Best Hot Hatch: Ford Focus ST

A fast Ford is back on top of the hot hatch pile, and having met the people behind the new Focus ST, we’re not surprised.

Why it won...

A fast Ford is back on top of the hot hatch pile, and having met the people behind the new Focus ST, we’re not surprised.

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to ride with the engineers who developed the eagerly anticipated new model, and you could see the childish look of delight in their eyes after taking it for a quick blast down the road.

We finally got a chance to find out just how good the ST is for ourselves in early June and it didn’t disappoint, because the Focus has redefined what makes a great family hot hatch. It combines the fun and outright ability of models like the Renaultsport Megane 265 with the comfort and everyday usability of more grown-up alternatives such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The switch from charismatic five-cylinder power to a four-cylinder EcoBoost engine was a bold move, but the decision has paid off, as the new 2.0-litre turbocharged engine produces 247bhp and is 20 per cent cleaner and more efficient than its predecessor. It blasts the Focus from 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds, plus it provides a purposeful soundtrack which is just as capable of putting a smile on your face as the perfectly judged steering, responsive chassis and progressive brakes.

All Fords handle brilliantly, but the beautifully balanced ST shows just what the company’s engineers are capable of when they let their hair down. And the best news? They’re the same people responsible for the forthcoming Fiesta ST, which they reckon will be even better...

Our choice: ST-2

The mid-spec ST costs £23,495 and comes with most of the equipment you could ever need, yet it’s still cheaper than even the most basic Volkswagen Golf GTI. So if you think the hot Ford looks like fantastic value for money, you’re right... it is.

Commended

Renault Megane Renaultsport 265 Cup

If you like your hot hatches raw and uncomplicated, then the recently revised Megane is just the ticket. The uprated chassis serves up racing car responses, while the 261bhp turbocharged engine has explosive power delivery. A bone-jarring ride and compromised practicality hold the car back, but on the right road there’s nothing to touch the racy Renault for hardcore driving thrills.

Suzuki Swift Sport

Small, affordable, fun and full of character; the Suzuki Swift Sport is like hot hatches used to be in days gone by. We love everything from its pumped up looks and racy cabin to its frenetic engine and snappy gearshift. The Sport makes you want to wring every last ounce of performance out of it, and that’s the essence of a good hot hatch.

Continue Reading

Recommended

Facelifted Ford Focus ST launched for 2021 with 276bhp
Ford Focus ST - front
Ford Focus ST Hatchback

Facelifted Ford Focus ST launched for 2021 with 276bhp

Ford has made some styling tweaks and a few technological changes to the Focus ST, including a new 13.2-inch infotainment system
14 Oct 2021
New Ford Focus ST Edition 2021 review
Ford Focus ST Edition - front
Ford Focus ST Hatchback

New Ford Focus ST Edition 2021 review

The Ford Focus ST Edition hot hatchback is a fine swansong for the outgoing Focus range
30 Sep 2021
New Ford Focus ST Mountune m365 2021 review
Ford Focus ST Mountune m365 - front
Ford Focus ST Hatchback

New Ford Focus ST Mountune m365 2021 review

Has Mountune managed to extract just the right amount of performance from the Ford Focus ST with the new m365?
23 Sep 2021
Best used hot hatchbacks 2021
Best used hot hatchbacks - header
Best cars & vans

Best used hot hatchbacks 2021

Our picks for the best used hot hatchbacks in the UK for 2021
18 Aug 2021

Most Popular

New 2022 Range Rover arrives with plug-in hybrid power and seven seats
Range Rover - front
Land Rover Range Rover

New 2022 Range Rover arrives with plug-in hybrid power and seven seats

The new Range Rover luxury SUV has been unveiled with two PHEV powertrains and seven-seat capability
27 Oct 2021
New Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
The best 0% finance car deals 2021
Best 0% finance car deals - header
Best cars & vans

The best 0% finance car deals 2021

Tempted by a 0% APR deal? Here are our best 0% finance deals starting from only £145...
21 Oct 2021