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The Evolution of Ford Focus over the Past 20 Years

On the occasion of the brand new Ford Focus 2019, let’s take a moment to review the key milestones in the 20-year history of this model’s production and development. In this article, Autodaily will provide information about the most important versions of the Ford Focus.

Focus is Ford’s most successful model.

Ford introduced the Focus in Europe in 1998, before customers in the land of the flag could officially place orders 2 years. Since then, the Focus has undergone an impressive transformation, from a fuel-efficient, affordable model to a “beast” with 350 HP. The body styles, engines, and performance versions that the Detroit automaker offers to customers have always been surprising.

Before focusing on the differences between the design of the 2019 Focus and its predecessor, let’s take a look back at the history of this compact car.

First-generation Ford Focus (1998)

When the Focus arrived in 1998, it carried a complex and “difficult” mission. It was to replace the Escort as a compact model in Ford’s product lineup. To accomplish this, the Focus had a breakthrough design and several body style options, including a wagon.

Ford Focus WRC (1999-2010)

After its introduction to the public, Ford decided to take the Focus to the race track by participating in the World Rally Championship. In that year’s competition, legendary driver Colin McRae sat behind the wheel.

By 2010, the Focus had won a total of 44 stage wins but had never won the driver’s title in the World Rally Championship. However, in 2006 and 2007, Ford won the manufacturer’s category.

Ford Focus – World’s Best-selling Car (2001-2002)

Right after Ford introduced the Focus in the U.S., the model became the best-selling car worldwide. This is a record that the Focus was unable to regain until 2011 and 2012.

Ford Focus RS (2002)

In 2002, Ford introduced two performance versions of the Focus, the ST170 and RS models, with the RS also known as the Focus SVT in the U.S. market.

Although the ST170 and SVT were not equipped with the powerful 215 HP 2.0-liter turbocharged engine like the RS, both models solidified the Focus brand as an accessible performance vehicle for users.

Second-generation Ford Focus (2004)

The second generation is the time when the Focus for the European and American markets differed in design. In 2004, at the International Paris Motor Show, Ford unveiled the second-generation Focus with improvements in quality, overall design, and performance.

This was also the moment when Ford turned the Focus into a performance brand. However, it wasn’t until 2008 that the second-generation Focus was introduced to the U.S. market.

Ford Focus ST (2005)

In Europe, the Focus ST is equipped with a 5-cylinder 2.5-liter engine capable of producing 225 HP. In the U.S., Ford also brought the Focus ST version to customers here. However, the car sold in the U.S. only had a 4-cylinder engine with a modest 151 HP. These models replaced the discontinued SVT version in 2004.

Facelifted Ford Focus (2007)

In 2007, Ford introduced a facelifted version of the second-generation Focus with various design updates and added features. This was the moment Ford introduced a different second-generation Focus in North America for the 2008 models.

The Focus removed the hatchback and wagon options in this market and only offered a 2-door coupe and a 4-door sedan. The 2008 Focus also introduced customers to the Ford Sync infotainment system.

Ford Focus RS (2009)

Ford confirmed the second-generation Focus RS was coming and in 2009, the company delivered cars to dealerships and customers. Borrowing the 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine developed by Volvo from the ST, the RS upgraded power to 305 HP. The entire engine power was sent to the front axle, where it was equipped with a mechanical limited-slip differential.

Although U.S. customers couldn’t get the RS in 2008, the car created a large following, continuously asking the company to bring the RS to the states.

Ford Focus RS500 (2010)

To celebrate the RS, Ford introduced the RS500 version – a hatchback model with a matte black exterior with a total of 500 units produced. However, the interesting thing about the RS500 is not just its appearance.

Specifically, the Ford RS500 can produce 345 HP and a maximum torque of 488 Nm thanks to the dedication of the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. These numbers made the RS500 one of the most powerful front-wheel-drive cars in recent years.

Third-generation Ford Focus (2010)

In 2010, Ford introduced the third-generation Focus at both the Detroit Auto Show and the Geneva Motor Show. While Europe welcomed the car as a 2011 model, it was a 2012 model for North America.

This also marked the moment when Ford unified the Focus across the markets it appeared in. This generation also introduced customers to the electric version, the Focus Electric, and the EcoBoost 1.0 engine.

Ford Focus ST (2012)

In the same year, Ford introduced the new Focus and launched the Focus ST version, marking the return of this performance model.

In Europe, the ST is available in a 5-door hatchback or wagon style, but in the U.S., only a hatchback version is sold. The model also swapped the 5-cylinder engine for a more powerful EcoBoost 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine capable of producing 252 HP.

Facelifted Ford Focus (2014)

In 2014, Ford updated the Focus with a new front end and various available technologies. This design helped the Focus fit better into the overall design language of the entire Ford lineup.

Ford Focus RS (2015)

In 2015, Ford announced the return of the Focus RS. Finally, after much anticipation, this model arrived in North America. Like the 2012 ST model, the RS replaced the 5-cylinder engine with a 4-cylinder EcoBoost 2.3-liter engine capable of producing 350 HP. However, this time the Focus RS was equipped with an all-wheel drive system.

Fourth-generation Ford Focus (2018)

Ford introduced the fourth-generation Focus in early April. It is expected that this model will be available in the U.S. market in 2019. In Europe, the Focus is available in three body styles: the 5-door hatchback, wagon, and sedan.

The 2019 Ford Focus is built on an entirely new platform with a stretched overall dimension and an expanded interior space. At the same time, the fourth-generation model also comes with a range of technologies.

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The Evolution of Ford Focus over the Past 20 Years


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