Focus ST vs Astra VXR vs Megane RS

6 Dec, 2012 4:02pm

We pit three of the year's best hot hatches against each other around the Anglesey Circuit

It’s been a bumper year for hot hatchbacks. In 2012 we’ve had performance versions of the UK’s most popular family cars sprawled across the front pages of Auto Express – and none is more important than the latest Ford Focus ST.

In this video, our man Mat Watson pits the fast Ford against rivals from Renault and Vauxhall on the road and track.

The new Focus ST packs 247bhp from its 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine, and does 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds. The Renaultsport Megane takes this up a notch, with 263bhp and a clever sports diff, while the 276bhp Vauxhall Astra VXR sits right at the top of the horsepower tree.

So watch our video to see which of these cars can lay claim the crown of 2012’s finest hot hatch.

Disqus - noscript

Just taken delivery of my ST2 and without out a doubt it is a fantastic car to drive in all situations. Has for its two rivals, well no thanks..

The person who said yes to a production ST estate must have grown up with touring car volvos on the bedroom wall. ST = 3 door!

The other problem with fords ST policy, is there is no car available for loyality when it comes to replacement. Owners are not going to go back to a 1.6L so they leave the marque. How long is the gap between the last Fiesta ST and the next?

Didn't know Rob Bryden was doing this?,face looks like he's had a dodgy Kebab!

Yep... hot hatches are supposed to be affordable yet useable by mum. Dad and son track day. During the week mom and dad can use it to work and even do the school run. The other two were made for the track only. and Ford will do that with the RS. Right Ford?

I couldnt live with the ST it is just so ugly.
All Focus backends are the pitts but the ST adds a awfull front to go with it.
A hot hatch is supposed to be loved!

I have also taken delivery of a new ST3 and I agree with Charlie; it's a great drive, and in the flesh it looks a lot better than its detractors would have you believe. I do get rather bored with the ignorant comments from the Ford haters.

I am a Ford nut....always have been...Cosworths, RS Turbos, XR3i, Focus ST (2007) but really cannot get my head around the new's fuguly and no character...not in the same league as the previous ST....I'd rather have the Megane or VXR....for a change!

As someone whom owns a car purely for a track toy I'll be waiting for the price of a 2nd hand Megane RS (pref Cup) to become more affordable. Both RS Cup and OPC / VXR have LSD (mechanical) - critical for a FWD car that sees track time, far stiffer suspension (although VXR has semi-active suspension) and are just more hardcore. ST would be last choice - great though if you want a fast car that is very fuel efficient. Ford did not try to compete on the HP war with their new ST. Fair enough, most don't need it.

Other two for the track only? Don't think so but if it helps in your defensivenesss :)

I just have to agree with the masses on the look of the new ST, actually the Focus MK3 in general: the front looks like Darth Vaders helmet but in a comic way. Both front and rear have so many vents / ducts / trim plates / whatever that it's a shame to have seen a clean look now diluted. The MK2 RS had beauty in its simplicity (exluding rear spoiler - that's for limited numbers to appreciate surely!). But hey, it's all in the eye of the beholder with some loving it.

The focus looks a bit weird compared to the other two but when you see it in the showroom it looks really attractive!!!

The Focus is such a good price compared to the Mangane and the Astra!

If the new VXR is the quickest round the auto express track why doesn't it even have a listing round the ring. where all cars including hot hatches are tested to their full limits? not convinced.