... to take on the most competitive segment in this country. It's up against a classy field including Mazda3, Corolla, Lancer and locally-built Holden Cruze as well as VW Golf.
But new Focus has plenty to recommend it ushering in a dynamic new look with real cut-through on the street and a classy new interior featuring Ford's acclaimed kinetic design language.
Two distinctive bodystyles are available, sedan and hatch, each with its own appeal. Drivers will no doubt appreciate the cockpit-style driving environment yet the cabin has lost none of the comfort and practicality that has become a characteristic of Focus. Within the two bodystyles there are three powertrains and four specification levels.
The car has an impressive array of smart technologies, outstanding occupant safety and further advances in levels of driving quality.
The strength of new Focus's body is down to extensive use of high-strength steels. Fifty-five per cent of the body shell is made of high-strength steels, of which 31 per cent is ultra-tough boron steel, more than any other Ford built to date.
Meanwhile, high-strength steel is used in the integrated door opening reinforcement rings and door load paths to provide excellent protection from side impacts.
New Focus also features a patented front chassis subframe, which de-couples during severe frontal impacts, avoiding deformation in the passenger cell footwell area. Pedestrian protection has been boosted by the addition of a "soft" cowl design in the front body structure and Ford has also relocated the windscreen wiper system to help further reduce injury risks.
Option packages such as the Convenience Pack bring new technology to Focus. The well-specified mid-level Trend model is $24,490 for the 2.0-litre GDi petrol engine with five-speed manual transmission.
Focus Sport has a greater emphasis on driving enjoyment. Key features include sports suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports front seats, dual zone climate control and a Sony audio system with 4.2-inch colour screen and multi-function display. Sport also scores the Convenience Pack as standard equipment. It is more comprehensively equipped than the outgoing Zetec model.
Focus Titanium has even more goodies and sells from a starting price of $32,590 for 2.0-litre GDi engine and six-speed PowerShift transmission variants.
Needless to say, Focus is a key element of the Ford product portfolio in Australia. Expect a "European" feel to the car's dynamics and impressive fuel economy from the diesel model. The double clutch Powershift manumatic would be difficult to overlook for everyday and sporty driving as it offers the best of both worlds and an extra gear over the manual which is five speed only. What happened to the six-speed manual?
NEED TO KNOW
Four variants; Ambiente, Trend, Sport and Titanium.
Engines: 1.6-litre four cylinder or new 2.0-litre GDi (Gasoline Direct Injection) and a 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel.
Dual clutch six-speed Powershift manumatic is available, manual `box is a five- speed.
First appearance in Focus of rain sensing wipers, auto headlights and auto dim rear view mirror, follow me home lights.
Available in five door hatch and four door sedan.
Five star crash rating.
Prices start at $21,990.