Ford Focus ST

The Ford Focus ST is the second hot hatch from Ford to make it into this list of the best hot hatchbacks – and that’s telling of just how good the firm is at making them.

Ford Focus ST-3 2013 front action

The Ford Focus ST is the second hot hatch from Ford to make it into this list of the best hot hatchbacks – and that’s telling of just how good the firm is at making them. The Ford Focus ST was beaten to the top spot by its smaller brother, the Fiesta ST, but it’s still up there with the best when it comes to driver involvement.

• Ford Focus ST review

That’s the biggest strength of the Ford Focus ST – how good it is to drive. It gets a 247bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which can take it from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, and it sounds great thanks to a system that boosts engine noise for the driver when accelerating hard. There’s no automatic gearbox either – the Focus ST only comes with a slick six-speed manual gearbox.

Thanks to a torque-vectoring system the Focus ST is one of the best handling cars in its class, beating big-name rivals like the Volkswagen Golf GTI to that title. The steering is fast and accurate, and there’s plenty of feedback – this is a proper driver’s car. The ride is a bit firm, but the Recaro seats are really supportive and comfortable.

The Ford Focus ST might only be available in five-door form, but it’s definitely still a stylish car – it gets a sporty mesh grille, a central exhaust pipe, a front splitter and a rear wing. Large alloy wheels complete the look, and a range of bright colours means the ST will always stand out from the crowd. This isn’t a car for those who want to blend in, but it’s not too outlandish.

It’s not the most practical hatchback around – the boot is 64 litres less than the Volkswagen Golf GTI – but the interior is full of useful storage cubbies and the rear seats are big enough for three adults – though they won’t want to sit there for a long journey. It’s much more practical than the three-door Renaultsport Megane 265, too.

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