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 Home » Ford Focus News » Ford Drops Top on European Focus CC




Ford Drops Top on European Focus CC

03/22/2006

Ford Focus
Slinky New Ford Focus Coupe-Convertible Not for North America

Rub your eyes, pinch your arms, but most importantly, believe what youre seeing: there is indeed a blue oval on the grille of this rather attractive convertible. While Ford of North America is busy launching the new Edge crossover and the latest generation of Tyrannosaurus Rex-sized SUVs (Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator), Europe is getting something smaller, cooler, and better at maximizing your exposure to the summer sky. This is the latest version of the European-model Focus, called the Coupe-Cabriolet, and it is the worlds first Focus Coupe and the worlds first Focus Convertible, all at the same time.

The Focus Coupe-Convertible is just one of the many new folding hardtop cars that have entered the market in recent times. In Europe, itll go toe-to-toe with Volkswagens new EOS, and two of Frances finest, the Peugeot 307 and the Renault M├ęgane C+C. For a North American comparison, its slightly smaller than the new Pontiac G6 Convertible, which also features a folding hardtop roof. Ford may be a bit late to the hardtop convertible game, but thats a mere speck in the eye, compared to our North American Focus, which is a mildly warmed over version of the first generation car that dates back to 1998.

Technically speaking, the European Focus convertible is related to the Volvo C70 in many ways. The two cars ride on the same platform, the C1 architecture, which also underpins the Mazda3 and 5, not to mention a variety of other Volvo and European-market Ford products. Both cars have electro-mechanical power steering, extra-sturdy underpinnings, although the Focus is unique in that it has the trademarked control-blade rear suspension for extra nimble handling. But really, thats where the similarities stop, and the differences start.

But the two cars are not equal; they were designed as two very different vehicles, and were intended to compete in different market segments. As you may have guessed, the Volvo is the car used to target the upmarket segment, whereas the Ford aims for the everyday person whos willing to spend less money for an equivalent, but less advanced product. For starters, the new Focus C-Cs roof is less complex; it has two pieces instead of the Volvos three-piece roof, a design thats more costly to make and fit. The tradeoff for the Fords cost savings comes in other areas, namely looks and interior space. Because the roof folds in half, instead of in thirds, the roof panels are long, meaning that it must be stowed away in a longer bay. This explains why the Focus C-C has a bottom and a rear overhang the size of South Africa, whereas the C70 does not.

Having a big tail does have its ups, particularly in trunk space. When the roof is upright in coupe-mode, theres 17.7 cu-ft of cargo space available. Thats almost 1.8 cu-ft more than Fords midsize Fusion sedan! The down side is that in order to span the length of the cabin with a two-piece roof, the section holding the rear window has a steep angle, drastically reducing rear-seat headroom. Ford claims that the Focus C-C is a proper four-seater convertible, but like all cars in this category, legroom is bound to be tight.

With regards to the exterior styling, compared to the North American model around the nose, its details and profile are softer, yet, the car maintains the original, distinctive look. The rear end, on the other hand, is unlike anything weve ever seen -- Focus, or otherwise. The taillights are wide, wrap-around units that blend into the rear-hinged decklid; the whole of which was carried over from last years Focus Ghia Vignale Concept. Its a bit odd to see this kind of styling on a compact car, as its quite a delicate touch that contrasts against the heavily flared wheel arches and beefy stance. While its best angle is debatable, the car looks best when the roofs down. Im not 100 percent sure on the trademark colour scheme of the Focus C-C; the Luna exterior on Camel leather interior gives it the look of a caramel macchiato on wheels.

If going fast is a priority, unfortunately, the Focus C-C wont be right for you; the 200-hp VW EOS 2.0T, or the even faster 220-hp Volvo C70 T5 are much more efficient hair-do spoiling tools. Interestingly, the engine featured in the top of the line C70 T5 is available in the hot European Focus ST220 hatchback. The engine range in the Ford is limited to just three engines that include a 100-horsepower 1.6-liter inline-four, a 2.0-liter inline-four with 145 horses, and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that makes 136 horsepower. These somewhat small powerplants are further hindered by 441 lbs of hardtop roofing, electrical motors, wiring, and extra chassis bracing in place. As far as the Focus goes, its better to just drop the top and take it easy.

To make matters confusing, Pininfarina builds both the Focus and the C70. Yes, the company in charge of assembling bodies for Ferrari played a big role in engineering, developing and assembling both cars. Its worth noting that the C70 is 100 percent Swedish; its assembled from start to finish in the new Pininfarina-Volvo assembly plant in Uddevalla, Sweden. The Focus, on the other hand, is built in Pininfarinas home-base factory in Turin, Italy, with core parts flown in from the European Focus main assembly plant in Germany. The Focus C-C takes over the production space left over by the soon to be finished Ford StreetKa.

Alas, despite its clever roof, relaxing styling, and high-quality look, the Ford Focus Coupe-Convertible will not be sold in North America. Its a shame too, because the market could certainly do with a four-season convertible as laid back as this.

C70. Yes, the company in charge of assembling bodies for Ferrari played a big role in engineering, developing and assembling both cars. Its worth noting that the C70 is 100 percent Swedish; its assembled from start to finish in the new Pininfarina-Volvo assembly plant in Uddevalla, Sweden. The Focus, on the other hand, is built in Pininfarinas home-base factory in Turin, Italy, with core parts flown in from the European Focus main assembly plant in Germany. The Focus C-C takes over the production space left over by the soon to be finished Ford StreetKa.

Alas, despite its clever roof, relaxing styling, and high-quality look, the Ford Focus Coupe-Convertible will not be sold in North America. Its a shame too, because the market could certainly do with a four-season convertible as laid back as this.

Automobile.com









Ford Drops Top on European Focus CC
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