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Recent Ford Focus Improvements Show Dedication To The Customer

Recent efforts show that Ford is working hard to increase the already-substantial popularity of the Ford Focus. Their various efforts have included improvements to the engine, body and interior.

Over the model years of 2010 through to 2012, Ford made some minor incremental improvements to the fuel economy, bringing it up from 9.8/6.7 to 9/6.5 litres per 100 kilometres for city/highway driving (or 24/35 to 26/36 miles per gallon for city/highway driving). This translates to an additional 40 kilometres for a 50-litre tank of gas (the 2011 model has a 51.1 litre tank, and the 2012/13 has a 46.9 litre tank). Although this improvement is minor, it shows steps toward the mandated fleet fuel economy rating of 54.5 mpg (4.3 l/100km) by 2025 set by the US government.

Improving on the 2011 model, the 2012 and 2013 models use the latest in Ford's Duratec line, the 2.0-litre Ecoboost. This engine incorporates Twin independent Variable Cam Timing (Ti-VCT) to increase the combustion efficiency, and also adds turbo-charging and gasoline direct injection.

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) is an upgrade to the standard fuel injection system. It improves fuel efficiency and increases power output by injecting fuel directly into the cylinders under high pressure. The amount of fuel injected is precisely controlled by the on-board computer, resulting in less fuel waste and lowered emissions.

The visual change between the 2011 and 2012 model years was one of the most striking for Ford in a while. While the 2010/2011 body design was fairly sleek and sporty, the 2012/2013 went much further. With a more aggressive-looking front grill, more stylized headlamps and rear lights that wrap around the corners of the body, lower-profile rear spoiler and tweaked side-panel lines, they may appeal to a younger, or more youthful, audience. (The "youthful" would be us 40+ folks who still can't believe we're adults.)

A similar design has been used in European markets, and adoption of this body style in the North American market has been desired and is refreshing. Their continuing move from stodgy to sporty is likely to expand the target for the Ford Focus. Significant growth is already being seen in the Asia-Pacific, African and European markets.

The sport market was clearly Ford's target for the Titanium model, introduced in 2012. With options for three different 17-inch wheels using 215/50R17 BSW tires or an 18-inch wheel with 235/40R18 BSW tires, the ‘need for speed' appeal is definitely available.

The look and feel of the interior has improved significantly over the past four model years. The changes have included a greater incorporation of the Ford Sync system, re-arrangement of the center console and an innumerable number of aesthetic touches. These improvements really effect the feel behind the wheel. It's no longer, "just transportation from here to there". It's just a better experience.

Sync was introduced in the 2008 model year through a partnership with Microsoft, and has been steadily improving ever since. With the advancements in OLED and related technologies, Ford has been addressing the owner's learning curve, as commands and features can appear on a display, rather than as notations in the manual. With a display in the centre console as well as within the main cluster, a great deal of information can be shown, and using Sync, interacted with.

These incremental improvements indicate Ford's desire to adapt and change to continuously increase the driver appeal through fuel efficiency and aesthetic design, while maintaining a popular price point and not upsetting those who dislike truly radical change.

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