2019 Ford Focus: Specs, Features, Leaks, Scoops And Everything Else We Know

Seven years after its introduction, it’s high time for the third-gen Focus to be replaced by an all new model. In a surprising move, Ford chose to skip the Geneva Auto Show and unveil it in a standalone event on April 10.

That, in all likelihood, was done so that the Blue Oval would have everyone’s full attention, which wouldn’t be the case at the show. So, with less than a week remaining before its official debut, here’s what we know about the upcoming Focus that its maker hopes will kickstart its C-segment offensive.

The birth of a game changer

When it was launched in 1998 as a replacement to the ageing, and hardly competitive, Escort, the first-gen Focus took the world by storm, introducing fresh styling and top-notch handling, the latter thanks to a nicely sorted chassis and the first multi-link rear suspension in the C-segment. As a result, it walked away with the 1999 European Car of the Year award – and make the competition take serious notice.

In late 1999 it was also introduced in the U.S. market as a 2000MY, where it was available as a three-door hatch, a four-door sedan and a station wagon; the five-door hatch didn’t arrive until 2001.

Even though the first-gen was a hit, Ford somehow got its global car strategy mixed up. For the European market, the second generation was launched at the 2014 Paris Auto Show with a new design and larger dimensions but, more or less, the same underpinnings, while in the U.S. the second-gen Focus arrived in 2007 with different styling than the Euro-spec model and only in two-door coupe and four-door sedan versions, as the hatch and estate were dropped. It was short-lived and was replaced in 2011, with Ford opting for the global strategy once again, reuniting the U.S. version with the one sold in Europe and the rest of the world.

All new, Fiesta-inspired bodywork

The Blue Oval itself rolled out a number of prototypes last December, with a colorful wrap that gave us a first glimpse of the production model’s design and the #TimeToFocus hashtag. Yep, that’s very Insta-gen and all that, but we’ve already seen the production model thanks to one of our readers snapping it up in Portugal, most likely during a promo shooting.

The overall design is totally different to the current, third-gen car, and it has more flowing lines that are more in line with those of the new Fiesta. Yet, somehow, the end result also reminds us of Korean models like the Hyundai i30 and if we were to single out one thing, it would definitely be the headlights that look a lot like Volvo’s ‘Thor hammer’ (aka Mjolnir, for those of you not versed in Norse mythology or Marvel comics) ones.

It seems that Ford’s designers went for a modern look that, nevertheless, looks like an amalgam of different styling cues. We guess that, being a global car, they had to take many factors into consideration, though we’ll reserve judgement for a few days until it’s officially launched and we’ll see more high-res images.

Our best look at the car came from a reader of Vezess who snapped the hatchback during a photo shoot.

Image courtesy of Vezess

What’s under the skin?

The fourth-gen Focus hatch might be totally redesigned, but it will ride on a modified version of its predecessors’ global C-car platform. Which, in itself, is no bad thing, as we expect the already good dynamics to be sharpened up and, despite an increase in footprint that will bring a roomier cabin, weight to go down. Power will, naturally, be directed to the front wheels via a five- or six-speed manual or a dual-clutch transmission.

As for the engines, the European market will get an assortment of turbocharged Ecoboost units like the 1.0-liter three-cylinder, 1.5-liter four and a couple of diesels, in 1.5 and 2.0 guise.

Meanwhile, North America will likely continue with the current 123hp 1.0-liter turbo three and the naturally aspirated 160hp 2.0-liter four, though Ford might introduce a turbocharged petrol four, too. Both versions will get a replacement to the all-electric variant, probably with an upgraded battery and longer range, as well as a plug-in hybrid, both at a later date.

An upmarket interior

Whenever a new model is launched, its maker always claims that it uses higher-end material than its predecessor, with some going as far as calling them premium – even though they clearly aren’t. Well, Ford CEO Jim Hackett has already said that he expects sales of the new Focus to be slightly lower than today’s model, acknowledging that a lot of consumers nowadays go for SUVs. At the same time, he said that he wanted the car to be more upmarket, “in much the same way as the Fiesta”.

Thanks to a spy image, we know what the dashboard will look like. Like most new models, the main feature is its floating display, with a series of buttons right underneath followed by the center air vents and the climate controls. It looks fresh, and yet, like the exterior, quite generic.

We don’t doubt it will be very nicely equipped, as apart from the (mandated) standard ESP it will come with a full suite of driver assist systems, such as collision and pedestrian warning, automatic emergency braking etc., depending on the selected trim.

Made in China, imported to the U.S.

Last year, when Ford announced it intended to shift small car production to its Mexican plant, U.S. President Donald Trump was up in arms, going as far as openly threatening the Dearborn-based automaker. Eventually, the company changed its mind, but the new Focus still won’t be built in the States. Instead, it will be manufactured at the Changan plant in China, where the local Focus is also made, and will be imported in the U.S. in what is a company first – and President Trump has no problem with that.

The company claims that this change will save it $1 billion and has nothing to do with Trump’s attack. Which might, or might not, be the truth, as it is retooling its Wayne, Michigan plant for production of the Ranger mid-size pickup and the new Bronco SUV. Mind you, that applies to the U.S. version, as the Euro-spec model will be manufactured at Saarlouis, Germany.

The five-door hatchback will be joined by the sedan and estate versions that have already been caught out testing on numerous occasions. It remains unclear if both will make it Stateside, but what’s sure is that, like the current model, a three-door hatch, or a hard-top convertible for that matter, won’t be making a return.

What about the hot ST and RS variants?

In 2002, Ford caused quite a stir in the hot hatch niche with the first Focus RS that had its chassis tuned by the motorsport division and featured a 2.0-liter turbocharged four, a Qauife limited-slip front differential and Brembo brakes, and, perhaps more crucially, an aggressive front end and flared arches that made it look very much like the WRC racer Ford was fielding at the time. It was available only in blue and solely in European markets.

Its successor was powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, which was also used in a milder state of tune in the ST, while the third Focus RS switched to a 2.3-liter four that also powers the base Mustang. Moreover, it was the first RS with all-wheel drive, which was a wise move with the engine churning out no less than 350 HP and it’s doubtful if FWD would have sufficed, even with Ford’s clever Revo-Knuckle set up.

We expect the new Focus RS to bow in 2020, with as much as 400 HP and, according to source, some form of electrification.

2019 Ford Focus ST illustrated by Josh Byrnes for Carscoops

As with the previous models, there will also be a milder ST variant, which will ditch the costly AWD and rival the likes of the Golf GTI. While it has been rumored that Ford may downsize the ST’s engines to high-tech 1.5-liter four-cylinder twin-scroll turbo units, this has yet to be confirmed. It is more likely that Ford will continue with a 2.0-liter turbo gasoline lump with around 280hp offered with a six-speed manual and in some markets, a six-speed Powershift twin-clutch automatic gearbox.

When will I be able to get one?

According to Ford’s most recent announcement, North America will have to wait until the middle of 2019 to get the Focus with production primarily sourced from China. Other global markets, including Europe, could get the compact hatch earlier. More details on the exact release dates for each region are expected to be announced after the presentation on April 10.


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  • Commonsenseonthefield

    We’re really going to sit back and watch ford poach the volvo headlight design

    • Jay

      Well the fusion and edge had the same design in their tail lights so it was bound to spread to the headlights. To answer your question though, yes.

    • RS6 Performance Wagon Lover

      Ford already stole Aston Martin’s grille!

      • jesterking

        Ford Owned Aston Martin, so they owned that design.

    • Liam Paul

      lol what are you going do, march down to ford in dearborn and be like, oh Hell no you better not lol

    • Bsneider

      why should we care, don’t buy it if you don’t like it.

    • jesterking

      Considering Ford was the owner of Volvo up to 2010?

  • Brian Brown

    Looks like someone used to work at Mazda….

    • Mazda used to belong to Ford…

  • eb110americana

    You need to go back and rewrite the paragraphs on the history of the Focus. The dates are wrong and the whole thing is confusing.

  • dumblikeyou2

    Jeez, I hope the dashboard looks better than that.

  • So a Mazda 3 with Volvo headlights and an Aston grille. Why Ford Continues to copy the brands it used to own when they’re not making trucks?

  • Phil Klostermen

    I hope nobody buys the China special

    • DMax

      People buy China special Iphones and Ipads just fine, what’s wrong with this? The current Focus produced in Michigan has all sorts of spotty build quality issues. Thank unions for messing up domestic production for American manufacturers.

      • Phil Klostermen

        Keep believing the globalist dream Hopefully your job gets outsourced or insourced. H1-B

      • jesterking

        I have an 18 ST. I haven’t had a single issue with it over the 1.5 years I’ve had it so far. I won’t be going back to Ford. I didn’t give up on Ford, Ford gave up on me.

  • Phil Klostermen

    The Author is clueless on what negotiations took place

  • Phil Klostermen

    That’s because your an idiot

    • Infinite1


  • Paul

    It looks like Mazda and Ford got it on.

  • Six_Tymes

    A new RS also eventually? If that really happens, that’s is BIG shoes to fill, and pressure on Ford to top themselves, can they?

    • jesterking

      Here… have a cracked block while you’re at it!

  • Alpina

    They should only change the back lights and hidious center console on existing car and it would be one of the nicest and functional cars on market.

  • Car Design Fan

    So basically they messed up the realy good existing rear (and copied Mazda), but left the Aston Martin big ugly mouth (and copied Volvo headlights on the way).

  • S3XY

    More blah guzzling cars. Not what the world needs.

  • jesterking

    So, ford is killing off car manufacturing in the US. But we will still get the focus… MADE IN CHINA?!

    Ford… I’ve owned 3 new fords over the last 6 years. Not one more. I’m going back to Subaru, and getting the 2021 STi when it comes out.

  • jesterking

    meanwhile, honda, toyota, subaru, nissan, etc are all selling sedans and doing just fine on them. I don’t want an SUV or a truck. I want a good American car that’s fun to drive. Too bad I don’t want a used one…

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