Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

FIRST DRIVE: Ford Focus ST

The latest fast Ford has arrived, but is the new Focus ST too much for one man to handle?

Ford Focus ST-2 EcoBoost 5dr
Price£23,095
Top speed154 mph
0-62 mph6.5 seconds
Combined fuel economy41.5 mpg
CO2 emissions159 g/km
VED bandG / £180
Insurance group36A
Engine2.0-litre turbo petrol
Power250 PS (247 bhp)
Torque360 Nm (266 ft-lb)
Weight1,437 kg

What is it?

The ST badge has been glued to the back of many a Ford, each indicating that the car is a proper hot-hatch. The Focus ST has always been a rather effervescent option when compared to its more relaxed rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf GTi.

The new Focus ST continues that trend, eschewing the refinement offered elsewhere for sheer tyre smoking entertainment.

What’s it like?

It starts on the outside with a bodykit that includes a large rear spoiler, an upper and lower diffuser, centrally mounted exhausts, new front bumper and grille and side skirts. Painted in ‘Tangerine Scream’, the ST looks like it’s on a mission to acquire an ASBO as quickly as possible.

Inside there are a few changes to remind you that you’re in the sporty model, including Recaro seats up front and a bank of extra dials placed on top of the dashboard. A flat-bottomed steering wheel and ST specific dials, pedals and gear lever finish off the effect.

When you fire up the engine things get, if you’ll excuse the pun, more focussed. The 2.0-litre engine pumps out an impressive 250PS, but that’s combined with a strong torque figure of 360Nm, so the car rockets off the line. The 0-62mph dash is completed in just 6.1 seconds, but the car feels significantly quicker than the raw figures suggest thanks to potent in-gear acceleration.

Plant your foot down in first, second or even third gear and the computers and differentials have to work hard to keep things contained. Pulling away from junctions frequently ends up being a noisy affair as rubber is laid down on to the tarmac before the car steps in and calms things down. Once it’s all gathered up, it builds speed rather more quickly than you might be expecting, with third gear being enough to reach very illegal speeds.

Show it a corner and the stiff suspension, custom Michelin tyres and fast steering combine to make turning in to the apex of a bend an almost telepathic process. It’s intuitive, with few corrections needed once you’ve chosen your course, at least until you power out of the turn.

It’s a hugely entertaining car to drive, with a positive instability that makes it a breeze to dart from point to point, short shifting when required to keep some of that torque away from the front wheels.

However, reach the motorway and the Focus’ uncompromised outlook on driving entertainment lets the side down, the stiff but beautifully damped suspension making it an irritation as the long undulations of the road make themselves felt every single time. It never fully settles, always encouraging you to pull off the three-lane and take to the country lanes.

Is it practical?

Cover up the ST badge and what’s left is a conventional Ford Focus, which means you get reasonable but not class-leading space in the rear seats, and room in the boot to store 316 litres of stuff. That’s quite a bit less than you’ll find in a Golf, Leon or Astra.

A headline figure of 41.5mpg looks good for economy, but you’ll never see that if you drive it like you’re meant to. A CO2 figure of 159g/km means you’ll also be facing an annual car tax bill of £180, while company car drivers will be landed with a 24% BIK figure for their tax bill.

Should I buy one?

It’s when you hit the twisty roads that the Focus ST rewards you, encouraging you to push faster, push harder at every turn, holding you tightly in place with those sports seats, giving you the confidence to behave really quite badly before looking after you if you get things slightly wrong.

For all its flaws, the Focus ST will be a car you want to take out at the weekend. A car that leaves you sweating, but smiling. And that’s what makes a hot hatch.

 

Related entries

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

It doesn't feel like a moment since I was teaching them to ride a bike and now I'm meant to trust my kid behind the wheel of a car! But where to start - should I just jump in the car with them? What options are there for driving lessons for teenagers? Young Driver...

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

FIRST DRIVE: Honda CR-V Hybrid

Standfirst There’s been a lot of diesel difficulties over recent months, and that’s had quite an impact on Honda’s CR-V range. While the petrol engines remain, downsized to 1.5-litres, the diesel versions have been dropped entirely and replaced with a petrol-electric...

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

FIRST DRIVE: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Refreshed for 2019, Phil Huff finds out if the hybrid-powered Outlander is still the green SUV of choice... Who’d have thought that the best-selling plug-in hybrid car would be a sizeable SUV? Mitsubishi understood the market when the Outlander first appeared in...

Latest entries

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a parent of a 10 year old who is rapidly approaching the age where he will be getting his own phone, I’m concerned about ensuring he isn’t exposed to a cavalcade of disturbing things online. I’m worrying about bullying, about him being contacted or making friends...

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

The Olympics have started! Despite a lack of fans (crowd noise will be piped into the stadiums instead) the event is still as important as ever and makes for great summer viewing. So at Dad.Info we have rounded up 21 interesting facts about Japan to both liberally...

How To Have A Holiday At Home

How To Have A Holiday At Home

If you’re anything like me and flip flopped about for ages, unsure what to do about booking a summer holiday this year amid constantly- changing Covid news, then you’ll be finding yourself at home for the summer. But while we may not be able to dip our toes in the...

Pin It on Pinterest