Sleek new styling is expected to deliver higher registrations for the next-generation workhorse model from Ford.
Longer than its predecessor but not as wide and having a smaller cargo area, the latest Focus estate will be a showroom hit because it is better looking, believes product marketing manager Steve Humbles.
“All our research shows that appearance is now at the top of the list of priorities when people buy estate cars,” he said. “This is well known with regard to saloons and hatchbacks, but the fact that practicality comes second to looks is a relatively recent development in the wagon sector.
“We had to respond to this by giving our new model much more of a wow factor and even though a sporty sloping roof line at the rear has cost us 27 litres in luggage capacity with the seats up, we’re happy with the compromise and think customers will be happy with the sporty shape,” he told Fleet News.
A slightly longer cargo deck and a new suspension layout allowing greater width between the rear wheel arches means the car continues to provide practical compact transport with a flat and easily accessible load floor, but maximum load volume of 1,502 litres is 44 litres less.
“Our experience with the Mondeo estate has reinforced the survey findings. In its latest guise, this version is accounting for 23% of registrations and we’re confident the new Focus estate will take an 18% share of sales, compared with the 12.5% achieved by the old model.
“We’re so pleased with the styling that we’re regarding this as more than merely fleet transport. We think the car could have a future in the retail sector,” said Humbles.
Shaped to continue the market leader’s upmarket ambitions to fend off downsized premium rivals and increasing competition from aspiring Korean brands, the Focus estate mirror the hatchback range in power units and specification.
More costly by £1,270, the fleet favourite Zetec trim offers greater power, higher economy and has £1,000-worth of extra equipment than its predecessor – including torque vectoring control, roof rails, driver lumbar adjust, a tonneau cover, DAB radio, USB connection and Bluetooth with voice control – as standard.
Powerful and smooth, the latest TDCi motor makes only a slight diesel rumble at idle and cruises quietly. Despite its load-lugging potential, the suspension retains hatchback composure to blend precision handling with an unruffled ride quality.
Author: Maurice Glover