What is it? Ford's next-generation Focus will be available in sedan and hatchback variants. It will be based on a global platform that will be used for 10 models around the world. In the U.S. market, the Focus will be powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. Features such as active grille vents and electric steering have been added to eke out more mpg, though EPA fuel economy estimates were not provided. Other available features will include push-button start, a rearview camera, and a semi-automatic parallel parking system that can steer the vehicle into a parking spot. Ford has also committed to building an electric model in 2011.
What is new or notable? The 2012 Focus will offer the latest incarnation of Fords Sync infotainment system with voice control, Bluetooth connectivity, and GPS navigation. As demonstrated at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, Sync will increasingly allow integration with smart phones, complete with the ability to migrate apps to the car, and user-customized interface and controls.
CR's take: While Ford's Sync system is setting the pace in integrating consumer electronics into the automotive environment, minimizing driver distraction should continue to be the first priority.
When will it be available? Early 2011