When Ford announced earlier this year that it would be discontinuing its line of sedans by 2020, two exceptions were made: the sporty, legendary Mustang, and the Ford Focus Active.
Amidst the general uproar that followed the announcement, most of the energy was spent discussing what it meant that one of the world’s oldest and largest auto manufacturers had decided to divest from what was, for most of the 20th century, the standard family vehicle. Still, some journalists thought to dive into the particularities of what may well turn out to be the last new Ford car.
Since it first appeared in 1998, the Focus has been one of Ford’s flagship vehicles, a compact sedan perfect for commuters, retirees, young families, and college students alike. Given that Ford’s decision comes at a time when it is actively expanding its crossover SUV offerings, it makes sense that it would retain their compact sedan as an option for drivers who want a small, versatile car.
Efficiency Meets Functionality
If you go down to your local Ford car dealership to browse the vehicles in the showroom, you are likely to notice two general design trends: Ford has made a concerted effort over the past decade to make their vehicles as environmentally friendly and fuel efficient as possible, and it has realized that most customers want a car that can do more than just go from A to B.
Most of the cars in Ford’s current line-up strike a balance between rugged durability, ample storage room, and good fuel mileage. From the initial reports about the Focus Active that have been released, it has been modified to exemplify these same virtues.
The Focus Active is expected to have a turbocharged 1.5-litre three cylinder delivering as much as 180 horsepower, which would make it an attractive option at the pump. And because of its hatchback body design, it will likely offer more storage space and greater versatility than the Focus sedan’s design.
The Age Of The Crossover
Shortly after the Ford announced the plans for the new Ford Active, caranddriver.com described it as a “crossoverized version of the company’s long-serving compact hatchback,” and the use of “crossover” here is a significant one.
For at least the last decade, the notion of the crossover, a vehicle that blends the best qualities of an SUV with those of a car, has been marketing dynamite for brands that want to appeal to drivers who want a vehicle with the durability and hardiness of an SUV but on a smaller, more efficient scale.
The Focus Active’s hatchback features and high profile not only make it a practical alternative to the traditional sedan, they also signal visually that the Focus Active will blur categorical lines.
The 21st century has been a period of massive change in automobile design and in the automobile industry in general, and large auto makers like Ford understand that, in order to be competitive, they need to find new ways of deliver what their customers want. By all accounts, the Focus Active is built to do just that.