Ford Focus Pre Model ST 5dr Car Review - June 2013

REVIEW
List Price: £22,295
Tax Band: H
Insurance Group: 34
MPG: 39.2
CO2: 169
0-62 Mph: 6.5 secs
BHP: 247 BHP
Range: 535 miles
CarSite Verdict:  3.5/5
The Focus replaced the venerable Escort as the mid-sized family hatchback in the Ford line up back in 1998, and is now into its third generation. The Focus ST is the sporty variant in the range, and is the spiritual successor to the Escort XR3i of the 1980s. Just like its forebear, the Focus ST will do battle in the hot hatch sector against the Volkswagen Golf GTi, something which is a not inconsiderable task. But how does the Focus ST shape up to that task?

PROS:  Powerful and quick, a credible and affordable 5-door hot hatch.

CONS:  Falls short of matching the Golf GTi for driver engagement and value for money.

Behind the Wheel

To take on the Volkswagen Golf GTi, Ford have equipped the Focus ST with a 247bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 4-cylinder power plant produces 265 lb-ft of torque hurls the Focus ST to 62mph from a standing start in just six-and-a-half seconds, and the needle will keep rising until it hits 154mph. It shares the same characteristics as previous ST models, in that straight line speed and acceleration are its main weapons, and while grip and balance are good the steering feels less predictable and responsive than in a Golf GTi, which the Focus more twitchy under heavy acceleration. The driving position is excellent however, and inside the Focus ST also features a set of sports seats providing marvellous levels of support.

Looks & Equipment

The Focus ST is not available as a 3-door, but with its rakish looks that does nothing to detract from its hot hatch credentials. The 5-door body sits on butch alloys which help give the Focus an aggressive demeanour, along with other understated little telltale symbols that this is a special fast Ford such as discreet ST badging and rear boot spoiler. Kit wise, the Focus ST gets power steering, central locking, stability control, alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric door mirrors, electric windows, alarm, immobiliser, bluetooth, and CD player with MP3 connectivity all as standard. Optional extras can be added for an extra cost, for example metallic paint for £525.

Practicality, Safety & Reliability

The Ford Focus ST boasts a top five-star overall rating from Euro NCAP, the independent European consumer organisation that performs crash and safety tests on all new car release on the continent. The car does have a full compliment of driver, passenger, and front side airbags as standard, as well as other driver safety aids, for example stability control. New buyers will be pleased to find the car comes with a 3-year, 60,000-mile manufacturers warranty, but will be considerably less impressed with the Ford Focus’ performance in this years influential JD Power customer satisfaction survey, where the Focus came in 81st place with a below average score of 76.8%. The 5-door body style does win brownie points for passenger space and accessibility compared to three door hot hatches, however the boot space is a disappointing 316 litres. That does grow to 1101 with the split folding rear seats lowered, but both of those figures are inferior to the boot space in a 3-door Golf GTi

Value for Money

The Ford Focus ST has a price tag of £21,995 or, to put it another way, is just under £4,000 cheaper to buy than the equivalent Volkswagen Golf GTi, a hot hatch with similar performance figures. That lower purchase price is tempered by higher running costs, with the Focus ST returning a combined 39.2mpg compared to the 47.1mpg returned by the Golf GTi. The Golf is greener too, churning out 30g/km of CO2 less than the Focus, and as a result is cheaper to tax. Although the Ford Focus ST is a very good hot hatch, it just isn’t as accomplished an all-rounder at the Golf, which will likely holds its value better as a result.

Ford Focus Pre Model ST 5dr Car Review - by 
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