Senin, 24 Februari 2014

New Car: 2015 Ford Focus

The car that launched a product revolution at Ford is now old enough to warrant its own revolution of sorts. The 2015 Ford Focus, debuting ahead of the 2014 Geneva auto show, marks the compact car’s first significant update since the 2012 model kicked off the One Ford strategy. That plan made common the nameplates, architectures, powertrains, and styling of Ford vehicles sold around the world and this refreshed Focus closes the disconnect that opened when the Fusion mid-size sedan and the Fiesta subcompact adopted the brand’s latest design language. Look past the hexagonal grille to the unchanged body sides, though, and you’ll realize that this 2015 model is more of a refresh than a true revolution. While there is a new, optional engine and the interior receives an overhaul, the 2015 Focus is a moderate update, rather than an all-new car.

The big news here is Ford’s very small EcoBoost engine. The Focus’s optional powertrain is the same 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that made its U.S. debut in the 2014 Fiesta. We’ve already driven the engine in a European-spec Focus and the U.S.-spec Fiesta to know that it’s exceptionally smooth and sufficiently lively around town. As in the Fiesta, the 1.0-liter will only be offered with a manual transmission, but the Focus receives an additional cog for a total of six forward gears. Our one complaint with the 1.0-liter Fiesta is that getting the car moving from a stop at a reasonable pace requires slipping the clutch to keep the engine from bogging below its 2500-rpm torque peak. Buyers might find that the three-cylinder engine, with just 123 horsepower and 125 lb-ft of torque, is overmatched in the 300-pound-heavier Focus. 

As it does with all EcoBoost engines, Ford will charge a premium for the smaller engine under the assumption that consumers are willing to pay for incremental improvements in fuel economy. While pricing and EPA ratings are still to be determined, a 1.0-liter Fiesta commands $995 for a 4-mpg boost to a 45-mpg EPA highway rating. 

The base engine is unchanged for 2015. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder currently makes 160 horsepower and 146 lb-ft of torque and we don’t expect any significant changes in those figures. That’s fine by us, because the engine does a fine job straddling the thin line where reasonable performance and impressive fuel economy meet. We are disappointed, though, that Ford hasn’t addressed the Focus’s compromised transmissions. The five-speed manual is missing a gear and the six-speed dual-clutch automatic suffers from slow, slurred shifts. When asked if Ford had any near-term plans for a new gearbox, vice president of product development Raj Nair simply reminded us that Ford is currently developing a nine-speed automatic with GM.
 
Nair also says his engineers have tweaked the suspension and electric power steering, despite the fact that the Focus is already among the best-driving cars in the segment. Changes include quieter shock valves, less-intrusive stability control, and unspecified modifications to the rear suspension in the interest of “a more connected feel to the road.” 

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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