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Ford Focus ST review - Reliability and Safety

Only ‘the nut holding the wheel’ might compromise a full-house safety package, but Focus ST reliability is less assured

Ford has worked hard to ensure the latest Focus is a step up over the old car, with an improved cabin and a general feeling of solidity that seems to address past criticisms. You can’t argue with the fact the ST is also one of the safest hot hatches on the market, either, thanks to standard traction and stability control, a torque vectoring system, strong brakes and suite of airbags throughout.

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The automated braking system has been upgraded, too, and now operates at speed of up to 31mph. These combined to help the Focus ST achieve a maximum score of five-stars in Euro NCAP's crash safety tests. In addition, Ford offers options such as a Driver Assistance Pack that adds safety collision avoidance, blind spot monitoring and lane-keep assist to make the Focus ST that bit safer – you can also specify adaptive cruise control.

However, it's not all good news. Ford didn't fare well in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, finishing a disappointing 25th out of 33 manufacturers. To make matters worse, the Focus range finished 133rd out of 150 cars – it managed only 115th for reliability, and 139th for build quality.

Hopefully some of those issues will have been addressed with the current model’s facelift, but we’ll be watching closely to see how the range performs in future surveys.

Warranty

All Fords come with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which is about average for this class. The cover also includes one-year roadside breakdown cover, but you can buy warranty extensions.

Servicing

Generally, thanks to the mass market nature of the Focus ST, scheduled maintenance costs should be reasonable. You can buy a pre-paid servicing pack for the car, which costs £340 for two years or £570 for three – but you have to stump up the cash before the first service.

You can also take advantage of a Service Assure plan, if required, which spreads the costs of servicing across monthly instalments. Buyers should also be aware that the Focus ST is likely to eat its way through tyres as a result of all that power.

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