Product Type: Ford cars
Newest Review: ... to not roll around corners. There are plenty of reliable tuning options too, with it being a Ford, and 260+Bhp from just a remap for a ... more
Focus ST - Edges the competition.....just
Ford Focus ST
Member Name: Sulli69
Ford Focus ST
Date: 19/08/10, updated on 20/08/10 (1579 review reads)
Advantages: Balance of power, handling and luxury
Disadvantages: Lack of cruise control
The Ford Focus ST, manufactured by Ford since 2005 to date, was the top of the range performance Focus until the truly focussed Focus RS arrived a year ago. There are a lot of similarities between the ST and RS, but this review is about the ST.
Starting with looks, it is a good looking car, with twin exhausts, flared arches reminiscent of the Mk1 Focus RS, 18" alloys (similar to the old TSW Venoms, but in a good way), rear spoiler that isn't just for looks and big 4 pot brakes up front to stop the 225 BHP hot hatch. To be truthful, the car sits a little high standard, but this is easily rectified by fitting lowering springs (Eibach are the usual option) for a couple of hundred quid - these were an option from new too, so won't affect the handling adversely, and in fact reduce body roll and the car sits much nicer.
The interior is very well specced. Dependent on the model you go for, ST1, ST2 or ST3, the spec differs. All have body hugging Recaros up front, which are awesome seats. ST1 is fairly basic, ST2 has Xenons, better stereo, I-Pod Aux etc, and ST3 has leather added and Recaro rear seats so only a 4 seater as opposed to the 5 seats in the ST1 and ST2. In fact the space, particularly in the rear, is amazing. I can fit 3 child seats comfortably, side by side in the rear!
The important thing about the car though, is how it goes - it is a hot-hatch after all. Having owned or driven virtually every hot hatch over the past 10 years, I was a bit dubious about the Focus with its heavy looking body, its big 2.5 V5 turbo engine and very high specced (read heavy) interior. I needn't have worried. The Volvo V5 powerplant has mountains of torque all through the rev range, and turbo lag is not an issue. It certainly isn't the fastest hot hatch, but isn't the slowest either, and grip is excellent for a front wheel drive car with so much power. Torque steer, amazingly, is virtually non-existent.
The handling and grip in the corners is excellent, and the traction control, if you choose to leave it on, is not too intrusive, so even serious drivers may choose to leave it on. It also brakes well too, and unless you track it, you shouldn't have a problem.
Talking of tracks, to be honest it is not as capable as other competitors on the track. The Renaultsport Megane (Cup), the original FRS and Civic Type R, may edge it on a track - though not by far. But travelling to and from the track, and even on it, the ST is the better place to be by a mile. This makes the ST much more capable, too, on British roads, where it can cope with odd cambers, potholes and bumps, very well with a nice balanced set up, soaking up uneveness, but stiff enough to not roll around corners.
There are plenty of reliable tuning options too, with it being a Ford, and 260+Bhp from just a remap for a few hundred quid is well worth it, which smoothes out the power delivery and gives it more go.
With it being a 2.5 litre turbo, it is a little thirsty, but not more than you would expect of such an engine - I average 25mpg with mixed driving, hammer it everywhere and you'll drop below 20, stick at motorway speeds and you'll get over 30. The tank is a little small, 55 litres, and that generally gets me 300 miles.
On the downside, cruise control, folding mirrors and one touch windows should be standard on all models, and they aren't - in fact cruise is not at all easy to fit. And, it is a little quiet, which is a shame as the V5 engine should be given more of an airing - but in that way it is not as in your face as the original RS of the current Focus RS - a nice balance.
Overall, I think the ST has the edge over the VXR, CTR and Golf; it doesn't beat them in every area but is consitently good and is just a nice place to be.
Summary: A Great Ford, a Great Hot-Hatch