cannot accept new orders. Building sites are apparently secured until 2023, a recent report adding that production will be under 120,000 cars this year.
All of this comes on top of component shortages earlier in the year after the invasion of Ukraine and before that, supply chain issues related to Covid. Ford has also said it has no new model or models planned for Saarlouis once the factory stops producing the Focus in 2025.
An electric car as a successor?
Volkswagen may either discontinue the competing Golf at the end of its own life cycle (possibly towards the end of 2026) or early merge the successor with a larger replacement for the ID.3 (“ID.Golf”) in 2027. Could Ford do something similar? It probably will.
We know that as a result of the deal between Volkswagen and Ford, a second electric vehicle is coming, the first being a crossover for Europe. Why not an electric hatchback crossover that also uses the German OEM’s MEB (platform)? It could very well happen.
In 2021, Ford told us “100% of by mid-2026 [the] Car offerings in Europe will be zero-emission, purely electric or plug-in hybrid; switch to fully electric by 2030”. Still, no new C-Hatch and/or combi electric model has been mentioned yet.
Could Ford perhaps even break away from today’s Focus class? It could well do that, not only by reducing its production area but also by reducing the European model range.
Officially, at least two “high-body” models are coming, one of which will be an electric “sports crossover” for the Niehl plant in Cologne in 2024. A year later, the same plant begins manufacturing a “midsize crossover”.
Both electric crossovers were confirmed five months ago and are each an MEB architecture model. The combined annual production capacity is 200,000 units.
Here and now
With the update that the Focus has received, the car is well positioned for the final years of its life cycle. And who knows, maybe the name will be found again, for example Focus-E or something similar. Whatever the future holds, at least one thing is certain: the refreshed 2022 Focus is the best yet.
Focus prices start at 22,965GB. The sample on test starts at £28,625 before options.