Technology & Safety
Needless to say, ATSA comes as standard, with a few key additions. The incoming Focus is essentially packed with a host of features: SYNC2, MyKey, Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS), Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Enhanced Transitional Stability (ETS), Lane Keeping System, Adjustable Speed Limiter, Adaptive Cruise Control, Enhanced Active Park Assist, Active City Stop, and Cross Traffic Alert.
SYNC2 is the new, improved SYNC, Ford’s proprietary voice-activated in-car connectivity and infotainment system (which is developed using Microsoft technology). It allows, among other things, the ability to understand one-shot commands issued by the driver. For example, if one would say, “I’m hungry”, SYNC2 automatically searches the paired mobile phone’s navigation system for the nearest food outlets. SYNC2 also has improved language and grammar comprehension, allowing for better accuracy of the driver’s commands. It is also device agnostic: easily pair almost any brand of your smartphone to SYNC2.
The new Ford Focus’ keyless-entry fob is called MyKey, and in addition to providing the general functions, it also allows owners to programme the spare key with some really cool directives.
To quote Ford, one can “reduce the maximum speed of the vehicle, give an earlier low-fuel warning, limit the volume of the in-car entertainment or even disable it completely if the seatbelt is not fastened.” This is good news for owners who are concerned about lending their Focus to another, less-experienced driver.
In terms of active safety, Ford’s ESP now works together with ETS to prevent a loss of control, especially when attempting to overtake another vehicle at speed, or trying to avoid an object on the road. It actively monitors the speed of the vehicle relative to steering angle and input, and activates ESP before a loss of traction occurs. ESP will then reduce engine torque and apply individual wheel braking to reduce the probability of a loss of traction.
The Active Grille Shutter on the Focus helps in the car’s aerodynamics (and hence, fuel consumption and emission figures). It closes off the entire front grille when the vehicle is at speed, decreasing drag, and reopens it when more air is needed to cool the engine (e.g. at start-stop traffic).
The Focus’ EPAS enables the car to execute the range of Ford’s Enhanced Active Park Assist functions. Parallel Park Assist is brought forward to the incoming Focus, complementing the new Perpendicular Park Assist and Park-Out Assist functions. It works by utilising the Focus’ many sensors around the car to detect any viable spaces for parking (when the car is travelling below 30km/h). Once the driver selects one of the appropriate park assist functions, the car automatically steers itself into, or out of, the parking space. The driver only needs control the brake and gear (in addition to monitoring traffic, of course). The new system is refined, needing only 80 centimetres of space to be able to function.
In addition to the Enhanced Active Park Assist functions, Cross Traffic Alert works by informing the driver (by giving repeated beeps) if any other vehicle is on a collision path with the Focus (within 40m on both sides). Active City Stop is now improved from its older version, now allowing collision mitigation to a maximum of 50km/h (from 30km/h previously). This radar system helps avoid collisions (when driven below 20km/h) or reduce the damage of impact (>20km/h to 50km/h) automatically, when the driver is distracted or is otherwise unaware of a vehicle-sized object ahead.
Ford’s Adaptive Cruise Control utilises the same radar device (mounted on top of the windscreen) as Active City Stop to automatically reduce the speed of your car to match the vehicle in front, and leaving a gap, when cruise control is on. This means that the driver does not need to constantly press the brake to slow the vehicle down (deactivating the cruise control) and activating the cruise control again once the road ahead is free.