QUALITY ST (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Ford's Focus ST hot hatch is back, with a mission. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 82
Ford's fourth generation Focus ST is now smarter, classier and more dynamically adept. In hatch or estate guise, with petrol or diesel power, it's a car that's now easier to get the most from. And a machine you can enjoy to the full on your favourite road without afterwards having to pay for it with the kind of over-firm ride you simply don't want in everyday traffic. Ultimately, so many quick cars can feel.... well, rather irrelevant. Here's one that's anything but....
Backgroundword count: 172
'ST' is a badge that, when it comes to Ford, stands for 'quick but not concussive', a performance level that sits just above the company's fast-but-family-friendly 'ST-Line' models. But just below their track-spec RS derivatives. A badge applied to the kind of car a red-blooded racer could afford, enjoy and use every day. A car like this - the fourth generation Focus ST. The Focus ST is the kind of car that's always democratised performance, giving you something of the speed of a supercar within the body - and the budget - of something much more ordinary. Other brands promise this kind of thing but in reality, often do little more than bolt a set of spoilers and a turbo onto something more mundane. Ford though, has a different approach, the Blue Oval brand boasting a long history of developing proper performance versions of its mainstream models, designed by enthusiasts to be driven by enthusiasts. That's certainly seems to be what's been delivered with this MK4 Focus ST. Let's take a look.
Driving Experienceword count: 244
There are plenty of very significant changes over the previous generation model. We'll start with the fresh engine line-up, which offers 12% more power and 17% more torque than before. There are two units on offer; an entry-level 190PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel and the powerplant you'll probably prefer, a 280PS 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol unit. Buyers choose between a 6-speed manual gearbox or a new quick-shifting 7-speed auto transmission. Selectable Drive Mode technology is introduced on a Focus St for the first time, enabling drivers to adjust the car's character to suit the kind of drive experience they want. The various settings tweak steering feel, throttle response, stability control thresholds and, on petrol models, suspension response too, courtesy of the 'CCD' 'Continuously Controlled Damping' system that's standard on the EcoBoost models to further improved the sophisticated 'SLA' multi-link suspension set-up. Go for the petrol derivative and you also get an 'e-LSD' Electronic Limited Slip Differential. The system uses hydraulically activated clutches to limit the engine torque delivered to a wheel that has reduced traction on the road surface, and redistributes up to 100 per cent of available torque to the wheel with more traction to counteract wheel spin that can hamper acceleration through, and out of, corners. You'll want to know how fast it is; well, plenty quick enough. Thanks to 420Nm of torque, the EcoBoost petrol version uses the most free-revving Focus ST engine ever and sprints to 62mph in less than six seconds.
To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227
Pictures (high res disabled)
Scoring (subset of scores)
|Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.|