Retrospect: twenty years of Ford Focus

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From revolution to everyday


With the arrival of the first generation Focus, Ford threw high light because of its bold design. Over the years, the Focus has become somewhat braver. Where do we come from and where does it go with the Focus? Time for a history lesson!

First generation: 1998-2005

Retrospect: twenty years of Ford Focus

In 1998 for the first time a Focus appears on the stage. As successor to the Ford Escort, the design has been completely renewed. The designers held on to the ‘New Edge’ design language, just like with the Ka and Cougar. This means hard lines are used on the drawing board, but they are also alternated with curves in the carriage. Where the Escort was specifically for the European market, the Focus became a global citizen. After the arrival of a new Opel Astra and Volkswagen Golf at the same time, the Focus appeared at the perfect moment. The competition was only too heavy, because the Ford knew the Opel and Volkswagen never to beat in terms of sales. However, the first Focus is known for its dynamic driving characteristics and reliability.

The reactions were so good that the designers at the facelift changed little in 2001 to the design. In addition to some modifications to the lamp and bumper parts (the lights that moved to the headlights), the design of the three- and five-door hatchback, sedan and station wagon remained unchanged. In addition, Ford treated us to two special versions: in 2001 we became acquainted with the ST170, a year later with the thick RS with the 2.0-liter turbo engine with 215 hp.

Second generation: 2004-2011

Retrospect: twenty years of Ford Focus

While the first Focus was still available for a year, Ford rolled into the second generation Focus in 2004 in the showrooms. After the C-Max was the first to be the first car to use the new ‘C1 platform’, Ford is installing this same platform under the Focus. Cars that make further use of this include the Mazda 3, Volvo S40 and Volvo C70. The biggest difference with the first Focus is in the interior. In all respects, the second Focus grew, and the extra space that was created benefited the interior. Although the Focus was redrawn from A to Z, the model was recognizable as a Focus. All body styles were maintained in comparison with the first Focus. News is the cabriolet presented in 2006, which was tackled as Focus CC. This was signed by Pininfarina. Sports versions of this generation of Focus also appeared: the ST came in 2005 with Volvo’s 2.5-liter (225 hp), the mostly toxic green RS was presented in 2009: a five-cylinder with 305 hp and four-wheel drive. In 2008 the Focus underwent a rather heavy facelift on the basis of Ford’s new ‘Kinetec Design’

Third generation: 2011-2018

Retrospect: twenty years of Ford Focus

We have known the third and current generation since 2011. With the arrival of the third generation model, it is time to drop the three-door hatchback and cabriolet, because the third generation is only listed as a five-door hatchback, sedan and station wagon in the brochures. For the platform, the designers took a look at the kitchen of the second generation C-Max. After the more subdued design of the second Focus, the third Focus was drawn with an even more neutral hand. This Focus also became a true citizen of the world, because he also drove around in Asia and North America, for example. In 2013, the Focus Electric made its appearance. With the 108 kW electric motor, the Electric was about 162 kilometers away. For a long time, however, the Focus Electric did not remain in service, because after the facelift of the Focus in 2014, the Dutch importer swung out the electric model again. At the facelift, as always, the front and rear lamps were tackled. For lorry drivers, the three-cylinder 1.0 EcoBoost with 100 or 125 hp was very popular. The Focus is still very popular in our country and is in second place in Ford’s 2017 sales lists. Also from this generation came an ST and then the RS: no more five-cylinder but 350 horsepower and again (special) four-wheel drive.

Until July of this year the current Focus is still at the dealers in the showrooms, after that the all-new fourth generation takes over.

Retrospect: twenty years of Ford Focus

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