There’s a new member of the Management Fleet that’s stuck to the shadows as of late. First unveiled in 1998, the new recruit is already a big name in Europe and America. Indeed, more than 175,000 were sold in the US alone last year.
That’s pretty impressive considering its predecessor was the mighty Ford Escort: rally stage king, touring car legend and Britain’s best-selling car ever. That’s a lot to pack into a 32-year life cycle and a mammoth act to follow.
Still, crankandpiston’s rookie – or its various iterations at least – has pulled some pretty big motorsport punches itself. It took World Rally Champions Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae and Marcus Gronholm among others to multiple series WRC victories, and already tasted success just a few steps into the international touring car arena. Sales for the road-going model were good too, and it wasn’t long before version 2.0 appeared on the scene.
The fact that the updated car was both larger and heavier than its elder brethren meant very little, especially when the sleeker, sportier ST and RS models started falling off the production line.
The 2005 ST, for example, produced 225bhp, enough for a 0-100kph time of 6.4s. The 2009 RS kicked that into touch with 301bhp and 5.8s respectively. America and Europe accordingly sat up and paid attention, usually with their wallets.
We won’t expect figures like that from our newboy. That would be asking a bit much from the 2.0l powerplant after all. Then again, as the Ford Focus proved by succeeding the Escort, any champion can be toppled.
We therefore welcome the all-new 2012 Focus to the crankandpiston flock. Another giant-killer? Only time will tell.