Among the most impressive aspects of the package is the Active City Stop. This feature makes use of LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) which is mounted next to the rear view mirror. The system continuously (100 times per second) monitors the distance to the vehicle in front and the closing speed, to determine the risk of a collision. If a car in front of you stops without you noticing and if you are travelling at 10mph or less it will bring the car to a complete stop without any impact. Over 10mph and the system will reduce the impact considerably. We tried out this system a number of times (see video below), and while it was difficult not to brake, when we managed to do so, the system worked very well.
Next up is the Active Park Assist, which, while it may not prevent any accidents, it could help ease much frustration for those unable to parallel park and those in the cars behind you waiting as you take 17 attempts to get into the space. As you see in the video below, the system works and is pretty amazing to see in action. The only issue we had was that we needed to be very close to the line of cars for the system to identify a parking space. This option will appeal to many who find parallel parking really frustrating but trusting the car to do the work is something which drivers will have to get used to.
Lane Departure Warning is a system designed to work primarily on multi-lane roads and, using the front-facing camera, will spot when the car is drifting from one lane to another. The system will then either issue a warning through vibration feedback in the steering wheel, or auto correct the drifting - depending on what setting you chose. The system needed to be tweaked on initial driving by us to increase the sensitivity and response as otherwise we didn’t really notice it working.
The front facing camera is also used to read traffic signs such as speed limits and overtaking signs and then display them on the dashboard. Once displayed the signs then gradually dim the further away you drive. The system worked flawlessly for the most part however when passing electronic speed signs for 30mph they were displayed as 130mph and 80mph which isn’t ideal. The front facing camera also collects data for the Driver Alert system which gives you a warning if it feels you are getting tired – and helpfully displays a little coffee cup.
The Driver Assistance Pack also comes with Speed Limiter, Adaptive Cruise Control and Auto High Beam Control which are all pretty self-explanatory. Over all, the amount of technology, and the way it works in the new Ford Focus is seriously impressive. While some of the features are available from other manufacturers, we feel that the £750 additional price is a reasonable outlay for the Driver Assistance Package.
The new Ford Focus is available in dealers now and start from £15,995.