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Ford's all-new Focus will debut next year.

Spy photographers have spotted Ford's next-generation Focus compact undergoing cold weather testing near the Arctic Circle. The new Ford Focus is expected to debut for the 2019 model year.

Introduced seven-years ago, the current-generation Focus is getting a little long in the tooth, especially when compared to cars like the Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze. But that won't be the case for long, with Ford engineers working on an all-new version of the popular compact.

The next-generation Focus will switch to an all-new front-wheel drive architecture. The new car will have a larger footprint than today's car thanks to a stretched wheelbase and a wider track. The next Focus will sit lower than today's car, however, giving it a sportier stance.

Exterior styling is expected to be evolutionary with a clear link to other cars currently in Ford showrooms. The inside of the Focus will be given a more thorough overhaul, with the main highlight being a more conventional-looking dashboard. That should help the next Focus age more gracefully than the current model.

Reports indicate that the 2019 Focus will be offered exclusively with a range of turbocharged EcoBoost engines. At the lower end that should mean a 1.0L three-cylinder with about 140 horsepower. A performance-minded ST model is expected to make a return with a 2.0L four-cylinder good for 280 horsepower. We haven't heard anything about an all-out RS model, but that shouldn't come as a surprise; Ford waited about five-years to launch the current RS, and that pattern could repeat for the next-generation of the car. That would put a launch date sometime in 2023.

Ford is expected to launch the 2019 Focus at the 2018 Detroit auto show. Sales should kick off during the second part of next year.