Intent on convincing Americans that good things really do come in small automotive packages, Ford presented its new generation of Focus in Detroit. Built on its global C-car platform and available in sedan and five-door hatchback, the 2012 Focus promises to combine exceptional features and technology with superior fuel economy and an outstanding driving experience that belies its compact size.

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The first truly global product to be created under its new "One Ford" approach, the Focus also is the first to fully embody the automaker's worldwide brand DNA, a commodity Ford hopes will give its offerings unique and universal visual and dynamic qualities. Over 80 percent of the components it uses will be common to models in all markets.

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Reflecting the latest iteration of Ford's "kinetic" exterior design language, the new Focus has a clean, contemporary appearance that's particularly distinctive in the five-door variant. Inside, the well-proportioned five-passenger cabin embodies a premium look bolstered by an abundance of soft-touch surfaces, user-friendly control layouts and what Ford says will be an exceptional degree of noise isolation. Also in the feature mix are the new generation MyFord/MyFord Touch driver-connect technologies coupled with the latest SYNC system to ensure easy access to maximum information of all types with minimum distraction. A rear-view camera and Ford's semi-automatic parallel parking system will be available as options.

While Euro-spec models will offer a 1.6-liter EcoBoost four, motivation for the U.S Focus will be a new naturally aspirated 2.0-liter direct-injected alternative fitted with Ford's Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) setup. Developing around 155 horsepower -- 15 more than today's 2.0 -- it also will be about 10 percent more fuel efficient. As an alternative to a standard manual transmission, the 2012 Focus will offer Ford's new six-speed dual-clutch PowerShift automatic. Lighter and more efficient than a conventional counterpart, it helps reduce fuel consumption by up to nine percent compared to a four-speed automatic and incorporates Hill Start Assist circuitry.

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Ford engineers made handling another Focus priority. It starts with a much stronger unit body that's made with 55 percent high-strength steel and has 25-percent greater torsional rigidity than the existing U.S. car. Coupled with a significantly upgraded suspension design, efficiency-enhancing electric power-assist steering and a new Dynamic Cornering Control system that uses torque vectoring to help reduce understeer, it should endow this new Ford with impressive corner-carving skills as well as good ride comfort. The 2012 Focus will hit showrooms in Europe and the U.S. early next year, with launches in Asia, Africa and South America to follow. While pricing will likely start a bit higher than the current model, Ford promises that it will remain a high-value proposition in all trim levels.

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