The Ford Focus has had a curious evolution – after the revolutionary first car it seems that with every subsequent generation Ford has tried to make the model more appealing to mainstream buyers. What this meant in practice was partly comfier suspension tuning and a high-quality cabin, both welcome developments, but also a stylistic evolution that took the model away from the first model’s “love it or hate it” styling towards a less offensive, but also less distinctive look. However, while the second- and third-generation models both could claim a direct visual link to the first model (the distinctive window in the rear pillar, those elongated rear lights), the fourth-generation model decided to break with that, losing a lot of the model’s “Focus-ness” in the process. Which in off itself would not have been so bad, were it not for the fact that the final product looks a lot like the two-years-older Fiat Tipo…
Now, the Fiat Tipo is not a bad-looking car per se, it’s just a rather bland looking one. By deciding to make the Focus more appealing globally, including to Chinese audiences (which have rather distinct stylistic tastes), Ford somehow settled on the same stylistic choices as the designers of the global Tipo. Just look at the shape fo the rear lights, the body-colored space between them, the positioning of the license plate, even the black aerofoils on the sides of the rear windscreen and the body-colored spoiler above – the similarity is uncanny. And that is before you consider the shape of the glasshouse from the profile, which looks nothing like Focus Mk I-III, but almost identical to that on the Tipo. All of this would be justifiable, at least in part, if the Focus was “aiming high”, by copying either the more attractive or the premium models in the segment, but despite being an honest, attractive model in its own right the Fiat Tipo is neither of those things. Truly, a hard-to-understand decision by Ford…
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