Sep 27 2014
The Ford Focus is one of the most well known and recognizable cars on the road, and that applies to its performance variant, the ST. A true legend amongst the enthusiasts, the ST was a reliable car that delivered serious muscle when it was pushed and could very well be used to carry the groceries for the weekend. The old generation ST had a very raw personality, with looks to match. Is the new one up for the task of replacing it? Let’s find out!
Following a seemingly common trend among hot-hatches, the Ford Focus ST has, too, changed its engine. Instead of having the same power unit as the previous generation – a 2.5 litre 5 cylinder – it now has a smaller, 2.0 litre 4 cylinder EcoBoost, but don’t let that fool you! Although smaller in physical size, it’s able to pump out 247 bhp, with a top speed of 154 mph, with 0-62 coming in 6.5 seconds. The reduction in displacement and the improved fuel management system means that there will be less maintenance and driving costs and less carbon dioxide emissions.
Visually, the new Ford Focus ST follows Ford’s Kinetic Design, applied through the whole range of vehicles. Gone are the lines that characterized the old generation, along with some of its charm and appeal; instead, we get a similar, a-la-Fiesta look, which is quite a shame, really. We would have preferred to have a little more variety, but then, you can’t argue with the designers. The front is characterized by a large grille that dominates the small air intakes beneath it, which incorporate two fog lights, on either side. The headlights have a very peculiar shape and the ridge of the hood turns its fascia into an angry smirk. The side profile is very clean, with smooth lines and no interfering element to break their continuity and also envelops part of the rear lights. New profiled rockers sit lower to the ground than in the normal vehicle and are designer for optimum aerodynamic efficiency. The rear has a very dynamic look, with a huge rear spoiler, a redesigned lower spoiler with black panels on either sides – to continue the theme from the front and a central exhaust shaped to look as two twin pipes.
The car comes in three trim levels – ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3, having a five door configuration as standard. For those who would like even more space, rejoice, for there is also an Estate version. In June 2014, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Ford decided to do something out of the ordinary by offering an extra motorisation option – and no, it’s not a more powerful one, but a diesel. Yes, a diesel. Purists and die-hard Ford Focus ST fanatics might hate the car maker for doing such a sacrilege to one of the most revered cars on the market, but that’s that. For the rest of the world, however, that is – or should be – good news. Designed to compete with the Golf GTD, the car received a facelift, which improves upon the style that we critiqued earlier (for the non-facelifted version). Powered by a 183bhp TDCI engine, it claims a 0-62 sprint in 8.1 seconds and 64mpg.
Ford Focus ST – 5 Point Review
The body kit that the Ford Focus ST received very much improves upon the image of the stock model. The large, honeycomb front grille is painted black and is the main eye catcher, with a red ST badge place in the left corner. The profiled side rockers and the large roof spoiler create a very racy appearance, and give it a clear advantage over the model on which it’s based on.
In the interior, the thick, leather-trimmed steering wheel is better profiled for optimum grip. The dials and gauges are all red-trimmed, while Recaro front seats come in as standard. The Ford Focus ST comes in a five door configuration as standard, so the passengers in the back will be spoiled with sufficient leg and headroom for long drives. For the more practical minds, there is also the Estate version, which offers a larger boot.
How would you expect the Ford Focus ST to handle? If you answered brilliantly, then you’re absolutely right. With the stock Focus being the best handling car in its class, there is no surprise that the tuned-up version does any different. The turbocharged 4 cylinder engine feels much more elastic than some of its competitors and since it’s smaller, it does not add weight to the front. Speaking of that, Ford introduced a limited slip differential as standard and the car’s electronics are able to help you if you play with it too rough, saving you from either a hospital bill, or a repair one. The exhaust sound when revved is extraordinary, much better than expected from a 4 cylinder engine and it successfully rivals some of larger displacements. As it was with the Fiesta, if you’re more power hungry, Ford’s approved tuner, Mountune, can provide an upgrade, from 247 to 272bhp, with a £1,200 bill attached.
The new generation of Ford Focus ST benefits from a lot of improvements. If we don’t concentrate on the research and detailing of the car, the components in its build and the technology alone should insure at least a few years of smooth running. Combine it with Ford’s manufacturer warranty, and you’re set. The safety score is high, as it got five stars at the Euro NCAP tests. Sadly, the Ford Focus ST is not without its flaws, the most blatant of which is its mostly plastic interior, which will age more rapidly than that of (some) of its rivals.
In the UK, the price for a Ford Focus ST-1 version starts from £22,295, while the ST-3 hovers around £25,795, but gets you bi-xenon headlights with day-time running LEDs, keyless entry, and full Windsor leather Recaro seats. Ford advertises the mixed mpg as being 39.2 for the petrol version and 64mpg for the diesel variant. Carbon dioxide emissions stay at the low level of 169g/km for the petrol engine – which will not only make you feel better, but it will save you some quid from the road tax.
The boot space in the standard five door configuration is 316 litres – not the class leader, but sufficient for casual luggage. Folding the back seats gets you a total of 1.101 litres. The Estate, however, offers 416 litres and 1.500 litres with the seats down – quite a notable improvement. Even so, although it might look a little long (considering its sporty pedigree) for a hot-hatch, due to this, the interior space will not suffer in the basic configuration and the passengers in the back will have enough room to sit comfortable, even for extended drives.