Reviews

2016 Ford Focus Media Drive: Adelaide

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Technology & Safety

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Alexander Kaps (Driver Assistance Technology Supervisor, Ford Asia Pacific) giving us a brief on the technology side of the new Focus

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.

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Beautiful hand model comes separately with Ford’s MyKey. Arousal is both stimulating and confusing.

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.

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Mark Rampling (Chief Programme Engineer, Ford Focus) opens his mouth and glorious things about Ford came out. No, really. They were glorious.

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.

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Green is good. Orange, not so good. Red is bad.

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.

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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).

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Ford fiddled with some technological mumbo jumbo, and the new EPAS becomes magically better. Really…

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.

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It was cold and wet, but the Cross Traffic Alert works like a charm. Beeps are annoying enough that you actually pay attention to it, potentially saving you lots of stress, time, and money.

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.

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Future radar technology will also identify exes, and will prompt the GPS to reroute. Consequently, all main arteries in and out of city centres will be abnormally clear.

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.

About Andrew Lee

Andrew is a commercial photographer by day and speed demon by night. Don't let his pleasant, approachable demeanour fool you, as he's an incredible fast driver on the circuit! Andrew is a man of many talents (some hidden). He often baffles many with his uncanny ability to stay awake for an inhuman number of days, then disappears. For hours. TCG labels him “Comatose Man” for his nocturnal endeavours and sleep super powers.

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