The new Ford Focus welcomes you to life with forced induction.
For 2016, the new Ford Focus has gotten an update to one of the nicer exteriors in the compact category, and more importantly, they’ve ripped its previous powerplant out and plopped an eager 1.5 liter EcoBoost in. The average driver has probably never driven a sedan (or in this case, hatch) with a turbo heart before, so here’s our guide to living with forced induction.We aren’t going to explain how it actually works, but rather how you’ll feel it with your butt in the driver’s seat.
TURBOS AND THE POWER CURVE
Engines don’t make power in a totally linear fashion. Mash the gas—especially for smaller engines with 1.5 liter displacements—and the car will only really start to move when it hits max torque and horsepower; that’s at around 3000 RPM or more. A turbo’s effect is flattening out the power curve with its boost–thus giving you more power whenever you need it.
HOW THIS AFFECTS YOU
Say you need to overtake a slow Sunday driver: you pull out, accelerate, and…wait a bit for the car to catch up to your intentions. With a turbo car, you get more power sooner, and the passing move becomes less sketchy. In general, it’s faster and that’s always good, duh.
WAIT, SO HOW IS IT ECONOMICAL?
Big honking engines, like the 5.0 in a Mustang for example, have flatter power curves because of sheer displacement, but they also carry a gas mileage penalty. Whenever a turbo kicks in, it does use more fuel than a non-blown engine—but since it’s not “on” all the time either, you can still enjoy the frugality of that small displacement motor when not getting on the gas. In this case, the 180 PS and 240 Nm of torque from its 1.5 liter EcoBoost engine make it more powerful than an equivalent naturally-aspirated 2.0.
DID WE MENTION IT CAN PARK ITSELF?
A self-driving car probably couldn’t survive traffic, so Ford’s geeks have given the Focus self-parking capabilities instead. The Enhanced Active Park Assist let’s you not just experience hands-off perpendicular and parallel parking, but also Park-Out Assist–because if its robot brain can get you into a slot, then it sure as hell can get you out of there. “Come with me if you want to live.”