Redesigned from the inside out, the 2008 Ford Focus brings a bold new look, a modern interior and a high level of driving enjoyment to the small car segment. Joining the new Focus four-door sedan is, for the first time, ever a sporty two-door coupe.
Ford is renewing its commitment to the small car market as an influx of younger buyers and the instability of gas prices have led to growing sales in the segment. Small cars make up the largest vehicle segment in the North America today and growth is expected to continue.
Muscular stance, sharp character lines and a high beltline
The 2008 Focus strikes an impressive pose. Designers drew inspiration from the Ford Fusion’s prominent chrome-bar grille design, flared wheel arches and sweeping, crisp lines to create a small car that’s stylish and sporty.
Flared wheel arches give Focus its firm, secure stance and work with the raised beltline to give Focus its muscular look.
The design is further refined by a taut character line that runs from the taillights, sweeping across the doors just below the door handles and snapping suddenly down at the front wheel well. Another crisp line runs from the A-pillar to the headlight and down to the bottom of the front bumper, defining the corners of the car.
The headlights are a design story by themselves. Horizontal bars with a matte surface run through the reflection area, visually connecting the headlights with a sweeping line running through the chrome-bar grille. It is such an innovative idea that Ford has a patent request for the design.
The tail lamps share cues with the 2008 Ford Escape, with a white arc cutting across the red lens. The leading edge of the deck lid features a new clear lens center high-mounted stop lamp (CHMSL) that illuminates with red LEDs for a progressive, modern appearance.
Focus SEL models feature a front fender applique integrated just behind the front wheel arch, adding a bright accent to the profile. And the "Focus" name is spelled out in bold italic letters on the deck lid, scuff plates and instrument panel.
The 2008 Focus, so far, is available in two body styles: a two-door coupe, a first-ever for Focus, and a four-door sedan. These are the two highest volume body styles in the segment. In fact, the sedan and coupe will allow Ford to cover a full 80 percent of the small car market.
Redesigned cabin is quiet, inviting and modern
Progressive is the word that best describes the interior. The new interior design not only adds more flexible storage space, but new surfaces and materials create a modern, contemporary cabin with a sense of openness.
A "top-of-dash" display, positioned at eye-level at the top of the center stack, features a message center that shows radio function readouts. This simple, efficient design makes it easier and quicker to read when driving.
A new "poke-through" center console design replaces the traditional "brick" design for the radio and climate control. The center panel houses the controls for the audio and climate control as well as a standard auxiliary audio input jack and two power points. In vehicles equipped with the available Sync option, a USB 2.0 port is located on the center stack near the power points.
The 2008 Focus offers a larger center console as well as added space in front of the console shifter for extra storage. Newly designed door trim features larger bins and cup holders in the doors plus three more in the console. New seats have improved contours and offer more lateral and lumbar support. A new cloth pattern is available for 2008 while the leather trimmed seats feature contrast stitching for an added touch of craftsmanship.
The Focus interior is even more distinctive at night thanks to a new approach to lighting that builds on recent Ford advances like the white LED instruments on the 2003 Lincoln Navigator and the configurable "My Color" instrument display on the Mustang.
In the Focus, the instruments and switches are lit in a new color called "Ice Blue." Customers can also order an ambient lighting package that places tiny LEDs inside the front and rear cupholders and footwells. The LEDs can highlight the cabin in any of seven different colors (red, orange, blue, indigo, violet, green and yellow) and are controlled by a simple dash-mounted switch.
Sync connects your life to your drive
The 2008 Ford Focus will be one of the first Ford Motor Company vehicles to feature Ford Sync™, a cutting-edge way to use cell phones and portable music players inside a vehicle. Developed in association with Microsoft, Sync offers a new level of in-car communications and entertainment convenience. Sync lets users easily control and personalize their electronic devices in their vehicle.
Incorporating Bluetooth wireless connection technology as its foundation, Sync can wirelessly connect up to six different cellular phones to the vehicle, a process called pairing. Once the phone is paired with the system, the user’s personal features (such as phone book and ring tones) are automatically downloaded to the car. A microphone inside the cabin allows users to use their phone hands free while operating their vehicle.
Sync’s voice recognition software (which recognizes English, Spanish and French) allows users to place a call by simply tapping a button on the steering wheel and saying a command. Users can also dial numbers by calling out digits.
When a call comes in, the user can answer or decline the call using verbal commands. If the user’s phone is configured for unique caller ring tones, that specific caller’s ring tone will be played through the vehicle’s audio system. Sync also offers call waiting, caller ID and three-way calling, along with three unique ring tones as part of the system.
Sync offers a unique industry-leading text-to-speech function that will translate text messages to speech and read them over the vehicle’s audio system. Sync will translate abbreviation like "LOL" into "Laughing Out Loud," and it offers 20 pre-determined responses that can be customized via web downloads.
Sync is also the only automotive application that offers full hands-free, voice-activated command and control over portable music players and storage devices. Sync’s advanced voice command capability means consumers can access the song, artist, genre, album, playlist, etc., through voice commands. The selections will also be shown on the vehicle’s audio display, as Sync allows complete command and control via dashboard or steering wheel controls. This means Sync acts as an extension of the music player, effectively melding the player’s functionality into the vehicle.
Sync hosts nearly all portable music players including Apple iPod®, all MP3 players with "Plays for Sure" technology, and Microsoft’s new music player, Zune™. Sync also accepts music saved on flash memory sticks inserted into USB port. Located on the dashboard near the power outlets, the USB 2.0 port simultaneously charges the player as the music is being played over the vehicle’s audio system. All music played through Sync is high-resolution digital quality.
Revised suspension settings further refine the driving experience
Since its North American introduction in 1999, Focus has been hailed for being an affordable car that handles and drives like a car more than twice its price. For 2008, the Focus’s curb weight is down by 60 pounds, even though the body structure is stiffer. This allowed the suspension engineers to sharpen the car’s steering and handling while improving ride quality at the same time.
Engineers reworked and improved the strength of the roof structure, the package tray, the connections between the rear floor and the underbody and the door systems. A stiffened cross-car beam under the instrument panel connects the car side-to-side and provides better lateral stiffness.
The basic suspension features an independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and an independent multilink design in back. The spring rates, shock absorbers, stabilizer bars, and jounce bumpers have all been re-tuned for 2008.
The new exterior design doesn’t just look good, it provides improved functionality as well. Improved airflow over the vehicle reduces the coefficient of drag (CD) for an eleven percent reduction in wind noise.
Closed-cell foam for the dash panel seal, as opposed to open-cell foam material, also helps reduce wind noise. Fluffy cotton-like sound-deadening material has been added to the door trim panels, C-pillars and the flat shelf behind the rear seats to reduce cabin noise, and the sealing around the side mirrors is redesigned to reduce noise entering the passenger cabin. The front air dam is stiffened and produces less noise.
Climate Control System is lighter, quieter and more efficient
The 2008 Focus has an all-new climate control system that is more efficient with improved cooling and heating performance. Switching to electronic actuators for the floor, panel, defrost and temperature controls improve Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) performance. This completely redesigned HVAC system results in a climate control system that is quieter, lighter in weight and more effective in cooling and heating the cabin.
Standard safety features offer peace of mind
Ford’s Personal Safety System is a comprehensive collection of passive safety features for the front passengers. The system includes dual-deployment front air bags, energy absorbing safety belts, load limiting retractors and pretensioners, all which will help to create one of the safest cabins in its segment.