Ford Focus ST review
The Ford Focus ST is neither the fastest nor the cheapest hot hatch, but it’s up there with the very best
It’s not perfect of course, with a lofty starting price and a lack of practicality hindering the overall package, but many will see these shortcomings as a price worth paying for such a talented machine. And while others have moved the game on when it comes to tech, the latest Focus ST still comes with the very best stuff that Ford has to offer to keep it in the running.
About the Ford Focus ST
Prices start at over £33,000 for the entry-level petrol model, which may seem a lot, but is broadly on par with close rivals. Other hot hatches stand out by offering more power, or better in-car technology, however, so how does the Focus ST fight back?
In a word, handling. Ford has found a sweet spot with the Focus chassis (as with the smaller Fiesta ST) that makes it come to life in a corner. The performance when you turn the wheel is truly breathtaking, so much so that you can almost feel the half a century of experience that the US manufacturer has behind it making sporty cars.
As mentioned, competition is certainly fierce, with the aggressive Honda Civic Type R, the entertaining Renault Megane RS 300 and the impressive Hyundai i30 N. There are also the more upmarket offerings including the BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35.
Whereas most of these competitors have opted for 2.0-litre power, Ford stands out in choosing to go with its 2.3-litre EcoBoost unit for the Focus ST. The engine produces 276bhp with a huge 420Nm of torque and is the same unit used in the Ford Mustang. Ford has also introduced a diesel ST model using a 2.0-litre EcoBlue turbo diesel engine with 187bhp.
Car group tests
- Ford Focus ST Edition vs Volkswagen Golf GTI: 2021 group test review
- New Ford Focus vs used Mercedes A-Class
Used car tests
In addition to the five-door hatch bodystyle, there’s also the Ford Focus ST estate version offering more load-lugging capacity to go with the driving fun. Both the hatch and estate petrol models are front-wheel drive and offer 0-62mph times under six seconds. The diesel is able to dispatch the same sprint in around 7.6 seconds.
The ST Edition model offers an even sharper hot hatch experience, with upgraded suspension and adjustable dampers helping to raise the ST to another level. Extras such as lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels and cosmetic touches such as light blue stitching on the steering wheel and part-leather Recaro seats add a little individuality.
However, none of these come cheap, with diesel hatch starting at just over £30,000. The petrol hatch model is around £33,000, while the estate is an additional £1,400 on top of that. The ST Edition comes in at almost £36,000. By comparison, the Honda Civic Type R (discontinued from Nov '21) is pretty much on par price wise, but offers more power and performance than the ST.
Standard kit on all Focus ST versions is impressive with eye-catching 19-inch alloy wheels in a dark-grey finish, LED headlights and taillights, Recaro sports seats and keyless entry. Solid Race Red paint is a no-cost option, with six other colours available from Ford’s Premium and Exclusive ranges.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Ford Focus ST is neither the fastest nor the cheapest hot hatch, but it’s up there with the very best
- 2Engines, performance and driveLots of driver-orientated tech trickery keeps the ST up-to-speed with the competition.
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsDespite a high list price, the Focus ST is cheaper to insure than rivals and offers both petrol and diesel power
- 4Interior, design and technologyIt’s packed with standard kit, so you’ll want for nothing if you opt for the Focus ST
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceEstate and hatch versions of the Focus ST offer flexibility, although practicality isn’t perfect.
- 6Reliability and safetySafety comes as standard with the Focus ST, and reliability shouldn’t be an issue, either.