The new Ford Focus has to park it’s self

There was a time when middle class motoring was symbolised by a mid range German saloon sitting on the driveway.

Envious neighbours would peek from the side of the drapes, curse you in and out of hell and vow to one day own one.

Not any more.
There is nothing like a recession to, erm, Focus one’s attention.

This massive kick up the backside has come from (you probably guessed from the pun) Ford.

Yes, the badge which brought motoring to the masses has done it again, only this time they have concentrated on luxury.

Just a couple of years ago many would have sniggered uncontrollably at the thought of the F and L words in the same sentence – especially in a C segment offering.

Well that all changed last February with the unveiling of the New Focus and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat.

Now, regular visitors to thenextgear will recall how impressed we were by the build quality and drive on the back roads of southern Spain.

And the experience was repeated again at the Irish launch when we got our first look at the stunning saloon – even with bog standard spec.

Last week we sampled the cherry on the Focus cake, or as Ford call it, the Titanium.

This family five door hatch is positively dripping with technology normally associated with luxury executive saloons and the best bit is the cost.

A prime example of this is Active City Stop or as we like to call it – the anti-rubber necking gizmo.

Basically, it is a radar-controlled device which detects an imminent collision at under 30kmh.

It picks up a stationary object in front and as it gets (if you don’t slow) it applies the brake automatically.

Brilliant – and at €420 will earn 10 times its value the very first time it’s activated.

Then there is Active Park Assist which I first came across in a €100k Lexus.

This is a gadget which will parallel park the car for you.

Again, through a series of sensors the car measures the gap and, if big enough, will commence the manoeuvre.

Through a screen on the dash it tells you to put the car into reverse and all you have to do is sit back and be amazed as the steering whizzes around until the car has negotiated the gap.

All you gotta do is change gear and brake when necessary (see video demonstartion below).

Another bargain at €750.

Best of all though is the bundle package offered by Ford.

For €1,500 extra you get the Driver Assist pack which includes Active City Stop all of the following;

Blind Spot Information: Designed to alert you to vehicles in your blind spots with a warning light in the door mirror

Lane departure warning with lane keeping aid:

Detects when your car strays unintentionally out of one lane and warns you with a vibrations through the steering wheel and will straighten up automatically.

Driver Alert:

Warns you if the system detects driving behaviour that indicates a drop in alertness levels or sleepiness.

Traffic sign recognition:

Automatically displays the speed limit and traffic signs on road ahead.

Auto high beam:

Designed to switch the headlights from high beam to low beam as soon as oncoming traffic is detected.

Other options include Cruise Control, Hill Start Assist to stop you rolling back in traffic sat nav and speed limiter.

So if the price is not the down side, what is?

Well, its popularity.

You see the Focus looks set again this year to win the title of Ireland’s favourite car.

The latest Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) figures show that the model has claimed the top spot in car sales here for the first six months of the year.

Since January 1, Focus has notched up 3,644 sales in the Irish market, putting it ahead of the VW Golf (3,462) and Toyota Avensis (3,012).

So don’t be too upset with the copycat up the road or next door.

Prices for the Ford Focus start at €20,825

Thanks to Parkers.co.uk for the video

See Phil’s other reviews of the new Focus right hereCadiz first drive

  • Michael Brown

    Back in school, I’m doing so much learning. I like this self park thing