Ford Focus ST review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

Available in hatchback or estate car form, the Focus ST offers flexibility few in this class can match

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Practicality, comfort and boot space Rating

4.0 out of 5

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The Ford Focus ST is still available as a five-door hatchback and more practical estate car, which is very rare in the world of hot hatches. It also means this fast Ford offers increased flexibility for those wanting a usable, everyday performance machine.

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 reversing 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 sports seats. Both of the front seats are heated, as is the steering wheel, which should be a welcome boon during colder weather.

Size

The fourth-generation ST hasn’t strayed from the basic family hatchback formula. The five-door hatch measures 4,378mm in length, 1,979mm wide and 1,471mm tall, making it longer than a Mk8 Golf GTI but still shorter than an Audi RS 3.

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

Leg room, head room & 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. However, headroom is a little below the best that the segment has to offer. The middle seat is fine for short trips, but its somewhat perched position only emphasises the low roof. At least those in the back get a pair of USB-C ports to keep their devices charged up.

We took our own measurements of the rear seat area when we pitted the Ford Focus ST against one of its key rivals, the Hyundai i30 N, in our twin test. We found that while the Ford has significantly more knee room, the Hyundai takes the overall win on headroom and slightly wider elbow room.  

Rear seat space comparison 

 

Knee room (min-max)

Headroom

Elbow room

Ford Focus ST

618-858mm

899mm

1,447mm

Hyundai i30 N

550-752mm

961mm

1,459mm

Boot

Based on the same C2 platform as the rest of the Focus range, the hot ST still provides solid levels of practicality. Boot space for the five-door hatch, with all seats in place, is an ample 373 litres, however the Honda Civic Type R trumps the ST here, with a more generous 410 litres on offer. There is a ski hatch for loading long items though, and when folded, the 60:40 split rear seats drop close to flat and increase load capacity to a useful 1,250 litres

The handsome ST estate gives buyers a real reason to think about their daily driving needs – it offers a huge 608 litres with all seats upright and an even bigger space of 1,653 litres, if you lower the rear seats.

When we opened up the boot of the Focus ST hatch in our twin test against the i30 N, we found that the Ford's load lip is lower than its rival, so it’s easier to load heavy items into the Focus. The Focus ST also has a much longer boot than the i30 N, however it's not as wide as the Hyundai's load space.

Boot space comparison                              

 

Length 

Width 

Lip height

Ford Focus ST

830mm

1,010mm

665mm

Hyundai i30 N

729mm

1,048mm

723mm

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