ST puts Focus on fast, not furious

Iain Dooley checks out Ford's rapid Focus ST, a hot-hatchback for the masses.

Engines – The Focus ST doesn't follow the well-trodden hot-hatch path of highly-strung four-cylinder engines. Back when Volvo was owned by Ford, the Blue Oval chose the Swedish firm's 2.5-litre turbo motor. An unusual choice, but with more torque than a four-pot it proves a more manageable daily driver. The engine's 221 horsepower delivers the goods when you need it, too.

Exterior – Keen to distance the ST from more outrageously-styled rivals, Ford's hot Focus presents a surprisingly conservative face to the world. Chunky alloy wheels and a modest bodykit are the only clues as to this particular car's potential.

You may also want to watch:

Interior – Like the exterior, Ford opted to design a low-key interior for the ST. Save for the supportive sports seats and sports steering wheel not much has changed over a regular, high-spec Focus. It all works well and build quality is impressive though.

Most Read

Driving – By its own admission Ford never set out to make the Focus ST a flame-spitting monster. As a result, the car offers a more rounded 'GTI' experience than some other race-tuned rivals. Power delivery is predictable and grip is never in short supply. There's a nice balance between ride comfort and the ability to push hard into corners. And then there's that tuneful five-pot turbo motor – this flexible and torquey engine is the star performer, and one that will never fail to make you smile.

Ownership – Keen to make ST motoring affordable, Ford's decision to play down the car's appearance and make use of a relatively quiet engine should be reflected in your insurance premium. Remember, bewinged, noisy cars are often perceived as a greater risk. When driven sensibly, fuel consumption should be bearable, while the fundamental Focus attributes are all there – solid build, practical and spacious cabin.

What to look for – As with all performance cars it's important to find out whether the ST has been on a track. The reality is that the ST will have been driven harder than your average Focus and could lead to bigger garage bills later in life. As such, a full service history and a thorough test-drive are both essential. Evidence of kerbed wheels and parking dents should have you seeking better cared-for examples.

Model history – 2006, Ford launches ST performance version of its acclaimed Focus. Both three and five-door bodystyles offered. Power comes from a 221 horsepower five-cylinder turbo petrol engine, and is sent through the front wheels. Three equipment grades to choose from, with the base model (ST 1) aimed at enthusiasts seeking a low frills experience and ST 3 offering ESP and more creature comforts.

Reasons to buy – Good value, fun to drive, usual Focus attributes, modest exterior styling enhancements.

Reasons to beware – Potential for mechanical abuse, too 'soft' for some keen drivers.

Pick of the range – Focus ST 2 five-door.

What To Pay – 2006 55 �8,500; 2006 56 �9,350; 2007 57 �10,650; 2008 08 �11,850; 2008 58 �12,825; 2009 09 �14,250; 2010 10 �16,650. Figures are showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus