Ford Focus ST review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Estate and hatch versions offer flexibility, although practicality isn’t perfect.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Practicality, comfort and boot space Rating

4.0 out of 5

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

Ford has decided to continue with five-door hatch and more practical estate versions of the ST, which offers increased flexibility for those wanting a usable, everyday performance machine. For those that find themselves doing above average mileage, the option of a diesel-powered model might be just the ticket, but just remember to work out if the fuel costs actually benefit your specific circumstances and driving style.

The Focus ST’s steering is 15 percent quicker than other cars in the range, but there’s not much lock and tight turns will need a few attempts. Thankfully, front and rear parking sensors and a camera are included as standard.

Previous generations of the Focus ST received criticism for a high-driving position, but the latest model includes well-set, supportive Recaro sports seats. Both of the front seats are heated, as is the steering wheel, which should be a welcome boon during colder weather.

Size

Although the fourth-generation ST is all-new, it hasn’t strayed from the basic family hatchback formula. The five-door hatch is 4,378mm in length, 1,979mm wide and 1,471mm in height, making it shorter than a Honda Civic and Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, but just a little longer than a Renault Megane RS 280.

The ST estate model naturally brings an increased overall length at 4,668mm, although width remains the same. Height increases by 23mm to 1,494mm.

Legroom, headroom & passenger space

Driver and passenger space benefits from a five-door layout, with Ford claiming class-leading kneeroom in the rear cabin, alongside ample shoulder room for two rear occupants. 

Boot

Based on the same C2 platform as the rest of the Focus range, the hot ST still provides solid levels of practicality.  Boot size for the five-door hatch, with all seats in place, is 378 litres, while lowering the rear 60/40 seat backs increases load capacity to a useful 1,250 litres. Bear in mind, though, that the Honda Civic Type-R has the measure of the ST here, with 420 litres.

The handsome ST estate gives buyers a real reason to think about their daily driving needs - it offers a huge 694 litres with all seats upright and an even bigger space of 1,576 litres, if you lower the rear seats.

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