Feeling the need for speed? But can't pay the premium that comes with it? Well Ford hopes that the Focus ST will lure you in. It's not as sophisticated as the Volkswagen GTI, but it is worth every single penny. Here's why!
Performance: A 2-liter high-output turbocharged four-cylinder produces 252hp mated to a smooth six-speed manual gearbox. Hooligans who wanted speed surely will get plenty of that. The Focus ST is fast and the manual gearbox is smooth. It's exactly what the doctor ordered for a high performance hatchback and these winning combinations won't disappoint!
On the road: We really wish the ST had a limited slip differential because there's just too much torque steer between the first two gears. This is mainly due to the fact that there is 270lb-ft torque only going to the front wheels. It reminds us of the Saab 9-3 Viggen which torque steered like no tomorrow. Handling is pretty good when you aren't pushing it to its limits and steering feel is great too. The Focus ST feels sporty and yet it's quiet and sophisticated interior quality makes it a strong contender against the Volkswagen GTI. The driving experience is even better when you turn off the radio and listen to that sweet revving turbo engine. It's one soundtrack we wouldn't mind hearing over and over again.
Behind the wheel: There driving position is good with plenty of adjustments for the steering wheel. All will find a comfortable driving position. The Touch screen display and dashboard are much easier to navigate through than our previous Focus ST we had as a test car.
What hatchbacks are supposed to offer is plenty of passenger space and cargo space to go along with the speed. In the Focus ST defense we managed to get five passengers in and still enough for luggage. The boot has a decent amount of space.
Equipment: Unique ST body-kit with 18-inch alloy wheels are standard as well as SYNC voice activated entertainment system. Recaro leather seats are optional as well as HID headlights, sunroof and premium audio system with 10 speakers.
Buying & owning: Running costs aren't bad but aren't great either. But for the amount of speed you get with the Focus ST we think that it's pretty darn good, unless you drive with a light food that is. Insurance rates maybe a bit steep for younger drivers because the Focus ST is considered a performance car and will encourage the driver to drive it like a complete hooligan. Resale value should be strong because the ST has been very popular.
Quality & Safety: The plastics used in the Focus interior feel somewhat low rent in certain areas, while other areas it feels very luxurious and classy. Overall feel of the switchgears has been positive. Reliability record a little worrying as most Focus owners have rated their Focus below average compared to rivals. In case you get a little too carried away with your Focus there is stability control, anti-lock brakes both come standard. There's front and side curtain airbags with five-star rating. A theft alarm and engine immobilizer keeps theft at bay.
Hooligans can rejoice because the Focus St is what they've been waiting for. A cheap hatchback that's practical, spacious and roomy. Plus it’s just a complete hoot to drive thanks to that turbo engine. However it's just not as refined as a GTI nor is it as composed because there's just too much torque for the front wheels to handle. We wish it had a limited slip differential, but it's the best hot hatch money can buy and it really is worth every penny.
Likes: It's that one car that makes you want to drive like a complete hooligan and feel good about doing it. Practical and roomy plus it’s an absolute bargain!
Dislikes: It’s not as refined as a Volkswagen GTI. There’s no less powerful version of the ST or an auto gearbox as an option for mainstream buyers.