15 March 2019

Ford's new Focus and Endura models

We sampled the latest update to Ford’s Focus hatch and its Endura SUV via a quick drive of the ST-Line variants over rural roads west of Auckland and we discovered a spacious duo with improved safety technology.


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Ford Endura 2019
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Ford Endura 2019
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Ford Endura 2019
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Ford Endura 2019
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Ford Focus 2019
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Ford Focus 2019
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Ford Focus 2019
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Ford Focus 2019
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Ford Focus 2019
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Ford Focus 2019

Given both sell in popular segments, that’s good news for Kiwi families – and fleets.  All four Endura versions are powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel with 140kW and a generous 400Nm, figures which on the bendy roads we sampled delivered smooth cruising, and enough pick-up from rest to please most. That’s partly thanks to this eight-speed auto transmission – updated from the six-speed – and its aggressive first-gear ratio, designed to avoid low-rpm turbo lag.

Our only reservations came in plain auto on some steeper uphills, where one had to dial to manual or sport to evade a too-relaxed climb rate.

Mind you this unit did seem incredibly refined from the driver seat – thanks to extra work on sound deadening, particularly under the bonnet.

Endura is available in both 2WD and 4WD, the latter automatically uncoupling the rear diff under light throttle load to save fuel.

As for safety, Endura now includes post-collision braking. If you’re involved in an impact, shock or injury may prevent you from slamming the brakes on, and a car which continues to roll onwards may stray into oncoming traffic, suffering a second impact after the airbags have already deployed.

This one won’t be at risk – once an impact is detected and the airbags triggered, it will auto brake to a rapid stop.

The Endura can even deploy evasive steer assist, using the electric power steer to help you round an obstacle if you won’t otherwise stop in time.  

Our gravel road scamper revealed that the doors’ lower edge covers the sill when closed – designed to push back snow, but just as useful at keeping dust off trousers when climbing in or out. And while deploying the doors, we discovered that soft-touch plastics are now used on all cabin areas above the knee line, to impart a quality feel anywhere you may touch regularly.

But the spec to get is Titanium is the one to get if you want all the fruit – it even includes heated rear seats for the kids, and a 180-degree front camera – in response to owner complaints of poor visibility from the elevated seat of an SUV.

We sampled the Endura ST-Line, with its 20-inch wheels and sports-focussed suspension, and were impressed with how well it was set up for families – not just via the obvious, like enough space to fit three child seats side by side, or the size of that boot, but with the smaller thoughtful extras, like the cargo area’s side cubbies and fold-out shopping hooks, the button to control the tailgate (great for shorties who can’t reach), and the enclosed spaces round the under-boot spare wheel, to carry valuables – or items you don’t want mixed with luggage, but may need, like gloves and a tarp to keep clean if you do have to change a wheel.

As for the more affordable Focus, built in Germany and sitting on a stiffer platform inspired by the RS, it now gets a new-gen 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine and eight-speed auto, and Ford has also pitched safety as the big news. Scoring five stars under the latest, more stringent crash-test regimen, it includes auto emergency braking that’s billed to register both cyclists and pedestrians, as well as other cars – even when it’s dark. Like Endura, it includes post-collision braking, while Focus will even pull itself to a stop if it notes no driver input – perhaps due to fatigue, or illness. Opt for the Titanium and you’ll get a head-up display – the only one, we’re told, that’s compatible with polarized sunglasses.

Experience a frontal impact and the headlights will drop away instead of pushing back into the bonnet, while the front guards peel away once past the door, to avoid blocking your exit.

Other tech is aimed at fuel economy, including measures to cut drag through the air – like an active grille shutter and air separation elements in the back bumper.

Once upon a time a three-cylinder engine in a hatch this size would have led to disappointment. Nowadays it’s accepted, perhaps because this motor puts out 134kW and 240Nm, and the eight-speed auto, again with aggressive first gear, makes the most of it. Certainly it felt just fine at real-world speeds over our launch route.

Owners may, however, be surprised to hear that the 1.5-litre Focus can instead drive on just two cylinders under light throttle loads, when it cuts one cylinder to save five per cent on fuel.

Considering the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel instead? You’ll share the powerplant with Endura owners, albeit in a lighter vehicle.

This Focus is roomier than before, the longer wheelbase and shorter dash with the more upright windscreen imparting greater cabin space, put to best use for rear passengers.

There’s no risk the changes will make the car harder to park, though. We’re promised this Park Assist program is fully auto – able to park in a space 1.1x its own length, including steering and putting itself into ‘P’, then reversing the manoeuvre to pull out.

Ford has added two new variants to the line-up – the ST-Line and Active, the latter a wagon-SUV cross which goes on sale late this year. Managing director Simon Rutherford expects the ST-Line spec to sell best for Focus, and Endura to outsell Everest, which some buyers say is too big for today’s urban conditions.

At a glance - Endura

Models

Ford Endura Trend 2WD and AWD, ST-Line AWD, Titanium AWD

Engine

2.0-litre diesel

Price

$53,490 (Trend 2WD), $56,490 (Trend AWD), $64,490 (ST-line AWD), $69,990 (Titanium AWD)

ANCAP safety rating

5

Power and Torque

140kW at 3500rpm, 400Nm at 2,000-3,000rpm

Transmission

Eight-speed auto

Fuel economy

6.7l/100km

Towing capacity

2000kg

2WD/4WD/AWD

2WD (Front), AWD

Seating capacity

5

Luggage capacity/payload

602 litres to luggage cover (800 to roof) seats up, 1,688 (to roof, seats folded)

Safety systems

  • Pre-Collision Assist with pedestrian detection
  • Lane Keeping System
  • Evasive Steer Assist
  • Rear view camera with front and rear park sensors
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Blind spot detection with cross traffic alert (Titanium model only)
  • Lane departure warning
  • Auto headlights with auto high beam

 

At a glance - Focus

Models

Ford Focus Trend hatch and wagon, ST-Line hatch, Active hatch, Titanium hatch

Engine

1.5-litre EcoBoost GTDi petrol, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel (Trend wagon only)

Price

$31,990 (Trend hatch), $37,990 (Trend wagon), $36,990 (ST-line hatch), $41,990 (Titanium hatch)

ANCAP safety rating

5

Power and Torque

134kW at 6000rpm, 240Nm at 1,600-4,500rpm (1.5), 110kW at 3500rpm, 370Nm from 2000 to 2500rpm (2.0 diesel)

Transmission

Eight-speed auto

Fuel economy

5.9l/100km (1.5), 4.4l/100km (2.0)

Towing capacity

1400kg

2WD/4WD/AWD

2WD Front

Seating capacity

5

Luggage capacity/payload

443 litres (hatch, seats up) seats up, 1,320 litres (hatch, seats folded), 728 litres (wagon, seats up), 1620 litres (wagon, seats folded)

Safety systems

  • Evasive Steer Assistance
  • Lane Centring Assist
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Blind spot monitoring with cross traffic alert
  • Lane Departure warning
  • Forward Collision warning
  • Post-Impact Auto braking
  • Parking sensors rear and reversing camera
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