The redesigned Ford Focus remains a compact car for a global audience

With Ford shifting its resources to trucks and SUVs like never before, there was some doubt about whether the next-generation Focus compact car would make it to North American showrooms. It turns out Ford is bringing the next Focus here but, while the new model goes on sale in Europe and China later this year, North American sales don’t start until 2019. So will the new Focus be worth the wait?

The new Focus is a global model, meaning every market gets the same basic car, tweaked to meet local regulations and buyer tastes. That international connection has always been one of the Focus’ strongest attributes. While Ford has sold watered-down versions in the U.S. at times, it generally means buyers here get the benefit of a car developed with European drivers in mind. That means better handling and generally more effort than American automakers typically put into compact cars. We’ll see if that trend continues with the new Focus.

While Ford says the Focus has been completely redesigned from the ground up, the exterior styling should still be familiar to current Focus driver. The grille has shrunk a bit, the car was developed more curves, and the headlights have LED lines going through them, but the car is still recognizable as a Focus. Globally, Ford will offer four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, and five-door wagon body styles, but we don’t expect the wagon to be offered in the U.S. Ford will also offer Vignale, ST-Line, Active, and Titanium styling packages in certain international markets, but it’s unclear if any of them will make it to the U.S.

Ford isn’t ready to discuss North American powertrain options, but China will get the 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder EcoBoost engine offered in the current-generation Focus as well as a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. Europe will get those engines, plus a second version of the 1.5-liter EcoBoost and a 2.0-liter diesel dubbed EcoBlue. The only transmission option mentioned in Ford’s press release is an eight-speed automatic. Sporty ST and RS models will likely show up at a future date.

On the inside, Ford promises more space, including an additional 2.4 inches of rear shoulder room and 2.8 inches of rear legroom. That is thanks to a longer wheelbase and flat floor. Up front, Ford added a rotary shifter like the one used on the current Fusion and an electronic parking brake to free up space. Relying on the touchscreen instead of analog switches for more controls also allowed for a narrower center console, according to Ford.

The new Focus will be available with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, along with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. An available FordPass app will allow drivers to locate their cars, lock and unlock the doors, start the engine, and check things like fuel levels from their smartphones. Driver-assist tech includes adaptive cruise control, an adaptive front lighting system that uses a camera to adjust lighting for corners, semi-automated parking, and Evasive Steering Assist, which helps the driver steer around stopped vehicles. Note that Ford hasn’t confirmed which of these features will be available in the U.S.

Considering that the redesigned Focus won’t arrive on U.S. shores until next year (likely as a 2020 model), it’s a bit too early to talk pricing. But the fact that the new Focus will be sold here at all is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Cars are being swamped by a tide of SUVs, and even well-known nameplates may soon face the chopping block.


Ford Mustang EcoBoost upgrade pulls serious performance from just four cylinders

The 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost gets a new "High Performance Package" that boosts output from the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine to 330 horsepower, and adds suspension and brake upgrades.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes in a bold new design direction, with LED streaks on its hood and sleeker bodywork all around. It starkly contrasts with the current Sonata's conservative design.

2020 Ford Escape gets sleeker styling, greener powertrains, more tech

The 2020 Ford Escape gets redesigned for the first time since the 2013 model year. Ford brought back the hybrid powertrain, and is adding a plug-in hybrid option for the first time.

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show will have it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe will travel to the 2019 edition to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.

2019 Audi TT RS gets subtle cosmetic surgery ahead of its trip to the Big Apple

The 2019 Audi TT RS gets a minor face-lift, but it keeps its signature turbocharged inline-five engine. The updated TT RS makes its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 proves the General Motors luxury brand still cares about sedans. Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, it features Cadillac's Super Cruise tech and a lineup of turbocharged engines.

The 2020 Toyota Yaris offers big car tech in a small, Mazda-flavored package

Toyota resurrected the Yaris nameplate with a little bit of help from Mazda. Closely related to the Mazda2, the hatchback now stands out with a sharper design than before, and tech features normally found on bigger, more expensive cars.

Drywall or kayaks? The 2020 Toyota Highlander is ready for your weekend plans

Toyota introduced the 2020 Highlander ahead of its public debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The fourth-generation Highlander is bigger than its predecessor, and it comes with more tech features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition is an ordinary sedan built in a supercar factory

What's so special about the 2020 Acura TLX PMC Edition? It's built at the Acura Performance Manufacturing Center, the Ohio factory that makes the NSX supercar. The TLX PMC Edition debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

With drift mode, Kia’s Stinger GTS lets you unleash your inner hooligan

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the limited-edition Kia Stinger GTS gets a trick all-wheel drive system that should enable plenty of sideways action. But only 800 buyers will get to try it.

Technology trickles down from above to make the new 2019 Audi Q3 smarter

The redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The firm's smallest SUV receives tech features like a virtual cockpit and a single screen variant of MMI Touch Response from bigger models.

Kia’s HabaNiro concept is an autonomous electric car that knows when you’re sad

Debuting at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Kia HabaNiro concept is supposed to preview the future of the everyday car. That future will include artificial intelligence tech that can read the driver's emotions, according to Kia.

Mercedes-Benz will give the tech-savvy 2020 CLA more power at New York Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation CLA during CES 2019, and it will expand the lineup when it unveils a midrange model named CLA 35 at the upcoming 2019 New York Auto Show.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.