Ford Focus 2011
We take Ford's new C-class for a quick spin
Sensors and sensor-ability
Beyond engine design, the new Focus keeps CO2 emissions down by automatically stopping and starting the engine in appropriate moments, and by closing off the front air intakes when it can, reducing drag.
Active Park Assist uses sensors built into the lower rear and corners of the body. The new Focus' other tech works off of a couple of forward facing cameras and a laser mounted inside the cabin in front of the rearview mirror.
It's these that track the relative speed of the car in front - the basis for the low-speed safety system, braking automatically if you come up too close - and which monitor lane markings to nudge you back if you drift over the line. Do it on a bend and you'll just get a vibration warning. Edge over on a straight and the new Focus will turn the wheel to get you back.
If it thinks you're not holding the wheel - you don't resist its self-applied torque or increase it - you'll get a loud audio warning to tick you off. Ditto if the drowsy driver detector's early warnings have been ignored.
It's a little more forgiving if you ignore its speed reminders, the result of its ability to spot speed signs and present them on the dashboard display.
The blind-spot monitor uses the exterior sensors to trigger a warning light in the appropriate wing mirror if a vehicle is in the blind spot and you start to move out. Handy this, since the narrow, tinted rear passenger windows are not conducive to clear over-the-shoulder glances.
Again, all this is optional, part of the £750 Driver Assistance Pack you can add to the Titanium and Titanium X models.
Reg Hardware will be giving the Focus' tech a full write-up when we review the new car shortly. ®