2016 Ford Focus Sport+ Review
Ford is one of the car companies that we like covering because they appeal to the techie in us. They’ve long pushed to include their Sync technology into almost every single vehicle that they sell, and they’ve actively looked for ways to further use technology to make it easier for non-car people to truly enjoy their rides.
To say that the 2016 Focus Sport+ is a high-tech ride is stating the obvious. Aside from the easy to use Sync technology in the car, it’s also one of the few vehicles that’s available in the Philippines that can almost park itself, making it easier for parallel-parking challenged peeps to squeeze into a spot like a boss.
Design: European and Aggressive
Let’s start with the exterior: the 2016 version of the Focus has been updated from the previous model year. The most obvious change is the front end, which features a trapezoidal front grill, along with tapered headlights and the all-important LED daytime running lights. The front bumper has also been given a facelift, and now sports elongated fog lights. The new front end of the car looks very European and aggressive, which is similar to the design language of the new Fiesta.
The side and the back has also been tweaked – for the former, new, bulging wheel arches have been added that hides Goodyear Super Eagle F1 tires. The tail lights are also a tad smaller, and the tailgate now gets its own spoiler. The rear bumper also gets an integrated diffuser. All-in-all the 2016 Focus Sport+ looks sporty while still being able to ferry five adults in relative style.
Interior: Lush, Comfy, and Techie
Open the doors and you’ll see the lush cabin and comfortable seats for both the front passenger and the driver. Once you climb in, you’ll be able to tweak the driver’s seat via electronic adjusters. The driver’s seat is soft and very comfortable. The dashboard gives you a ton of information aside from the normal speed and tach readings. The steering wheel is a little busy, but everything is easily within reach.
Just like their other vehicles the 2016 Focus Sport+ is equipped with their Sync 2.0 infotainment system, which allows you to control your phone via your voice. The large 8-inch touchscreen is easy to navigate and use. There’s also a CD/DVD player on tap as well as a SD card slot and an Aux connector, though those things aren’t really going to get much use in today’s streaming world. Once you pair your phone and inevitably start streaming your tunes via Spotify, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the 9-speaker audio system that’s in the cabin.
Power locks and windows are standard on the 2016 Focus Sport+, and the dual-zone climate control can easily bring the temperature down to chilly levels in a few short minutes even after the car has been baking all day in the noon sun.
Probably the most intriguing part of the 2016 Focus Sport+ is its park assist mode and Active City Stop. The former helps newbie drivers park in either parallel or perpendicular spaces easily, while the former automatically stops the vehicle when it detects that you’re about to slam into another car in low speed (basically traffic).
Park Assist: Car Takes Care of Parking for You
So let’s tackle parking assist first. The button is is located on the right side of the shifter and pressing it once will turn on the parallel parking mode. Pressing it twice turns on perpendicular parking. No matter which mode you choose, the car will instruct you to drive slowly forward as it scans a suitable parking space. Once it’s found one, it’ll instruct you to drive forwards and backwards while it controls the steering. Basically the car takes care of the tricky steering wheel movement while the driver controls the throttle.
Obviously the system isn’t perfect. It’s only able to find parking spaces on the right side, meaning you’re stuck on one side of in multi-story car-parks that have a single direction of travel, like the Parkades in Bonifacio Global City. The sensors embedded in the car that makes everything possible also have trouble sensing overhangs on some SUVs and lifted trucks, making fully automated parking problematic. Bottom line is it’s a nice feature to have (it’s hilarious looking at people’s horrified faces when your window is down and the car is manuevering into a tight space) but you’ll still have to know how to park properly when the system is unable to find a suitable space for you.
Active City Stop is essentially another layer of protection for the car while traversing the metro’s perennially traffic clogged streets. Cameras on the front help the car detect if the vehicle is moving dangerously close to another vehicle and will automatically apply the brakes before a collision. Active City Stop only engages in low speeds (around 20 KPH or so) which is right around the normal traffic flow in Metro Manila most of the time.
We found out the hard way how jarring it is when it engages when another vehicle aggressively cut in front of us while traversing C5. The system kicked in hard, surprising us enough to be thrown forward as we were accelerating, but then again that’s preferable to a collision, we suppose. You can turn off Active City Stop at any time if you wish.
Powering the the 2016 Focus Hatchback Sport+ is a 1.5L GTDI EcoBoost inline four engine, which replaces the 1.6 and 2.0 liter engines offered in previous model years. That engine produces 180 PS at 6,000 RPM and 240Nm of torque. That engine has been paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Despite having a smaller engine than most mid-sized sedans, the 2016 Focus Hatchback Sport+ has plenty of power when you need it. Floor the gas and the Focus responds by accelerating quickly, leaving most cars behind in the brief stretches of highways in Manila that allows you to stretch its legs. Find a nice set of twisting roads, and you’ll see just how well the car’s multi-link suspension performs. That, combined with the excellent Goodyear Super Eagle F1 tires plus the torque vectoring system (that allows the differential to vary power between the wheels) made the car incredibly quick and nimble through turns.
It’s not all good though. The shift pedals on the side of the steering wheel, for example, took a while before it downshifts or upshifts. The electronically assisted steering wheel, while good, lacked that good ol’ tactile feedback that you get from older cars, leaving the driving experience a little sterile and mechanical. And despite the small engine, the 2016 Focus Hatchback Sport+ is a thirsty little thing – we managed around 5.8 km/l in city driving, definitely not the best mileage especially considering the engine. Highway driving fared a little better, coming in at 15 km/l.
Priced at Php 1,278,000 in the Philippines, the 2016 Ford Focus Hatchback Sport+ is a little more expensive compared to its contemporaries, but then again it has a wider range of tech built into it that makes driving a little more bearable in the traffic hell that we call Manila.