Mabuyane Kekana

Mabuyane Kekana

So much has changed about the Ford brand in the past few years. We have witnessed some radical changes in the design language of the American brand - and the blue oval has come a long way.

Last year's introduction of the Fiesta came as a pleasant surprise for many and the Fiesta is a breath of fresh air in the B-segment.

The Bantam and the new Ford Focus were launched in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga recently.

The Bantam bears small but pleasant changes, both to exterior and interior. And as a bakkie, the Bantam looks okay.

Driving the Bantam is effortless and the gear changing on the 1,6-litre is more enthusiastic.

But the highlight of the event was the introduction of the 1,4 TDCi to the Bantam range. This engine produces a power output of 50kW at 4000rpm and a maximum torque of 160Nm at 2000rpm.

Describing the new Bantam, Ford Motor Company SA marketing manager Ben Pillay said the bakkie could be used as both a commercial and personal vehicle. He notes that its styling has always attracted young buyers.

The Focus bears subtle beauty and minor changes on the tail- and headlights give it fresher appeal. The sedan has also been enhanced by the changes.

As always, the hatch model of the Focus has never disappointed. The Focus competes with the likes of the Honda Civic, Opel Astra, Toyota Auris and VW Golf.

As with the Bantam range, the Focus' highlight was the introduction of the 1,8-litre petrol engine, to replace the existing 1,6-litre engine.

President and CEO of FMCSA Hal Feder said the replacement of the 1,6-litre was motivated by customer demand. "We are very excited about the 1,8-engine, " he said.

Ford did not have to take the launch to the coast for us to get a response from the engines.

The 1,8-litre is impressive even at high altitudes. The engine produces 92kW at 6000rpm and has a torque peak of 166Nm at 4000rpm. It comes with a five-speed manual transmission.