Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Ford Focus PART I

The Ford Focus has long been a favourite in the UK, with its decent price, reliability and safety record all contributing to the hatchback's massive success. With the New Ford Focus, the car has undergone a major revolution in terms of the sheer amount of technology that's been put into it. To put it another way, the kind of tech you can get on this car is similar to, or even better than, that on many luxury cars.

 The good news is that these options don't cost a fortune and we'd even consider essentials on a new car. In this review we're taking a look at all of the new technology and option packs in the Ford Focus. To see how the car drives and feels read the Ford Focus review on our sister site, CarBuyer.

Driver Assistance Pack

The Driver Assistance Pack is an optional extra that costs just £750 on the Titanium and Titanium X models. It's designed to make driving safer, providing the driver with more information and safety aids that can help prevent accidents, or at least reduce the damage involved. It's comprised of several different systems.

Traffic sign recognition

A front-mounted camera is used to constantly scan the road ahead, looking for traffic signs. The system currently recognises both speed and overtaking signs, and displays both prominently on the dash.

The speed limit sign recognition is particularly useful, as we've lost track of the number of times that we've been driving only to realise that we had no idea what the current limit was. It's particularly useful when you're driving to an unfamiliar location, as you can focus on driving, while the car scans the roadside for important information to keep you safe and your license free of penalty points.
We found the system was very responsive, with updates appearing on the dash the instant that we'd passed a sign. It was only occasionally that the system confused signs on side roads for changes in the speed limit on the road we were driving on, but this was rare. Driving round an unfamiliar town in Scotland, the system meant we were always aware of the speed limit even when we hadn't seen the speed limit signs themselves.

 The notifications appear large on the dashboard screen, but they can be shown in the top right corner should you want to look at another part of the trip computer. In order for you to notice new signs appear, the symbols appear in colour then slowly fade to grey, so when the speed limit changes it’s immediately obvious.

Low Speed Safety System

One of the stand-out safety features of the Driver Assistance Pack is the Low Speed Safety System, which is known as Active City Stop in the US. This is designed to automatically step in to prevent low-speed collisions that can occur with urban driving.

To start with it pre-charges the brakes, to shorten the stopping distance should you need to hit the brakes quickly. However, it is how it deals with the threats you don't see that's really impressive. A forward-facing infra-red laser beam mounted next to the camera in front of the rear-view mirror scans the distance to an approaching reflective object. If the car senses that you're getting too close and will have an accident, it hits the brakes for you.

Ford claims that at speeds less than 10MPH, it will completely stop the car with no driver intervention. At speeds between 10MPH and 20MPH, it will slow the car down and reduce the amount of damage done. It does not operate at speeds above 20MPH because of the working distance on the sensor.
Testing it out by driving towards a set of bollards was a strange feeling, but we were incredibly happy when the car pulled sharply to a stop before we collided with it. It should mean that you're immune to accidentally running into the back of a car when you're stuck in slow traffic commuting through a busy city

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