News from the alternate dimension...
Next up: Top Gear reviews storage arrays. Mass hysteria etc.
Ford describes the new Focus, being launched to its dealer network today, as being its most technology packed car yet. It's not fibbing, but not every model gets the lot. Active Park Assist, for example, which does reverse parallel parking for you only comes as standard on the Titanium X, one of the four option packs the new …
The alternate reality has spoken and it is already here:
Ford thinks that Ferrari is bespoiling the good trademark of the F150 pickup.
It is a pity recording in courtrooms is not allowed. I want to see the judge trying to hold a straight face while the Ford trademark solicitor is trying to present her case.
It looks huge, easily as big as a mk1 Mondeo. Especially the estate which looks like it could rival a Granada estate for volume!
I sometimes worry that all of this technology, for all their safety (and revenue) intentions, will make the drivers 'turn off'. See the sat nav "ending up in a river / railway track" craze for an example of people blindly relying on technology.
No word on the hydrogen fuel cell powered propulsion Focus?
the previous version of the standard hatchback was big enough to get a wheelchair in the boot. Apparently a boon for sales to Motability customers.
My mate got a 307 not long after it came out. Same size as the 405.
Also, lots of Jalopnik readers are foaming at the mouth over the all-electric focus*, so any news on that, el Reg?
*though mostly to spite GM, that horrid harbinger of communism to the US.
Don't forget the downside of all this "safety" tech. The blind spot indicators, for instance, will simply result in drivers relying on them, rather than checking their blind spots and being generally aware of where other vehicles might be in relation to them. I hope they are as good...
There's nothing to say you "should" be signalling to overtake a cyclist, in fact more often than not you shouldn't. A signal will most likely indicate to other road users that you intend to turn right (major -> minor) and will possible try to pass on the left.
Most of the time, you shouldn't be overtaking a cyclist with a signal. I say this as someone who is about to take his driving test and has asked this question :-) You should only signal if it will benefit someone and will not confuse anyone.
So how do you know if it will confuse someone? It is far better to always signal, it alerts everyone to the fact that you are doing something other than driving in a straight line.
And I suppose you drive in town at night with dipped headlights as well so everyone can see you - pity they cannot see anything else!
As you signed to say you agree to abide by it when you applied for your driving license.
The Highway Code recommends that dipped-beam headlights are used regardless of location whenever light or visibility is poor.
The law simply stipulates only that sidelights must be used at night where the speed limit is 30mph or less, and dipped-beam headlights must be used if the speed limit is greater than 30mph.
An advanced driving instuctor would endorse and advance the Highway Code's recommendation.
Think about it, next time you are on the road at dusk. Look at a car coming towards you with only sidelights (or parking lights, as they may be more accurately known). Then look at a car utilising their dipped-beam headlights. Ask yourself, "which of these vehicles is more immediately visible and recognisable to me?" You will then realise that in the interests of safety it is wise to always use dipped-beam.
In Sweden it is law that dipped-beam headlights must be used at all times whilst the vehicle is in motion. They seem to have the right idea.
To the AC tool who thinks driving with dipped headlights at night in a built up area is wrong, I direct you to rule 115 of the highway code:
"You should also use dipped headlights, or dim-dip if fitted, at night in built-up areas and in dull daytime weather, to ensure that you can be seen"
Sidelights, or parking lights as they are officially called (for a reason), aren't enough to make you visible. Hell, even if it's raining you should have dipped beam on.
I'm amazed you're allowed on the road with such limited knowledge.
"There's nothing to say you "should" be signalling to overtake a cyclist, in fact more often than not you shouldn't."
That seems to be a common misconception, but section 163 of the Highway Code clearly states you should always signal when overtaking *any* vehicle. In the latest version this section is even accompanied by a picture of a driver overtaking a cyclist with the right signal illuminated.
"use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance if necessary into the blind spot area and then start to move out "
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"The new Focus' other tech works off of a couple of forward facing cameras..."
"off of"? Really?
"The new Focus's other tech works using a couple of forward facing cameras..."
Perhaps you're an American. They use 'off of' a lot I've noticed. Doesn't change the fact that it sounds bloody awful.
Sadly no grammar Nazi icon.
The purpose of a driving test is to check that you can drive. If you start to depend on gadgets to control the car & drive properly, it's time to take the bus. Being unable to parallel park is a test failure, and should always be.
I have a current-model Mondeo. Great car, but the gadgets are less than perfect. The parking beepers are over-sensitve, getting to max beep when you're still a foot away from an obstacle, yet they can't detect a high kerb or a drop. The rain-detecting wipers sometimes don't trigger in light rain if the drops haven't hit the sensor, but sometimes trigger when you don't want it, smearing dirt across the screen. The auto headlights come on too soon, and turn off too late.
And, of course, when you get used to them you have to remember that they aren't there when driving a hire car, or your wife's car. Reverse waiting for the beep & /crunch/.
Will this parallel park gadget check for a child behind the car? Or spot a tyre-slashing bottle in the gutter? Or just make drivers so lazy that they pay even less attention to the road around them than they do already?
"ability to spot speed signs and present them on the dashboard display"
"Edge over on a straight and the new Focus will turn the wheel to get you back"
Are you shitting me? I'd have that thing back in the dealer lot in 30 seconds if it did either of those to me. *I* am driving the car, TYVM.
And reviewing cars? Seriously?
I've had that for years! I've got big glass screens in front and to the side of the driver, and through these you get a retina-level resolution, Stereoscopic 3D image of the world outside your car! Just keep your eyes looking through this screen and you can spot speed signs all over the place!
Seriously, though, what's the point of a safety feature that takes the driver's eyes off the road _at the exact moment things are changing_?! Signs don't say "nothing happening here, move along", they say "this is changing, either now or shortly! Pay attention!". So when a sign's at the side of the road your eyes should be looking out for the change- and for other traffic reacting to that change.
I guess it'd almost be of use if it could read street signs (though we've got GPS for wayfinding...) or if it'd translate signs from one language to another (i.e. from a Chinese to English).
PS _IS_ horsepower - it's the one used in Europe and Japan mainly. There are a few different horsepowers (all around the 750 watt area). PS is used to indicate which one it is. It's a percent or two less than a 'British' bhp iirc, so is basically the same unless you're very picky.
As you say though, kW is a better measure as it's an SI unit. Since a watt is a joule/s and a joule is a Newton meter, a watt is a Nm/s - makes my sums easier!
To the people questioning why El Reg is reviewing cars - are you not interested in the huge amount of new technology that this car obviously has if it can do all the things listed in the article?
Nice to see that the honest British horse puts out more work than its German counterpart*.
Presumably the German horse spends four thousandths of its time in Workers' Council meetings, arguing over whether it's still ok to pull the plough if the farmer were allowed to paint it green.
*Although, to be fair, ISTR that yer average horse turns out about three quarters of a Horsepower...
...so you couldn't give the traction control a good whacking. But you mentioned about all this tech and then didn't say much about it apart from the assisted parking.
Sound System, UIs, Sat Navs, GPSs trackings, xPhone integrations, bluetooths, WIFIs, 3Gs, aux ports, data storage, climate control, onboard computer, anti theft tech... can you mod it to run linux? can you hack the guy behind you to go into parking mode if he drives to close? Common reg!!!!
My mother in law has just got the new C-Max as her mobility car and in the first week they were locked out of it twice because there is a problem with the keyfob and the central locking but so far Ford haven't managed to find a fix for it.
It's a very common problem with them.
The electronic handbrake has never worked properly, meaning hill-stars are a precarious affair. They have not managed to solve or mitigate the issue despite several visits and much complaining.
Well, they have got your money now. That is all Ford are really interested in.
I agree with the anti-gadget crowd to a certain extent. Electronic gadgets of this sort can make you rely on them too much to a point where if they break or you have to drive a car without them you're a bit lost.
However if this Focus is anything like the previous model, where the rear and side visibility were atrocious you probably *do* need these gadgets unless you're a proponent of the "Paris" school of motoring (i.e. reverse until you feel a slight bump, etc).
Paris Hilton as driving aids are for dumb blondes
Now on top gear we have the new android laptop, only one man was small enough to take it for a ride on our test track, over to Richard Hammond.
Well this laptop is not the best of rides, when I sit on it even my small frame brakes the screen, I think well go back to what we do best, having fun with cars!!!
GET THE POINT REGISTER?
We don't need to know or care what El Reg thinks of the ford focus.
What we do *need* to know is that El Reg *thinks* of these things and are therefore a bunch of people not too unlike us.
Subtle things like gratuitous posting of the 'Eee PC' girl at any given opportunity, to more the more graphic, like the playmobil.
Good on you El Reg. This is why I keep coming back.
What part of:
"Ford Focus 2011" or "We take Ford's new C-class for a quick spin"
made you think this was going to be anything other than a car review?
Then, given you don't want to read a car review, I am interested to know what malware El Reg punted to your computer to force you to open the link. After which please share what compulsion was used to make you read the article and then to force you to comment on it.
Finally, please can you explain the validity of your assumption that just because *you* don't want to read a review on the new Ford Focus then no-one else would want to read about it either?
So this is where all the kids who doodled cars on their exercise books in school got to.
Amazing tech, but should be used as an extra assistance, not an alternative to human abilities - see recent case of "satnav told me to drive the wrong way and now my kid is dead.
But yeah, crazy stuff!
The cheapest Focus is now several thousand pounds dearer than the cheapest golf. VW or Ford, what'll be worth more in 3yr?
The price of cars at the moment is nuts.
Also why doesn't anyone just make a fuggin car any more.
Take out all the drive assist crap, all the excessively complex electronics (that always break).
That will save me a few thousand quid and make the damn thing last a few years longer (that's a lot more green than another 5mpg) and put the driver back in control of the vehicle.
The Prius does this and it works quite well.
It does it with a rear-facing camera and some fancy image interpretation. It also displays the camera output on the main screen. This is handy 'cos you can prove that it's got it right and also use it for reversing in other situations too (it has a fisheye lens and gives a rather better field of vision than turning yer head round).
The snag here is that Prius drivers all learn very rapidly that it's a damned sight quicker and easier to do it yourself, following the helpful cue lines it draws on the screen for you, relegating the core function to "look what this can do" moments in the pub car park....
I've owned a number of Focus cars of the years and after seing the obvious improvements upto the 04 model have been dissapointed that they basically threw everything they learned and refined out of the window. I held off buyng another for years because I hoped they would refine the new models, but eventually (my old one was ready for the scrap yard) had to go for one (06) plate. Design flaws include
*MAJOR* The AUX connector is in the glovebox, you can't connect a device to it and shut the glovebox, so you can't use it if you have a passenger. The glovebox has a covered hole for a power supply but it's not installed, so no power supply for your ipod, all other power supplies are in inconvenient places.
*MAJOR* No protection strips along doors or bumbers, not ideal for shopping trolly filled car parks.
Electric window controls are horizontal and under the window itself so open the window in any rain and the water gets trapped under the controls, no drain available.
Central console catches knees.
1.6 Engine in 06 model doesn't perform as well as 04 model.
Handbrake on wrong side (you can get used to this)
The power supplies are in the wrong place, the most convenient for a GPS is on the opposite side of the gearstick to the windscreen so you have a cable getting in the way of the gearstick.
I read that VW were invloved in the design, I think they were sabotaging the competition.
To me a 'major' problem would include Toyota's sticky accelerator pedal jamming and causing a crash. If it doesn't devalue your purchase, or risk someone's life, is it really so significant where they've put an input socket, a switch, or a power connector?
If you genuinely believe that all of those are serious it shows just how much cars have improved over the years. I'm old enough to remember the reviews of the Morris Marina and the press promising very brutal reviews unless they fixed the crash-inducing faults before putting it on sale.
"Bah! Anti-lock braking/cruise control/automatic choke/intermittent windscreen wipers/self-cancelling indicators/automatic timing advance/steering wheels/electric starters (pick one depending on decade) are stopping drivers knowing how to drive properly! Mutter, mutter, where's my pipe, etc..."
Don't get me wrong, some automatic stuff I'm not in favour of. Turning headlights on automatically is annoying. Automatic windscreen wipers don't do it for me either. And I'd like to be doing the steering myself, thanks.
But automatic parallel parking OTOH I'd love. Sure I can do it myself. And I could empty a septic tank with a bucket if I had to. But if there's a gadget that'll do a shitty job for me, I'm all in favour. Similarly, anything which gives me information in a way which lets me keep more attention on the road is worth having. Blind-spot warnings in particular are a very good idea on any modern car, bcos you just don't have the visibility. (Sure you can look round. What's happening in front of you when you do...?)
For a tech site, what about discussing the computer security?
I mean really, how long before someone manages to hack open one of these things and wreak havoc with a virus or other random actions, such as flick the hand brake on when making a slight turn at speed along a nice straight section of road. Involuntary hand brake turns that you can blame of Ford, honestly officer!!!
So we'll soon have a new license type with tickboxes about what types of car you can drive, based upon the gizmo's the car has. Like drivers who take the test in an automatic who can only drive automatics.
Speaking of which, I wish I'd bought an automatic when I got my present car. PITA having to drive in slow moving traffic presently.
... the frickin' lasers mentioned up the front.
Bound to be loads of fun <evil grin>
(Seriously though, in the looks dept, this car's a minga. I mean, christ, just take a look at the first focuses and now take a look at this. Lately it seems more and more car revamps are being infected by mingagitis - imprezza's for example... good god, fugly....)
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