Ford Focus ST review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Fab up front, but cramped in the back and boot space is limited. Plenty of doors, though
While the Ford definitely delivers driving thrills, it’s not as versatile as some rivals. The 316-litre boot is small, plus passengers in the rear will feel more cramped due to the more compromised packaging. The Ford’s displays look and feel old, too.
Ford's decision to make the Focus ST available in five-door hatch or estate bodystyles means a welcome dose of versatility has been brought to the hot hatch class. The ST also shares the same platform architecture as the rest of the Focus range. That means it’s roomy up front and, with sufficient adjustability in the low-set Recaro sports seats, most drivers should find a comfortable position. The pedals are well spaced out, too, so enthusiastic drivers can practice a bit of heel-and-toeing.
Happily for more pragmatic owners, the Focus ST’s interior maintains the practicality of the standard hatchback’s. This means general family paraphernalia can be kept in check, with a large glovebox, deep door bins and plenty of cup-holders.
The family hatchback class is pretty well defined across rival manufacturer offerings, so it’s no surprise that the Focus fits right in. The ST, at 4,358mm nose-to-tail, is a little longer than a five-door Golf GTI, at 4255mm. However, both are shorter than Vauxhall’s Astra VXR, which, in spite of only having three doors, is 4,419mm overall.
Yet the Ford is the widest of the trio. Its 1,858mm girth is 59mm and 44mm wider than the Golf and Astra respectively. The Focus splits its rivals on height, standing 1,461mm tall against the 1,452mm VW and 1,510mm Vauxhall.
Legroom, headroom & passenger space
In spite of its five-door configuration, the Focus ST isn't quite the perfect family car. Due to the heavily sculpted nature of the Recaro bench seat in the rear of ST-3 models, three adults can only fit in the back at a squeeze – although the extra doors make getting in easier, if you’re looking at three-door rivals. There is a proper seatbelt for each of the three rear passengers, and isofix child seat mounting points are standard in the rear.
While the Focus ST is definitely more practical than the Renaultsport Megane 265 and Vauxhall Astra VXR, it still has less boot space than the Volkswagen Golf GTI - the two cars offering 316-litre and 380-litre load bays respectively.
Folding the rear seats down boosts capacity to 1,101 litres – still some way short of the class best, but the Estate version remains an option if that’s a problem. The seats themselves are easy to collapse and leave a decent load area, which is easily accessible via the wide tailgate.
If your dynamic/sporty lifestyle extends beyond driving to – say – owning a jet-ski, it’s worth remembering that the Focus ST has a towing capacity of precisely zero kilograms. The central exhaust tailpipe means there’s nowhere to put a tow bar.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe Focus ST is a fast, fun and affordable hot hatchback that also comes as an estate
- 2Engines, performance and driveSuper handling and punchy performance from both petrol and diesel variants make the Focus ST a hoot to drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsNew diesel offers economy that belies the ST’s performance, but Focus depreciation is going to smart…
- 4Interior, design and technologyUnderstated it ain’t, but dramatic style inside and out reflects the Focus ST’s character
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingFab up front, but cramped in the back and boot space is limited. Plenty of doors, though
- 6Reliability and SafetyOnly ‘the nut holding the wheel’ might compromise a full-house safety package, but Focus ST reliability is less assured