Ford Focus 20 years

The history of the Ford Focus in pictures

2002 Ford Focus Mk1 Facelift

Ford Focus 20 years

Proof of how successful the styling of the Mk1 Focus had been, the enhanced version launched in 2002 underwent only the mildest of facelifts. The main change was to headlights with integrated indicators instead of the previous bumper-mounted ones, and tweaks to the grille design. Climate control and sat nav became options, while a new TDCi diesel engine also joined the range.

2002 Ford Focus ST170

Ford Focus 20 years

Despite a strong history of performance Escorts, Ford made buyers wait until 2002 for a fast Focus. The ST170 was developed with collaboration between both Ford’s Special Vehicles Europe and American Special Vehicles Team, using a 170hp version of the 2.0-litre Zetec petrol engine.

17-inch alloy wheels, bigger brakes, and subtle styling modifications were all part of the package. Sold as the Focus SVT in the USA, European buyers were also offered a rare estate version of the ST170.

2002 Ford Focus RS Mk1

Ford Focus 20 years

After years of speculation, Ford finally announced a Focus RS as a limited production model. Of greatest concern to enthusiasts was that, unlike the Escort Cosworth, the Focus RS would be front-wheel drive only. A Quaife torque-biasing differential was used to channel the 212hp from the turbocharged 2.0-litre, but early road tests criticised the RS for being too unruly.

Offered only in Imperial Blue, unique front and rear bumpers marked out the RS as did the 18-inch OZ Racing alloy wheels. Inside was a riot of Alcantara and blue leather, but this did little to dampen the demand for the fastest Mk1 Focus.

Ford Focus RS WRC Mk1

Ford Focus 20 years

Inspiration for the styling of the Focus RS had come from the car campaigned in the World Rally Championship by Ford. Making a debut in 1999, the Ford World Rally Team had poached Colin McRae from Subaru with a rockstar-esque contract offer.

McRae’s ‘flat-out’ approach resulted in wins, but also costly accidents, with Ford unable to match the dominant force of Marcus Grönholm and the Peugeot 206. Second place finishes in the Manufacturers’ championship would be as good as it got for the Mk1 WRC car.

2003 Ford Focus C-Max

Ford Focus 20 years

Cashing in on the demand for compact MPVs, the first C-Max married the platform destined for the second-generation Focus to a slab-sided practical body. Predicting the more reserved styling direction the Mk2 Focus would take, the C-Max did at least preserve a reputation for being fun to drive. Perfect for inducing travel sickness in the whole family…

2005 Ford Focus Mk2

With the Focus firmly established as a family favourite, plus sales of more than 2 million cars in Europe alone, the second-generation had much to live up to. Styling followed the more conservative look first seen on the C-Max, featuring smoother angles and a trapezoidal front grille design from the contemporary Mondeo. The Mk2 Focus also grew, becoming wider, longer and taller.

2005 Ford Focus Mk2

The high-mounted tail lights did at least remain, while engines were either modified versions of those seen in the first-generation car, or brand-new units. Five petrol motors ranged from 1.4 through to 2.0-litres, while three diesel choices demonstrated the shift in consumer preferences. Fortunately, road testers found that the best in class dynamics had not been ditched for the grown-up Focus.

2005 Ford Focus Mk2 Interior

Ford Focus 20 years

Just as with the outside, the interior of the Mk2 Focus ditched the radical angles of its predecessor and took a more conventional stance. Ford boasted of better build quality, but it was hardly a dashboard to set pulses racing. There were at least practical storage additions, and a bigger boot courtesy of the Mk2’s growth spurt.

2006 Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet

Ford Focus 20 years

Along with the saloon and estate variants of the second-gen Focus, Ford also decided to recreate the heady days of the Escort Cabriolet. Keen to dispense with the ‘white stiletto’ image of the old rag-top Escort, the Focus CC featured a fancy two-piece folding metal roof.

Italian styling house Pininfarina was responsible for the generous booty that would make even Kim Kardashian jealous, but worries about leaking roofs did little to help the glamourous image.

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