The Ford Focus, a favorite of enthusiast drivers and lately recognized as one of the highest quality small cars available, will receive major design and engineering improvements for the 2005 model year, Ford Motor Company Executive Vice President Jim Padilla told a gathering of 500 Ford employees, state and local government officials and United Auto Workers leaders at the company's Wayne Assembly and Stamping Plant today.
Focus is one of six new Ford and Lincoln-Mercury vehicles – five cars and a crossover – that will launch in next year, following the complete redesign of the company's sport utility vehicles that began in 2002 and the launch of two new minivans and the all-new F-150 pickup this year.
"The all-new and freshened 2005-model vehicles alone will deliver more than 1.2 million units of volume – that means nearly one-third of our U.S. sales will be from new designs," Padilla said. "When you include the new F-150, Mercury Monterey and Ford Freestar, which just hit the market, that number is closer to two million. That means half of our Ford, Mercury and Lincoln volume in the U.S. – or one-third of all Ford Motor Company vehicles sold worldwide – is new."
Ford Focus: Quality, Performance and Refinement
Since Focus was launched in North America as a 2000 model, auto enthusiasts have frequently praised the car for its sporty handling, modern design and exceptionally roomy cabin. In each model year, Ford advanced the basic concept, and improved quality. Today, J.D. Power and Associates ranks Focus well above the industry average in its Initial Quality Study.
Focus Chief Engineer John Sidelko said the priority for 2005 was to add more refinement to areas customers can see, and make a bold statement in what they feel and hear – particularly in the "stop and go" department.
"We have refined the Focus' exterior styling and given it a smart new interior with a very clean, very contemporary instrument panel design. We have taken a great handling car and made it steer, ride and stop better. And we've backed up a great chassis with some of the most sophisticated, powerful and 'green' four-cylinder engines you can buy in any car," he said.
For 2005, Focus will again offer four unique body styles but with new, simpler model and trim designations. The range includes a three-door hatchback (ZX3), a four-door sedan (ZX4), a five-door hatchback (ZX5) and a station wagon (ZXW). The entry-level trim series is S, followed by SE and SES, which have higher levels of standard equipment and unique options.
New for 2005, a Focus ZX4 ST performance sedan has been added to the line up. This sedan will marry chassis components from Ford of Europe's Focus ST170 and the SVT Focus with a 150-horsepower, 2.3-liter Duratec engine.
Cleaner, Greener and Meaner Engines
The 2005 Focus, like all other vehicles Ford will launch in 2004, will benefit from the company's "Revolution Under the Hood" – a massive undertaking that began about four years ago to improve powertrain performance, refinement, fuel economy and emissions.
Ford estimates that the 2005 Focus fleet will produce 32 percent less smog-forming pollution than its 2004 fleet – which was already exceptionally clean. But at the same time, base horsepower will rise 24 percent and fuel economy is expected to improve slightly.
Three engines will be offered:
- A new 136-horsepower, 2.0-liter Duratec 20 dual overhead cam, in-line four-cylinder (I-4) engine replaces both the base 110-horsepower, 2.0-liter single overhead cam I-4 engine and the available 130-horsepower, 2.0-liter Zetec DOHC I-4 engines offered since the North American debut of Focus in 2000.
- In California, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine, a super-clean 20E version of the Duratec 20 is the standard engine. All Focuses powered by the Duratec 20E meet California's Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle tailpipe standard and have zero fuel system evaporative emissions in order to qualify as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. This means the 20E version of Focus is cleaner than some hybrid electric vehicles.
- A 150-horsepower 2.3-liter Duratec 23 DOHC I-4 engine will power the new Focus ST performance sedan, which will be available in all 50 states. This free-revving engine is derived from the same family as the Duratec 20 but its larger displacement and performance-tuned exhaust help it produce 10 percent more horsepower. Torque is 153 foot-pounds, a 16 percent increase for exceptionally strong off-the-line and mid range acceleration.
The Duratec 20 and 20E are available with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Focus ST is offered with the Duratec 23 engine and a five-speed manual. Horsepower and torque figures are estimates.
Clean, Modern and Refined Design
Every 2005 Focus receives a new front-end treatment that picks up cues from Ford's new flagship sedan, the Five Hundred, which will be unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in January, and Ford of Europe's Mondeo.
Focus designer Larry Erickson calls the look more upscale and aspirational. The new hood and fenders fall away less sharply than the original design so the car appears more substantial, particularly in a three-quarter view. Detail changes include new headlamps with reshaped clear lenses, a larger grille with a new crosshatch pattern ringed in chrome, and a new fascia that incorporates a wide lower air intake and new round fog lamps.
To better resist dents and dings, a new harder steel alloy is used for the hood, and the plastic fascia is 11 percent thicker. Sedan models also receive new taillamps and a new rear bumper fascia that looks sportier and has a more finely detailed lower valance.
The most dramatic design departure from the original Focus is the new car's interior. The instrument panel is an all-new design that directly reflects the priorities Ford has set for its interiors: it is clean and modern looking, highly functional and built of high-quality materials.
"Using simpler forms and straightforward, easy-to-use instruments and controls allows you to achieve a very high level of craftsmanship," said Erickson. "We then use color and texture to create a personality for each vehicle."
The instrument panel is symmetrical, with the driver and front passenger areas divided by two rectangular climate control registers, the hazard switch and a shallow center stack for the audio and climate control systems.
Four different interior color themes are offered across the model lineup. A monochromatic Charcoal environment is offered on Focus ST, ZX3 and ZX5. All models except Focus ST offer a two-tone Flint interior, while Focus ZX4 and ZXW also offer a two-tone Pebble interior. On two-tone models, the lower portions of the instrument panel and door trim panels are finished in a lighter shade, to make the cabin feel open. Both cloth and leather seating surfaces are available, with Focus ST offering unique woven fabrics or Preferred Suede seating surfaces
with leather trim.
Several storage areas have been designed into the new instrument panel, including a large glove box, a storage drawer for six compact discs located by the driver's left knee and an open storage space located just below the climate control dials.
A standard floor console houses the shifter assembly, two cup holders, the parking brake lever and controls for certain optional features, including the traction control system. An overhead console, which includes a sunglass holder and space for a garage door opener, is a new option. Additional storage can be found in the front doors, which now include molded-in bottle or cup holders.
Chassis Refinements Build on a Focus Strength
The soul of every Focus is its chassis. Rack-and-pinion steering and a four-wheel independent suspension that uses MacPherson struts in front and a multi-link Control Blade design in the rear combine to deliver nimble handling with a smooth, well-controlled ride.
Entry-level S models now ride on 15-inch steel wheels and all-season tires, instead of 14-inch designs. Fifteen- and 16-inch alloy wheels are available on the SE and SES series.
SE and SES series sedans and hatchbacks, and all wagons are fitted with 21 mm front and
a 20 mm rear stabilizer bars for even sharper steering turn in, reduced body roll and better tracking. The rear stabilizer bar also allows lower rear spring rates to be used for good ride quality.
Focus ZX4 ST delivers an even higher level of performance. It rides on unique 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels, Pirelli P205/50R16 all-season radials and uses the same front struts and rear shocks as the European Focus ST170 and the 2004 Focus SVT. These struts and rear shocks are about 50 percent stiffer than the ones used with the SE and SES suspension.
Customers already familiar with Focus' dynamic capabilities will notice an even higher level of braking performance. Most models continue to use a combination of front disc and rear drum brakes. But for 2005, new brake linings are used and total brake swept area is increased by 17 percent, thanks to a 1-inch increase in front rotor diameter to 15 inches.
The new linings have a less aggressive initial "bite" but cover a larger swept area. The new system is responsive and easy to modulate. In addition, the linings will be quieter, last longer and generate less black brake dust than the old design. The larger rotors are expected to yield improved brake cooling and reduce the risk that a rotor might warp under severe duty.
The ST model uses the same front brakes but adds rear-wheel disc brakes, which are more responsive than drum brakes, for even shorter stopping distances.
Comfort and Convenience – No Matter the Budget
Focus has always been distinguished from other small cars by the range of models, features and options that make the car attractive to everyone from entry-level customers to performance enthusiasts. For 2005, the models, options and packages are simplified to make ordering easier.
By model, standard equipment includes:
Focus ZX3, ZX4 and ZX5 S
- Duratec 20 or 20E engine with five-speed manual transmission
- Manual driver's seat height adjustment
- Split-folding rear seat
- AM/FM single CD player
- 15-inch wheels
- Dual-stage driver and front-passenger air bags
- In addition, Focus uses the latest occupant-sensing technology for the front passenger seat.
In certain frontal impacts, this system will turn the front-passenger air bag on or off after determining whether the seat is occupied by an adult or child. Ford continues to recommend that children under 12 ride in the back seat secured by a safety belt or child safety seat.
Focus ZX3, ZX4, ZX5 and ZXW SE
Includes S content, plus:
- Air conditioning
- Overhead console
- AM/FM stereo with single-disc CD/MP3 player
- Dual power mirrors
- Power windows and locks
- Remote keyless entry
- Focus ZX3, ZX4, ZX5 and ZXW SES
Includes SE content, plus:
- Tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Duplicate steering column-mounted audio controls
- Fog lamps
- AM/FM six-disc CD/MP3 player
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Focus ZX4 ST
Includes SES content, plus:
- Duratec 23 engine with sport-tuned exhaust
- ST suspension with unique 16-inch alloy wheels
- Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with traction control
- Decklid spoiler and lower body moldings
- Chrome-tipped exhaust
- Body-color, heated outside mirrors
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob with performance contrast stitching
- Unique sport-trimmed interior fabrics and instrument panel
Side-impact air bags are optional on all series. Other available equipment (depending on model) includes a four-speed automatic transmission, anti-lock brakes with traction control, power moonroof, leather seating surfaces, heated seats, perimeter alarm and an Audiophile sound system with Sony speakers and subwoofer.
An official "on sale" date and pricing will be announced closer to launch.