A closer look at the 2011 Ford Focus

2011 Ford Focus

It’s now a couple of weeks since Ford presented the 2011 Focus at the Detroit Auto Show. With the dust settled, let’s take a closer look at the funky sheet metal carving a new direction for Ford. They call it “kinetic design” and there’s a real hint of Chris Bangle flame surface going on. Not that this is entirely new, as the current Fiesta is also cut from the same cloth.

Look closely at the pic above and the way the rear light cluster extends towards the front of the car. At first glance it looks okay, but picture it on a silver or light coloured car. Is that forward extension going to look just a bit too much?

The fuel cap slotting in underneath is also an interesting solution. Again, at first glance it’s a nice way to tuck the lid away. But would a more conventional round lid, as shown on the Focus sedan, have been a better result? Is “kinetic design” trying a bit too hard?

In the last image below, which shows the sedan version from the rear three-quarter angle you get a great look at the creases extending over the wheel arches and the shoulder line along the doors. In theory, the way they run past each other simply shouldn’t work. Maybe it’s the choice of the silver paint and the studio lighting, but there’s something pleasing about the craziness going on there.

The new Focus and the “ONE Ford” global car platform strategy holds great hope for the US carmaker. Despite some reservations I think thew new Focus is a good step forward (on the outside at least). But will this bold new direction pay the required dividends?

News Renault

Renault Clio III enters phase 2

Renault Clio III Phase 2 GT

Renault have just revealed images of the updated Renault Clio III. The Phase 2 update, including the all new GT model in these pics, will be revealed in full at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show next month.

The first iteration of the Clio III was a much greater design success than the previous model, which was a bit of a mish mash it has to be said. Looking at these new pics of the updated Clio III, it seems as though Renault is returning to that mish mash look, with the squared off grille being at odds with the rest of the car.

Oddly, even though images of the Phase 2 update have been revealed in GT model form, there is nothing else available at this stage confirming  engine or performance specs. For there is one thing certain, it doesn’t matter what the Clio looks like, it is a damn fun car to drive.

The other notable feature with the upgrade s the Carminat TomTom GPS navigation system. The fully integrated screen will cost less than £500 (AU$1100) and promises to be easy to update.

Although, judging by the lateness with which the first Clio III arrived in Australia, and then only in Renaultsport guise, it is unlikely we’ll be seeing this Phase 2 Clio III in Australia any time soon.

More pics and press material after the jump.