Product Type: Ford cars
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Seriously Tasty fun in the ST
Ford Focus ST
Member Name: Condici
Ford Focus ST
Advantages: Looks smart, is affordable performance, great handling.
Disadvantages: Bit thirsty, high insurance group.
The ST was deemed to be the "long-awaited successor" to the Focus RS (which I understand Ford are re-making this year possibly).
The ST was a chance for those of us that would like a performance vehicle without the hefty price tag attached.
When we purchased ours we were advised that there was quite a waiting list for them - as my dad works for Ford and we get a little discount, we decided to add extras to it with the thought of future selling in the back of our minds too. So we ordered it in December 2005 and we finally got it in September 2006!!! But that's an issue with Ford not the car.
I have a 3 door ST3 - the vehicle is available as an ST1, ST2 or the ST3 - my review is based on the one I have.
Starting with the outside - the car is nice looking without being too in your face - it looks sporty but is not too Boy-racer looking. It has twin exhausts at the back and has a distinct meaty growl upon start up and revving. Xenon headlights and fogs make for some real good night driving - the headlights on dipped beam on this car are brighter than my poor little Astra's main beam! This car is available in a limited choice of colours and the stripes (usually seen on the Fiestas) are optional but I feel the ST looks better without them. The ST features 18" alloy wheels and has been lowered and suspension stiffened. You really feel in control driving this car and it is a firm ride but you do feel it if you hit a nasty hole in the road (one would hope that we see them in time usually!)
The ST3 (and the ST2) has an ESP recalibrated system that only intervenes when it considers the driver really needs it however turn it off on this car in the search of ultimate driving thrills, and unlike some systems - it really is off!
Next, the inside - the vehicle really does again depend on what you add to the trim but as standard are Recaro seats in full leather trim, a six disc autochanger and an MP3 compatible stereo - we plug our mobiles into it and listen to music from that too! There are many strategically placed speakers in the car making music a pleasure for all passengers front and back. The stereo also adjusts it's volume levels automatically for you so as the engine noise goes up, so does the stereo - but not at a deafening level.
The frontscreen is heated for quick clearing.
My favourite "gadget" in side the car is the pod of dials on the dash! One dial shows the turbo boost pressure which is so cool as you are accelerating, oil pressure and oil temperature. The main dials in the car are also pretty smart and easy on the eye. At night there is also a dash light which shines down onto the gear stick and is red - you see it on the gear stick but not as a physical beam - if that makes sense??
There are even little bulbs you can add to the footwells that light up and go off in line with all the other interior lights. The trim is all well finished and of suitable quality.
We also have bluetooth added option to our ST3 so many of the controls within the car itself are voice controlled, for example, we can control the temperature in the car by telling it what temp we want. We can change discs in the player, tell it what radio channel we want and use the mobile phones completely handsfree - we just tell it who we want it to call. If we could only choose one added extra for this car, the bluetooth would definately be it!
The interior is roomy and comfortable for the rear seat passengers too. There is no middle seat in this car - it really is only 2 passengers in the back. The boot is of a reasonable size - my only bugbear with it was they put a normal spare tyre in there (not an alloy) but did not sink it - by the time we got ours, this had been revised and a space saver replacement is there instead making the boot deeper and more accomodating.
Most importantly - this car comes with six airbags and this is so on all the ST's. The focus scored the maximum five stars for safety in the NCAP crash testing which is reassuring.
Now performance - The ST features a 2.5 litre five cylinder turbo charged unit that normally powers Volvos. It delivers strong performance from low down the rev range right through to the red line when many turbocharged engines need 3000rpm before there's any real thrust. The 5 cylinder engine produces a characterful noise - being hushed and quiet whilst you cruise along but delivering a fruity growl when you up the ante! Great fun! It delivers 221 BHP and a top speed of 152 MPH. 0-60 comes in 6.6 seconds.
But with that comes an insurance grouping of 17 and a bit expensive on the old fuel. It should manage 30mpg which is not too bad considering the performance it offers. It has a manual six speed gearbox which is the only transmission offered on this car.
ST's are really holding their value as well at the moment.
This is a popular car with high re-sale potential and great fun as well as practical when required. I would recommend to people for sure!
Summary: A good fun car that handles really well and delivers cracking performance!