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The first-generation Ford Focus that hit the global market in 1998 was an instant hit, with a design that struck a chord with most tastes.

Aside from the edgy design, it went upstream in quality compared to its Escort predecessor. One of its fortes was its fun-to-drive factor that continued in its last two successors, including some of the best suspension damping in the segment. We got to experience the fourth-generation Focus at its international launch and it was clear that those Eurocentric design elements we previously mentioned seem to come together in a more cohesive way than pictures suggest. Yes, there are hints of BMW’s 1 Series with that elongated bonnet, rearward cabin position and the hofmeister kink-mimicking C-pillar. The front end reminded me of the new Audi A5, particularly the swept-back headlights and bonnet creases. That aside, the new Focus is an agreeable package with a more mature design than the outgoing model. Built at the company’s Saarlouis plant in G...

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