First Look: 2012 Ford Focus

Sat in an empty assembly plant in Dearborn and told to expect news about the Focus, I can’t say I was enthused. It’s a good car, but I’ve regarded it with indifference since the U.S. was never going to have a Focus as good looking and interesting as the RS. When the sheet was pulled back, I, prepping for a very long presentation and in “subtle-nap” position, sprang up in pleasant surprise.

The next-gen incarnation (2011? 2012? the press release says” goes on sale early 2011″  but I’m being corrected. weird.) has been re-worked by a global team of specialists to make a sporty, stylish car that meets their targets of fuel economy and driving quality. The 2012 Focus is also the first car to be created under the ONE ford approach, a strategy to create and design cars that appeal to all markets. Indeed, the new Focus will be nearly identical in all markets, with 80 percent parts commonality around the world.

“The new Ford Focus is a clear demonstration that our ONE Ford strategy is providing global consumers with great products that harness the best of Ford Motor Company,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and CEO.

The 2012 Focus continues Ford’s kinetic design initiative and giving the car a sporty feel that will be eye catching worldwide.  The lower trapezoidal grille is divided into 3 sections, which is the first detail immediately noticeable in the car’s expressive form language. The Focus features an athletic profile and a great stance on both the 4-door sedan and the 5-door hatchback. The interior will be equally sleek and will have the recently announced MyFord Touch interface incorporated into the design.

The Focus brought improved levels of agility and responsiveness to C-segment cars, and the new Focus plans to raise the bar even higher with refining the precision and ride control of the driving characteristics.  Engineers have updated suspension concepts from prior models and optimized the multilink rear suspension and the semi-islolated front and rear subframes. The chassis design will be complemented by an Electronic Power Assist Steering system, which will aid in precision at high speeds and adjust itself accordingly to be maneuverable for actions like parking.

Cornering stability and agility have been enhanced with the introduction of an advanced Dynamic Cornering Control system, which uses “torque vectoring” to transfer power between the drive wheels to reduce understeer, allow better turn-in, and improve traction.  These characteristics will be the same across the globe, using identical chassis and suspension architecture in all markets, except to meet minor regional specifications such as tires.

The power behind the 2012 Focus for the North American market will be a completely new 2.0-liter engine that features direct injection and Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT)  for enhanced fuel efficiency and performance, the same engineering to be used in the Mustang GT 5.0.  The 4-cylinder engine looks to produce an estimated HP of 150+, and 145 ft-lbs of torque.

To maximize the performance and fuel economy , the engine is mated with a dry-clutch six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission.  Based on manual gearbox technology, torque converters, planetary gears, and  oil pumps will be out, and electronically controlled twin clutches will shift gears for optimal torque flow and ease of operation.

now with radial blur!!

The new range will start production simultaneously in Europe and North America late this year, and is expected to go on sale in early 2011 and will be revealed in person at the North American International Auto Show.

Head over to Autosavant to read this news with the E-I-C’s contributions as he’s on hand at NAIAS to compare it in person with the competition.

-Alex K-

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