There has been plenty of coverage of the all-new Ford Focus ST, especially as it's now available as an estate. However, if you don't want to attract attention and can't justify the higher running costs of the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, Ford may just have the answer for you, in the form of the Focus Zetec S Estate.
Zetec S trim adds a sporty bodykit and lowered suspension to make the Focus stand out from the rest of the range, and is available with five different engines. The range comprises two diesels, the 1.6 TDCi 115 and 2.0 TDCi 163, and three petrol units: a 1.6 125 with PowerShift auto, the new 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder EcoBoost and the engine we try here, the 1.6 turbo EcoBoost with 180bhp.
The Zetec S certainly looks the part. The extended sills deeper bumpers front and rear and roof spoiler give it a muscular look, and somehow the Estate doesn't look as fussy as the Zetec S hatchback. Our car came with optional 18-inch alloy wheels, which give it an even more agressive look, while the Candy Red paint looks great, too.
Inside, the Zetec S adds comfortable sports seats with colour-coded inserts and a sporty leather steering wheel. The cabin is well built and feels solid, and it's easy to get comfortable.
On the road, the Focus Estate is just as capable as the hatchback, with sharp handling and plenty of grip. What's more, the optional 18-inch alloys on our car didn't affect ride comfort too much - it's stiff, but not to the point of being incomfortable. The 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is gutsy and responsive, helped by the smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox, and is accompanied by a distinctive whoosh from the turbo as you press on - not even the Focus ST does that.
One extra that the Zetec S has over the ST is the inclusion of stop-start. The kit works smoothly, and helps the EcoBoost model return 47.1mpg, while emissions of 137g/km are more than 30g/km better than the ST, meaning the Zetec S drops three tax brackets to Band E. If you're a company car user, the 2.0 TDCi diesel is one band lower, while the 1.6 TDCi drops further still, to Band B.