First Drive International I Ford Focus

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8-inch central touchscreen standard on highend US models, but global rollout expected in time.

Base models get the Fiesta-like mobile phone interface instead (see opposite)

aspect on the previous car - are of a more crafted feel. The leather's neatly stitched, there's real chrome coatings rather than spray paint for things like the door handles, and the plastics are slightly plusher than before. Ford has opted for a higher tech look than VW/Audi Group's slick austerity, at least on top spec cars; the cheaper manual we drove later featured a button fest similar to the Fiesta's cellphone-like console. Steering wheels have two five-way controllers and more satellite controls than a French car, sadly leaving no room for gear shift paddles. Titanium spec adds MyFord Touch - an audio/media, phone, climate and navigation control set that offers a triple-layered input by voice, high resolution colour touchscreen and button input, developed in conjunction with partners Microsoft and Sony - all swathed in piano black plastic. Of course it failed to recognise my non-American English, so a call to change 'temperature' resulted in the radio switching to Tampa Weather. Mortifyingly boring, when there are no hurricanes about. If MyFord Touch makes it onto SA Fords, it will 110 doubt be tuned for our eleven official languages. Heaven help the programmers.

What doesn't need tuning is the steering on the new Focus. Not perfect, but definitely one

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