Twenty years after. The Ford Focus has been renewed for the fourth time since 1998, when the first series brought a breath of stylistic innovation to the C segment. “The new design started out from a blank sheet of paper”, says Amko Leenarts, Ford Europe’s design chief, with satisfaction. “We wanted to create a product that would make customers fall in love at first sight and stay in love throughout the life-cycle with the customer.
This car marks a significant evolution in our brand’s design DNA, which has its roots in Human Centric Design, inspired by people’s dreams and needs. In other words, our products inspire behaviors, while the customer behaviors are inspiring us to design new experiences. It’s a beautiful rhythm!”
The designers focused on taking the Focus up to premium level, while offering comfort and roominess at the same time. “With the 53 mm wheelbase, we were able to position the wheels at the four corners and this helped us achieve optimal proportions,” continued Leenarts. “Profiting from this is the silhouette which is decidedly tauter and sportier than on the previous model, thanks also to the more rearward position of the front pillars. “The A-pillars now point towards the centre of the front wheels, while the rear pillars lie exactly above the rear wheels”.
At the centre of the new front lies the diamond-shaped grille, wider and lower than on the previous model, where the sculpted ribs that define the bonnet start. Horizontally designed Led headlights reinforce the car’s road presence. At the rear, the lighting units are split into two elements, allowing for a more versatile opening of the luggage compartment. Both in front view and from the rear, the Led signature lighting developed by the new light clusters makes the new Focus immediately recognisable by day and by night.
The cockpit has also been revolutionised. There, thanks to the use of touch screens, the Cologne based Ford of Europe Design Team was able to eliminate more than 50 percent of the buttons that previously cluttered up much of the dashboard. “Almost all functions are controlled from the large centre display. We have it horizontally as high as possible to ease the operability and to improve safety,” the Director of Design remarked.
Five lines for five characters, “so each trim level has a different personality”. The Active version transforms the Focus into a crossover, the result of the 30 mm higher set-up and a specially developed aesthetic kit. The ST confirms its sporting vocation, with decidedly bold aesthetic elements, such as miniskirts, spoilers and numerous matt black components that recur throughout the car. The more luxurious Titanium and the more classic Plus complete the range. “We worked hard on this project with one aim in mind: to make the new Focus a benchmark for design, technology and comfort”, concluded Leenarts.
Full article in Auto&Design no. 231