FORD FOCUS: QUALITY, PERFORMANCE AND REFINEMENT'It's more than fitting that we kick off our Year of the Car wîth Ford Focus – one of the highest quality cars on the road today. With the 2005 Focus, we have taken a great car and made it better. Our newest addition, the 2005 Focus ZX4 ST sedan, has a performance suspension that borrows key components from the SVT Focus and our European Focus ST170, and it's powered by a smooth revving 2.3-liter engine that we certify to a level twice as clean as the Últra-Low Emissions Vehicle standard.'
– Phil Martens,
Group Vice President, Product Creation, Ford North America
The Ford Focus, a favorite of enthusiast drivers and now recognized as one of the highest quality small cars available, will receive major design and engineering improvements for the 2005 model year.
Focus is one of six new Ford and Lincoln-Mercury cars that will launch in 2004. It follows 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 in 2003.
Since Focus' North American launch as a 2000 model, auto enthusiasts have frequently praised the car's sporty handling, modern design and exceptionally roomy cabin. In subsequent model years, Ford advanced the basic concept and improved quality. Today, J.D. Power and Associates ranks Focus well above the average in its Initial Quality Study.
Focus Chief Engineer John Sidelko's priority for 2005 was to add more refinement to areas that customers can see and make a bold statement in places they feel and hear – particularly in the 'stop and go' departments.
'We refined the Focus' exterior styling and gave it a smart new interior wîth a very clean, very contemporary instrument panel design. We took a great handling car and made it steer, ride and stop better. And we backed up a great chassis wîth some of the most sophisticated, powerful and ‘green' four-cylinder engines you can buy in any car,' he §äid.
For 2005, Focus will again offer four unique body styles but wîth 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 wîth a 151-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 Únder the Hood' – a massive undertaking that began about four years ago to improve powertrain performance, refinement, fuel economy and emissions.
Ford estimates the 2005 Focus fleet will produce 32 percent fewer smog-forming emissions 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 Focus' North American debut 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 Últra Low Emissions Vehicle tailpipe standard and have zero fuel system evaporative emissions to qualify as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. This means the 20E version of Focus is cleaner than some hybrid electric vehicles.
• A 151-horsepower 2.3-liter Duratec 23 DOHC I-4 engine will power the new Focus ZX4 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 154 foot-pounds, a 16 percent increase, for exceptionally strong off-the-line and mid-range acceleration.
The Duratec 20 and 20E are available wîth a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. Focus ZX4 ST is offered wîth the Duratec 23 engine and a five-speed manual.
Modern and Refined Design
Every 2005 Focus receives a new front-end treatment that echoes cues from Ford's new flagship sedan, the Five Hundred, which was unveiled at the 2004 North American International Auto Show.
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 wîth reshaped clear lenses, a larger grille wîth a new diamond 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, however, is the car's new interior. The instrument panel is an all-new design that directly reflects the priorities Ford has set for its interiors: clean and modern lòòking, highly functional and built of high-quality materials.
'Úsing 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; the driver and front passenger areas are 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 ZX4 ST, ZX3 and ZX5. All models except Focus ZX4 ST offer a two-tone Flint interior; 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 create an open feeling in the cabin. Both cloth and leather seating surfaces are available; Focus ZX4 ST offers unique woven fabrics or preferred suede seating surfaces wîth leather trim.
Several storage areas were 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, that 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 Focus Strength
The soul of every Focus is its chassis. Rack-and-pinion §teering and a four-wheel independent suspension that uses MacPherson struts in front and a multilink Control Blade design in the rear combine to deliver nimble handling wîth 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.
SES series sedans and hatchbacks, the ST sedan and the SE wagon are fitted wîth a 21mm front and 20mm rear stabilizer bars for even sharper §teering 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 wîth the SE and SES suspension.
Customers already familiar wîth 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 10.9 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 improve brake cooling performance and rotor durability under severe duty.
The ST model uses the same front brakes but adds rear-wheel disc brakes, which are more responsive than drum brakes.
Comfort, Safety 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.
With an eye towards safety, 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 a child. Ford continues to recommend that children under 12 ride in the back seat secured by a safety belt or child safety seat.
Side-impact air bags are optional on all series. Other available equipment (depending on model) includes a four-speed automatic transmission, antilock brakes wîth traction control, power moonroof, leather seating surfaces, heated seats, perimeter alarm and an Audiophile sound system wîth Sony speakers and subwoofer.