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All-new Ford Focus gets sharp new look and bags more tech

Ford has just put its fourth-generation Focus on sale, for deliveries in September

The family hatchback's major revamp keeps it at the top of its game.

What's new?

Who'd have thought it? When Ford replaced the famous Escort back in 1998, almost no-one would have wagered money on the replacement car lasting a quarter of a century.

But the Ford Focus has become a worthy successor to the mighty Escort; it's now 20 years old and will see 25 at least, if not make its third decade.

We are now in the fourth generation of the Focus, which has just gone on sale: you'll see it on the roads by early autumn.

The Focus was the third biggest-selling car in the UK last year. Its smaller sister, the Ford Fiesta was first, followed by the VW Golf. The Nissan Qashqai is chasing its heels in fourth position in the sales rankings.

Not only does it have a new external design for 2018, but the new Focus gets lots more technology and a new cabin - all the while offering either price discounts or at least carry-over prices from outgoing models.

There are also new models: the Focus Active crossover and the upmarket Focus Vignale.

What does it look like?

In a nutshell: classier and sportier, says the manufacturer. The new look Focus has a more premium, sporting silhouette while offering increased comfort and roominess.

This happens through positioning the A-pillars further rearward; and deploying a longer bonnet and flowing front bumper, coupled to a marked reduction in the wedge of the beltline.

The exterior delivers "class-leading aerodynamic efficiency" through the sleek, lower profile; the short rear overhangs; truncated corners; and harmoniously integrated aerodynamic features.

Inside the cabin

The passenger area is said to be simplified and less cluttered. The front doors now flow "fluidly" behind the instrument panel for a more upmarket, wrap-around effect.

New premium materials enhance the travelling experience and the posher models get the likes of fine-grain wood-effect finishes and premium leather.

Ford is boasting that each model has an "outstanding" combination of comfort, safety and driver assist tech, helping to make it the "most accomplished and technically advanced" Focus ever.

A new "human-centric" design enhances the cockpit, and tech/assists include New Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring technologies to help negotiate stop-start traffic. Predictive curve light and Sign-based light will help drivers see more clearly.

There is also the first Head-up display for a Ford model in Europe. And Active Park Assist 2 enables fully automated parking manoeuvres at the push of a button.

Model range

The entry-level Style trim comes as standard with 16in alloys, air con, DAB digital radio with Bluetooth and Emergency Assist, electronic parking brake, autonomous emergency braking, tyre pressure monitoring, Hill Start Assist and Lane-Keeping Aid.

Zetec models add highlights such as Ford's SYNC3 DAB Radio with a 6.5in touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality, cruise control with speed limiter, front fog lights and QuickClear heated windscreen.

Titanium trim brings more goodies including front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start, a larger eight-inch colour touchscreen, sat nav and FordPass Connect wireless connectivity.

The Titanium X boosts the luxury further with partial leather trim, a power-adjustable driver's seat, privacy glass and 17in alloy wheels.

Sports trim

For sporty drivers, the ST-Line offers unique body styling, including rear spoiler, polished twin tailpipes, aluminium gear knob, alloy finish pedals and red stitching.

The ST-Line X adds 18in alloy wheels, red brake calipers and many of the luxury features found on the Titanium X model.

A high-end B&O Play audio system is available as a £350 option on Titanium, Titanium X and ST-Line X models.

Luxury model

At the top of the all-new Focus range sits the luxurious Focus Vignale, joining the upmarket Ford range that already includes Mondeo, S-MAX, Kuga, Edge and Fiesta Vignale models.

Featuring a unique front grille and body styling with 18in wheels, the Focus Vignale is distinguished by full LED lighting front and rear.

Inside, you'll find leather upholstery, head-up display, rear view camera, heated steering wheel and the 675-watt 10-speaker B&O Play Premium Audio System.

Other trims

Ford is also launching an SUV-like Ford Focus Active, which has a more muscular exterior and a 30mm taller ride height.

An estate version is also on the way, with a 1,650-litre load space.

How much does it cost?

Prices start at £17,930 for the Focus Style - £2,300 below the model it replaces.

The Focus Zetec and ST-Line - together representing 55 per cent of sales - are now £850 and £250 less respectively.

The full line-up is: Focus Style (£17,930), Zetec (£19,300), ST-Line (£21,570), ST-Line X (£24,050), Titanium (£21,550), Titanium X (£22,820) and Vignale (£25,450).

Who would buy it?

The Focus will appeal to a wide range of buyers, particularly families and active people who want a modern, efficient car that's packed with technology yet great to drive.

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