Sime Darby AutoConnexion has officially introduced the facelifted third-generation Ford Focus in Malaysia – the reworked C346 arrives seven months after its ASEAN debut in Jakarta, with three variant forms in both five-door hatchback and sedan body-styles available in this market. All are powered by a turbocharged 1.5 litre EcoBoost engine, which replaces the 2.0 litre normally-aspirated Duratec unit seen previously.
Aside from the new mill, plenty in the way of revisions and improvements over the original Mk3, which was launched in Malaysia in September 2012. We’ve covered the changes brought about by the mid-cycle rework – which was revealed in February 2014 ahead of its working debut in Geneva – in great detail through our Australian test drive report on the car, but a recap, starting with the exterior.
There’s a new face, which is far better resolved than that on the previous outing. The facelift gets new, slimmer headlamps, a revised bonnet and a new bumper. Here, the split front grille has been ditched in favour of a one-piece frontage with a trapezoidal honeycomb grille, reminiscent of the pre-facelift Focus ST, albeit much tauter-looking. Also on, new rectangular fog lamps, replacing the pre-facelift’s round units.
At the back, the car gets new tail lamps with a slimmer profile, a redesigned tailgate (which drops the central plastic rib panel seen before) and a reprofiled rear bumper, which features larger rear fog lamp/reflector assemblies.
The interior has also undergone a rework, with the presentation now less busy that before, especially with regards to the audio switchgear and central stack. Changes include the handbrake being relocated off the front half of the centre console and placed further back. The console itself now has a narrower profile and more uniform look compared to the pre-facelift.
Elsewhere, the audio system ditches the button-fest and now has only minimal function switches, and the AC system controls have also been redesigned. The 12V socket is now placed forward of the gearshift, and the dual cupholders are now positioned in a fore-aft layout, though the central storage box holds less than before. A redesigned glovebox design (one piece, as opposed to the latch and horizontal stowage area before) and a new three-spoke steering wheel round off the primary changes.
The three available variants in Malaysia are the entry-level Trend and Sport+ hatchbacks as well as a Titanium+ sedan – the latter two trim designations have been seen before, but the previous non-plus Sport/Titanium versions have been dropped as Ford attempts to adopt a more unified approach to having a common naming convention for the car across the APA region.
There are differences in specifications, of course, so let’s take a closer look at them. The Malaysian Trend model is closer to the Indonesian version of the type than the Australian Trend. Like the model sold in the republic, the local Trend rides on 17-inch wheels and 215/50 profile tyres and comes equipped with the original SYNC and a 3.5-inch dot matrix monochrome central display (Indonesia, 4.2-inch TFT display), complete with a six-speaker Ford Audio system.
The specs list for this one is rather basic, despite the series denoting a mid-line trim level – the Trend gets manual air-conditioning, fabric seats, non auto-folding side view mirrors, a polyurethane three-spoke steering wheel and two airbags (the latter, same as Indonesia), among other things.
Elsewhere, the Trend makes do without door sill scuff plates and even rear overhead grab handles. There’s no roller shutter for the front cupholders, the driver’s seat is a basic manual four-way adjustment unit, and it also doesn’t come with illuminated sun visors or an overhead sunglasses holder.
Like the other Trend models found in other markets, no keyless entry on this one – it’s equipped with a keyed ignition, and bulbed pilot lamps make do as daytime running lights. It sounds rather bare-boned, but doesn’t look it in the metal, as a quick walk-around the variant during the launch earlier today showed.
Standard equipment across the local Focus range include a bodystyling kit and complex surface reflector halogen headlamps (no bi-xenons present in the new Focus line-up, or projectors for that matter, as is the case elsewhere with Australian and other ASEAN region models). An active grille shutter, ABS, dynamic stability control (DSC), Hill Launch Assist and Isofix mounting points (on both outer rear seats) are also standard fit.
The ‘plus’ models, as you’d expect, are more comprehensively equipped – aside from adding virtually all the omitted items above, the models have headlamps shod with integrated LED DRLs (half strip, sitting on the upper part of the headlamp assembly). The cars are also equipped with a SYNC 2 infotainment system and corresponding eight-inch touchscreen, though navigation is unavailable on the Malaysian cars.
Other items on the list are a nine-speaker Sony audio system, keyless entry with push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter, auto headlights and wipers, dual-zone auto air-con, ambient lighting and leather upholstery for both the Sport+ (Australia, fabric) and Titanium+, with a Charcoal Black interior on the former and a beige-coloured one – known as Medium Light Stone – on the latter.
Some minor differences between the hatch and sedan – the Sport+ gets manual four-way sports seats with lumbar adjustment as well as rear LED tail lamps, while the Titanium+ has a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat (front passenger seat is manual two-way, all variants) and is configured with a smaller wheel size, riding on 16-inch alloys and 205/60 profile rubbers (Australia, 18-inch five-spoke alloys and 235/40 rubbers).
Both Series 15 and Series 40 versions are kitted out with four extra airbags (side, curtain, to make it six) and a host of driver assist tech – there’s Enhanced Active City Stop, the ‘enhanced’ prefix denoting that the collision avoidance system now operates at speeds of up to 50 km/h, up from the 30 km/h in the outgoing car.
Also on, Blind Spot Information and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Active Park Assist now gets an Enhanced prefix as it adds on reverse perpendicular parking to the existing parallel parking as well as Park-Out Assist, which helps drivers exit a parallel parking space.
The two models also feature MyKey technology, enabling owners – or parents – to programme a key for younger drivers, tailoring it to restrict the top speed, reduce the maximum volume of the audio system or disable the vehicle altogether if occupants are not using safety belts.
Next, we finally get to the car’s drivetrain and powertrain, both of which are new to the Focus – as mentioned earlier, the 2.0 litre Duratec 20 normally-aspirated Ti-VCT GDI engine has been replaced in markets across the entire APA region by a blown Sigma-derived mill, the EcoBoost 15, first seen here in the 2015 Kuga.
The Romanian-assembled 1.5 litre GTDI four-pot, essentially a variation of the Welsh-built 1.6 litre EcoBoost, trumps the 2.0 NA in terms of output, with 180 PS at 6,000 rpm and 240 Nm at 1,600 to 5,000 rpm compared to the old unit’s 170 hp at 6.500 rpm and 202 Nm at 4,550 rpm.
As for the transmission, the Getrag 6DCT250 dry-clutch six-speeder has been replaced by a torque converter automatic, in this case the SelectShift 6F35. Designed in collaboration with GM more than a decade ago, the six-speed unit can also be seen in its mid-range application on the C520 Kuga, CD539E S-Max and the facelifted CD391 Mondeo sedan.
Interestingly, in the case of the Sport+ and Titanium+, the gearshift is also new, with the toy-ish gearknob manual override SelectShift buttons nowhere to be found – the reason for this is the inclusion of steering-mounted paddle shifters on the two models. The Trend, however, continues on with the gearknob shift buttons.
A total of six exterior colours are available for the Focus in Malaysia, with Frozen White the only common choice across the model range. Panther Black and Candy Red are available only for the two hatchbacks, while Winning Blue can only be had with the Sport+. The sedan, meanwhile, gets two colours that are unique to it – Ingot Silver and Magnetic.
Finally, pricing. The Ford Focus 1.5L EcoBoost is priced at RM118,888 for the Trend, while the Sport+ and the Titanium+ sedan are priced at RM139,888, on-the-road without insurance – until April 30, SDAC is offering a cash rebate of RM3,000 on the car, but the offer is only valid for existing and current Ford owners who purchase the new Focus. The C346 Focus facelift comes with a five-year/200,000 km (whichever comes first) warranty as well as a three-year/60,000 km Ford Extended Service Plan (ESP) programme.