Driver Assist Package

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.

 

TechnicPuppet

March 22, 2011, 4:29 pm

Not very often a video makes me go wow but that second video of the parking, wow.

David Gilbert

March 22, 2011, 4:31 pm

@TechnicPuppet Indeed, it was truly amazing that the system actually worked in real life (as opposed to seeing it in a video), it was kind of worrying though when the wheel just began turning so quickly but you just have to trust it...

Neil873

March 22, 2011, 4:31 pm

Funnily enough I was just looking at the new Focus yesterday as I am looking to start leasing. Nice car and think I will go with it. Each to their own, but I didn't feel the Driver assist offered enough for me to need it, maybe cruise control as I often do 6 hour round trips - but at the end of the day, I can easily live without.

I did like the hands free set-up, plenty of space for all my bits and pieces; and generally a nice car. Only think that was annoying is that you can't get the standard Econetic 75mpg combined any longer and have to settle with the standard {new} range which at best does 68mpg combined.

Tim

March 22, 2011, 5:34 pm

Wow. I think the S-Class has been doing all this (not sure about the parking though), but to see all these features so soon in a reasonable compact car is amazing. Pity that Ford manages to make cars uglier with each revision, but I might finally be at an age where I don't really care anymore.

Ala Miah

March 22, 2011, 5:36 pm

Pretty amazing stuff. Insurance should be cheaper on these cars which is another plus. Ford cars arnt amazing to drive but they are fairly relaible and do a decent job.

hankb6d

March 22, 2011, 7:03 pm

It's going to be interesting in the future of driving technology. Maybe drink driving will become approved, and a raging debate about how many units, a button press can take.

MSIC

March 22, 2011, 9:12 pm

My Skoda Yeti has been self-parking problem-free for a year, and it was a very worthy £400 option. However, as you rightly say in your piece it doesn't have all the options that Ford offer. Still, it's a great gadgety option
:)

Jay4d0

March 23, 2011, 6:49 pm

phew it's about time that DAB is fitted as standard in cars, with 'people' wanting to turn off the FM signal most buying a new car now will find their radio useless in 2015(?)

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