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In-depth reviews

Ford Focus ST review

The new Focus ST isn’t the most powerful or the cheapest on the market, but it’s still a great hot hatch.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

  • Hatch and estate body styles
  • Torquey petrol engine
  • Lots of driver tech
  • More powerful rivals
  • Expensive to buy
  • Firm ride

The Ford Focus ST has matured into a proficient all-rounder, capable of taking on the class leaders. Ford has gone some way to addressing the shortcomings of the previous car, but price and areas of practicality are both issues here and hold the hot Focus back.

At well over £32,000 for the new petrol five-door version, buyers will have to think very carefully about exactly what they want from their performance hot hatch.

About the Ford Focus ST

As always, the latest Ford Focus ST faces strong competition in a hot hatch sector that is brimming with talented contenders. Key rivals offer more muscle, on-board tech and driving fun than ever before, making the task for the hot Focus that much harder - how will it compete? 

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Ford has always been able to hit the sweet spot in matching exhilarating performance with prices that won’t take your breath away. For over 50 years, the blue oval has been making affordable fast cars that offer the pace, practicality and sporting intent to keep a keen driver happy.

With no shortage of fast five-door rivals ready to do battle, Ford set out to deliver on its Sports Technologies badge by ensuring that the fourth-generation Focus ST comes laden with the latest driving tech and has the dynamic edge to propel it towards the top-of-the-class.

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As mentioned, competition is certainly fierce, with the aggressive Honda Civic Type R, the reasonably-priced Renault Megane RS 280 and the impressive Hyundai i30 N. There are also the more upmarket offerings including the BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35.

Whereas most of this competitor set 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.

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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 7.5 seconds.

However, none of these come cheap, with only the 187bhp diesel hatch dipping under the £30,000 mark. In fact, the petrol hatch model is around £32,500, while the estate is an additional £1,200 on top of that. By comparison, the Honda Civic Type R is pretty much on par price wise, but offers more power and performance than the ST, whereas the Renault Megane RS 280 starts from under £29,000, although isn’t as well equipped.

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.

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