Set to have been introduced to South Africa shortly after debuting internationally four years ago, Ford has given the Focus an extensive update ahead of it European market unveiling later this year.
Still an important model for the Blue Oval despite the influx of crossovers and SUVs, its rival for the Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 308, Toyota Corolla, Seat Leon, Mazda3, Skoda Scala, Renault Megane and Opel Astra receives redesigned LED or optional Pixel LED headlights and a new grille.
Like the recently facelifted Fiesta, the Blue Oval emblem has been relocated to the updated bonnet with the ST-Line boasting a gloss black honeycomb pattern for the grille in addition to the standard extended door sills, bootlid spoiler and sportier bumpers.
Based on the Focus estate, the Active retains the cladding around the wheel arches and on the bumpers, but becomes the recipient of a deeper lower air intake, new side vents and a bespoke grille with horizontal chrome bars.
As with the Fiesta, the previous range-topping Vignale now serves as an appearance package on the Titanium, Active and ST-Line, rather than being a model on its own.
Building on the updates of the standard model, the fire-breathing Focus ST now rides as standard on 18-inch alloy wheels with the option of upgrading to 19-inch wheels. Also available is the Mean Green paint option expanded from the Puma ST to the Fiesta ST.
Inside, the touchscreen infotainment system has been enlarged to 13.2-inches and apart from now running Ford’s SYNC 4 software, boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, over-the-air updates, PassConnect and embedded satellite navigation.
New for the ST are Ford Performance instead of Recaro front sports seat, both heated and electric. An adjustable floor with a central pop-up divider and a cropped carpet are features new to the estate.
Bar the new infotainment system, Ford has ramped-up the Focus’ safety systems specification sheet to include Intersection Assist, revised Blind Spot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Centring Traffic Sign Recognition and Park Assist.
Underneath the bonnet, the tried-and-tested 1.0 EcoBoost engine now gains a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, but only on the 92 kW and 115 kW versions. The former, as well as the entry-level 74 kW derivative, are however not offered with the electric hardware.
The standard transmission is a six-speed manual with both hybrids coming as standard with a new seven-speed Powershift dual-clutch ‘box.
Remaining unchanged is the 1.5 EcoBlue turbodiesel that pumps out either 70 kW or 88 kW with both being hooked to the six-speed ‘box or in the case of the latter, an optional eight-speed automatic. Gone though is the previous top-spec 140 kW 2.0 EcoBlue.
The ST, which will reportedly become a hybrid when the next generation arrives in 2025 or 2026, continues to make use of the previous Focus RS’ 2.3 EcoBoost that pumps out an unchanged 206kW/420Nm. A rev-matching, six-speed manual is again the standard ‘box with the option being a rotary dial torque converter seven-speed automatic.
In the UK, pricing kicks-off at £22 465 (R455 673) with the ST retailing from £33 885 (R687 313). As before though, the Focus is not expected to return to South Africa anytime soon.