Ford says new technology makes revised Focus one of its most advanced cars

Ford said it has given the Focus a "sleek, emotional new design" with the automaker's new face.
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BARCELONA -- Ford Motor today unveiled a midlife face-lift for its Focus compact hatchback, adding fresh styling, new technology and a more premium feel to the company's No. 2 seller in Europe.

Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell said the changes make the Focus one of the automaker's most advanced vehicles to date.

The revised Focus is now "one of the most sophisticated mass-market vehicles" on sale globally, Odell said at the car's presentation at the Mobile World Congress here. The car has its auto show debut in Geneva on March 4.

The Focus has been styled to include the same trapezoidal grille as other Ford models such as the Fiesta subcompact. It also has slimmer headlights and a restyled bumper.

The Focus is Ford's second-largest seller in Europe behind the Fiesta, but European sales of the Focus last year slipped 7 percent to 223,482, according to data from market researcher JATO Dynamics.

The car's upgraded powertrain lineup for Europe includes a new 150-hp, 1.5-liter gasoline engine and a new 1.5-liter diesel. Ford claims the 120-hp version of the new diesel engine mated to its Powershift automatic transmission is 19 percent more fuel efficient than the equivalent engine on sale today.

Ford will also offer a Focus with a 1.0-liter gasoline engine with CO2 emissions of 99 grams per kilometer. Ford says this is the only non-hybrid gasoline engine with emissions below 99g/km offered in Europe.

The Focus will offer the smartphone-connected Sync 2, Ford's latest in-car connectivity system with a new 8-inch touchscreen and improved voice control.

In addition, the automaker said the European Focus will be the first Ford globally to offer the company's new hands-free Perpendicular Parking technology, which helps drivers reverse into spaces side-to-side with other cars. New sensors can warn drivers of oncoming cars while reversing out of parking spots, and the current Active City Stop automatic braking function now works at speeds up to 50kph (31 mph) instead of 30kph.

"We've responded to a clear customer desire for more simplicity inside the car, creating a clearer visual connection between the key components and significantly reducing the number of buttons in the cabin," Ford of Europe design head Martin Smith said in a statement.

The face-lifted Focus will go on sale in Europe starting in the second half.

You can reach Nick Gibbs at nick.gibbs@btinternet.com.

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