The Focus ST has been sprucing up Ford dealerships across the country since late last summer. A welcome breath of fresh air after the SVT Focus made its exit in 2004. Of course, there was always the Mustang, but for those that didn’t take to the Pony Car crowd, Ford was lacking in choices. Hot hatches have been popular for years, thanks to the likes of the early Volkswagen GTI’s and Honda Civic Si’s. The Focus was Ford’s shot at attracting the import loving crowd but it didn’t really catch on in the states. The Focus RS and ST have been popular across the pond but until last year, performance Focus’s were driven on the wrong side of the road.
After hearing all the hype on the new fast Focus I decided to take one for a spin. It’s easy to tell the ST apart from a standard Focus. The large gaping grill is the first sign, followed by big 18 inch wheels wrapped in meaty 234/40-18 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires. Walk around the car to the rear and you’re greeted by center exit dual exhausts and a rear wing a-top the hatch. Even the taillights look sporty, almost as if they were applied when the car was going in reverse at 100 mph.
Inside the ST you’re greeted by the standard Ford thoroughfare for 2013, which is a considerable upgrade from the drab hard plastics that once greeted Ford owners. The center console is dominated by the infotainment screen, powered by Microsoft SYNC. It’s a little confusing at first but has a lot of useful features. You can even check sports scores. The leather wrapped Recaros come as part of a $4,435 option and they are A+, providing excellent support and they look great too. Driving the Focus ST is pure delight. The 2.0L Ecoboost is eager to reach for the redline and the boost gauge on top of the center console makes you feel like you’re driving a legitimate sports car. So is the ST a legitimate sports car? I’d say so. With 252 HP and 270 Ib-ft of torque the Focus ST is capable of reaching 6o MPH from a stand still in about 6 seconds. That’s nothing earth shattering but for a car that you can get for under 30k and haul your friends in it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. The slick shifting 6-speed is fun to row and a pleasant growl is emitted from the engine, even under moderate acceleration.
Torque steer is always a concern on FWD cars boasting this much power. My first car in high school was a Nissan Maxima SE and with just 190 horsepower full throttle coming out of a corner would cause the steering wheel to about leap out of your hands. Fortunately the Focus ST doesn’t have this problem. Torque-steer assist helps keep the meaty helm under control when aggressive throttle is being used. A tug is present but nothing uncontrollable considering the amount of power the little 2.0L puts down.
The Focus should be high on the list for anyone looking for an adrenaline filled commute to work or trip to pick up the kids from school. Comfortable seats make for pleasant extended drives and a comfortable ride than can quickly adjust to aggressive driving is always a plus. Competitively priced with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and Mazdaspeed 3, the Focus ST is a strong player in the hot hatch market and a welcomed addition to the Blue Ovals lineup.