Ford Focus ST Road Test
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 21 November 2012
Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce to you one of the hottest of hot hatches on the market today. The Ford Focus ST.
Equipped with a turbocharged 2.0L GTDi EcoBoost Engine, the Focus ST is built for the car enthusiast in everyone. No longer is a trip to the shops an ordeal, it is something to look forward to. You know why? Because you can lower yourself into the Recaro Sports Seating and enjoy every minute of the drive.
With world class handling, impressive power and torque ratios and a sexy, modern design, we simply can't think of a better Sports Hatch on the market. Let's find out why.
Pulling into the Ford base in Broadmeadows and shutting down the engine using the stop/start button, the first thought that came into my head was "Wow, I don't want to give this car back". I had spent a week getting to know the Focus ST and after that week, I had totally fallen for it. It wasn't just the optimum performance through every gear change, or the sublime on-road handling, or the sporty engine note, it was a combination of all these things, plus more.
The Focus ST is only available with 6-speed manual transmission and in our opinion, the best transmission suited for a Sports Hatch. Utilising the 6-Speed Manual gearbox, the Focus ST is breathtakingly quick. The lower gears provide plenty of spark and zip to push the front passengers deep into their sports seats. This continues with the higher gears as they maintain a very torquey drive.
With this high performance pace however comes evident torque steer. You will often notice the car dragging to the right when planting the pedal to the floor. Other than this, the car is smooth, almost as smooth as a James Bond pick-up line. Gripping the leather sports steering wheel and sinking into the massive sports seats, you feel truly involved with the driving experience. It is as enjoyable a ride as you will ever get from a sub $40k car. Every gear is responsive and smooth and contains enough oomph to bolt from 0-100kms in rapid time.
If there are to be any negatives from the driving experience, it is that you tend to feel every bump and pothole in the city of Melbourne, even worse is when you get outside of Melbourne to harsher terrain. It can be a very sensitive ride.
An added bonus is Hill Launch Assist (HLA) which keeps the car steady on an incline when taking off. Handbrake starts are a thing of the past!
The Ford Focus ST ditches the Duratec engines used by the rest of the Focus range and opts for a higher performing, more sporty 2.0L GTDi EcoBoost. The initial difference in this engine is not only the extreme performance levels but the audible engine note that growls magically.
Now, I know there are people out there who don't give two hoots about how an engine sounds and especially one that "growls magically", but hear me out. The Ford Focus ST sounds immaculate. It is not an over-exaggerating growl, rather a solid sporty growl which translates to genuine sports performance.
The higher performance levels are best explained via the impressive power and even better torque figures. The maximum power for the 2.0L GTDi EcoBoost engine sits at 184kW @ 5500rpm, whilst maximum torque is 360Nm @ 2000-4500rpm. This high torque ratio is evident when thumping down on the accelerator. Boy, does this car respond.
Ford Australia has average fuel consumption figures at 7.4L per 100kms. We finished up our week with the Focus ST drinking 9.9L per 100kms which is probably more believable than the 7.4L, considering the people who buy this car are buying this car for performance and will drive it that way.
In saying this, given the way it was driven over that week, 9.9L per 100kms was suprisingly low.
18" Alloys are always a good start when building a Sports Hatch and the ones used for the Focus ST are downright sexy! Combine these with a low on-road appearance, an integrated roof spoiler, symmetrical style lines the length of the vehicle and a bold front grille and you have a competitor for one of the best hatches on the market.
The Dual-Pipe Exhaust is worth mentioning due to the unique central positioning at the rear of the vehicle. But hey, the folk at Ford somehow pulled it off. A truly remarkable looking Sports Hatch.
The Ford Focus ST looks its best at night when the illuminated door handle lights mingle with the interior lights. What a car!
The latest Ford Focus range was awarded a 5-Star ANCAP Safety Rating scoring 34.17 out of 37.
The Focus ST is fitted with a host of safety features including: Driver and Front Passenger Airbags, Side Curtain Front and Rear Airbags, Side Airbags, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Hill Launch Assist, Rear Parking Aid Sensors and a full sized spare tyre that lives in the boot.
Safety is paramount when purchasing a new car. Our rule is : If it isn't a 5 star car, look elsewhere. Thankfully the Focus range proudly sports the 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
When lowering yourself into the Recaro Sports Seat with driver side Lumbar Assist, one thing immediately becomes apparent: The seats are ridiculously comfortable for the average sized man, but what about the more larger-sized drivers?
A more polite way of saying that is, the seats are very snug and secure. It is a sports car after all, so sports seating with lumbar support to limit movement is imperative. The Recaro seats do offer terrific lumbar support, especially when traveling at higher speeds. Made from a combination of leather and fabric, the sports seats are comfortable and spacious.
Due to the large size of the front seats, legroom in the backseats is quite limited. Word of advice: Don't be offering to drive a group of mates out for the night!
A sporty, chunky sports steering wheel sets the scene for a front dash that has alot going on. There seems to be more buttons on the centre console for radio, navigation, Bluetooth and settings than on an airplane cockpit. The centre console looks cramped with way too many buttons that indirectly draws the focus of passenger attention.
This overuse of buttons that dominates the centre console is in our opinion the cars weakest point, it is clearly unattractive and over the top. There is also a 5" Centre Display Screen that is dwarfed by the excessive space inhabited by the dials, buttons and controls.
The sound system and the dual zone air con system work well and are easy enough to manage. Also standard with the Focus ST is Bluetooth Control, Satellite Navigation System and a Ford SYNC connectivity system.
After all of the praise dished out to the Ford Falcon ST, one of the biggest upsides is still to come: The Price. Priced better than its competitors at $38,280, the Focus ST is unbelievably good value for money.
Maximising the engagement of car with driver, the Ford Focus ST is a total rework of the Focus brand and image. It truly is an awesome blend of power, precision and class.
Deciding on the overall score of this bad-boy came with many hours of deliberation. Judging on the drive and performance, this car is a 5-star car for its category, however points were lost due to the complicated interior dash, hence the 4.5 stars given.
Definitely take the Ford Focus ST for a test drive now. You won't regret it!
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Ford dealer.
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