While the Ford Focus ST takes on the VW Golf GTI and Renaultsport Megane on the hot hatch front, the Ford Focus ST Estate is a unique take on a practical performance car. It takes the Focus ST hatch’s mechanicals and sporty styling and blends them with the more practical, handsome estate body. This means it has no direct rivals.
On the outside, it looks just like any other Focus ST at the front, with the unique front bumper and bolder, more aggressive grille. Walk around and you’ll see the same 18-inch alloy wheels, side skirts, rear bumper and centrally mounted exhaust as the hatchback. But from the C-pillar rearwards it’s a little different, thanks to the estate’s rising waistline and smarter LED tail lamps. The Estate keeps the bootlid-mounted ST spoiler, plus its black roof rails match the black window surrounds and detailing, in keeping with the performance look.
The Focus ST Estate comes in the same spec levels as the hatch, starting with the ST-1, which has cloth Recaro seats, DAB audio and the Ford ‘Power’ start button with proximity key. The ST-2 adds a 4.3-inch display, leather Recaros and dual-zone climate control, while top-of-the-range ST-3 gets heating and eight-way power adjustment for the front seats, as well as bi-xenon headlamps. All STs have a sculptured rear Recaro seat, as well as torque vectoring, ABS with ESP, plus a pair of front, side and curtain airbags.
This version is big on practicality, too: its larger cargo area swallows up to 1,516 litres of luggage with the rear seats folded. Unlike the hatch, which has quite a deep drop into its boot, the Estate has a flat loading area. It also loses the full-size spare wheel – luggage room drops to 1,502 litres if you choose a space-saver wheel instead of a puncture repair kit.
On the road, it’s a cracker. As with the hatch, the engine makes a warm burble that’s not quite as loud as the noise from the previous ST’s five-cylinder. But there’s a luscious turbo whistle as the bassy 2.0-litre four-cylinder summons its full 247bhp. Everything’s well weighted – from the precise electric steering to the sports pedals and six-speed gearbox’s shift action.
The ST Estate feels substantial and solid, not heavy or cumbersome, as it weighs only 24kg more than the hatch and has excellent grip from its Goodyear tyres. You can switch the ESP off, but the Ford still grips and goes, letting you power out of corners with ease. There’s still a little too much torque steer, meaning you have to grip the steering wheel firmly when you’re accelerating hard, but otherwise this car is quite civilised around town.
Ride quality can be poor on bumpy roads and, but overall there’s a blend of sportiness and suppleness on offer that’s ideal for everyday use. That sums up the Ford Focus ST Estate: it’s just as fast and fun as the hatchback, but comes in a more practical and distinctive bodystyle.