Text and photos by Cor Steenstra
We drove the Ford Focus on a trip across Europe from the Netherlands South to Spain and back, so we were able to experience the Focus in a wide variety of circumstances, from cold to heat, from wet to dry, from freeways to very small country roads, and in all of these the Ford Focus performed very well. There was never a time where the Focus could not cope.
Design wise the Ford Focus seems to look like a lot of other cars from different brands. The front is still derivative from the time Ford owned Aston Martin. The headlights and main body could be Hyundai, as could be the rear end and tail lights. There are also hints of other brands, like Opel/Vauxhall/GM, Peugeot/Citroen and more. All of this seems to come from not only that designers study at the same few car design institutions there are globally, not only that they all have access to the internet and see what others are doing, but sadly also by companies hiring designers from competitor studios and ordering them to continue doing exactly what they were at the previous employer.
This means that they put whatever current styling trend popular with that competitor ahead of their own brand identity, something that was simply impossible to imagine not that long ago.
So it is up to us to determine where the origin is from, if this is Ford or if this is Ford getting influence from one or more of their competitors. Its difficult to back track this, since development time within companies differ a lot, which makes it possible that a trend started at the original company could actually be produced by a competitor even before the original has come out.
In any case, having just experienced the Toyota H-CR, the Focus clearly did not have issues with offering visibility to their rear passengers. In that respect this was a good experience. The exterior design of the Focus is a lot more conventional as well of course, which helped in this.
The 5-door hatch back is clearly very popular all over Europe and most brands offer a wide variety of them, small to large, low to tall, cheap to expensive. Among all of those the Focus does not really stand out as a unique design, particularly pushing any boundaries, not particularly gorgeous, nor ugly. Its a good, non-offensive average, which probably is just what their target audience is looking for.
The interior design of the Focus similarly was good, but not outstanding, with good materials but nothing outstanding either.
What does both me though is that the on-board GPS of this brand new Ford Focus clearly was not up to date with the roads. I can understand that there are some roads that have been build or rerouted in the very recent past, which are not showing up on the GPS, but I’ve driven over roads that clearly had been there for years, and on the GPS it seemed like I was cutting through the meadows for miles and miles. THAT cannot and should not be allowed. Everyone has internet and to update those vital systems is essential, and should be an automatic function within the car system. This can easily lead to very dangerous situations!