The 2010 Detroit Auto Show is already pulsing, hours ahead of its official kickoff. The latest car to come off embargo: the 2012 Ford Focus. The next-gen version of the long-lived nameplate is now a global vehicle, with the U.S. and Europe to get the same basic features.

At the core of the new Focus's assault, beyond the new global platform, lies an efficient 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder with dual variable camshaft timing and direct injection. Helping to get the most out of the new engine is an available PowerShift dual-clutch gearbox, which pairs manual-like efficiency and responsiveness with the ease of an automatic--a well-known technology, but not yet widespread, especially in the Focus's class.  Hill-start assist is standard with the PowerShift.

The combination of the efficient engine with the PowerShift transmission and Ford's aerodynamic new design yields what should prove an efficient package, while still managing 155 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque sent to the front wheels. Power fiends need not fret, yet, as a four-cylinder EcoBoost version could come later on.  For suspension, the little Focus should handle well, with Ford's “control blade” multi-link rear suspension and McPherson-type struts up front.

Speaking of the new aerodynamic design, the 2012 Focus's face is growing increasingly familiar with cars like the Fiesta turning up. It's an expression of the brand's global "kinetic" design theme, and one familiar to Europeans.

Inside, the cars get a highly modern interior treatment, surpassing the Fiesta's excellent design with one slightly more refined and better-equipped. Ford's Sync infotainment system provides excellent in-car voice control, audio, phone connectivity, navigation and more. The recent MyFord updates will also be available.

Both the new hatchback and sedan wear the kinetic design language, and both models will be available for sale when the vehicle is launched for retail sale in early 2011.

Stay tuned for live photo updates from the 2010 Detroit Auto Show!