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Saturday 18 August 2018

Ford keep the dynamic drive but focus on technology for a little cracker

IF the old Ford Focus was about driveability then the new model is about technology.

You see back in 1998, engineers at the Blue Oval badge literally blew the motoring world away with a new hatchback that set down a marker for all others to strive to.

Fast forward to 2011 and almost 100,000 Irish sales later (10 million worldwide) and they’ve done it again.

Improving on the successful blend of steering precision, road feedback with the most refined handling ever seen in a family runaround is no mean feat so how did they do it?

Well for a start they’ve made it longer, slimmer and lower to the ground adding to that uniquechassis and ride. Throw into the mix a country mile of affordable state-of-the-art gadgetry only seen in luxury limos and you’re onto a winner.

Most of the innovation is not something that you can see or touch but is so impressive they will one day become standard features on all passenger cars.

The most important of all is the Torque Vectoring Control System which comes as standard - enhancing cornering stability and control.

In plain English it means by the time the orange squiggle lights up on the dash it has already saved your life and you can’t put a price on that.

Another is the Low Speed Safety System – or an anti rubber necking device which applies the brakes automatically if it senses an imminent collision under 30kph. Active Park Assist (which parallel parks the car at the push of a button), Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition (telling you what speed zone you are in) are all reasonably priced options.

Looks-wise the 5-door gets a few styling lessons from the ST with a striking front end, sleek profile giving a more muscular, sportier look.

Unfortunately fans of the 3 door will be disappointed as it's been consigned to history, but the saloon and estate versions are in the pipeline as is a new RS.

Inside the modern, cockpit-style interior, with the stylish centre console wrapped around the driver and lit up with funky blue lights.

It savaged the windy country roads of Cadiz with ease devouring corner after corner in driving rain while on motorways it behaved like a compact executive - especially the diesel. It is that comfort which is sure to appeal to fleet buyers but real driving fans will opt for the more responsive 1.6 litre petrol which is a little demon.

The Irish choice will be the 1.6 litre TDCi 95bhp or 115bhp (both band A with stop start technology €104 road tax) 2.0 litre TDCi 115 bhp auto or the 1.6 litre VCT 125bhp petrol (tax band B - €156 a year). No price yet but we reckon €22,000-ish.

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