Ford Focus ST 2013 Review

Ford Focus ST 2013 Review

There is no point in buying the Ford Focus ST if you don’t like excitement. You will also want to give it a very wide berth if you look at manufacturer-supplied fuel economy figures and think that you’ll want to drive sensibly enough to match them. You won’t. Oh no, you’ll be taking long drives by yourself. The ST will be your secret lover and you will be burying those aluminium pedals into the carpet so you can adore the sonorous four-cylinder turbo howl from the two-litre EcoBoost motor.

ford-focus-st-2012-rqThis sound is piped into the cabin rather than letting the firewall transmit the acoustics, and you notice a definite change in engine tone as the revs rise. 184kW and 360Nm of torque means 100kph will come up in 6.5 seconds if you’re good enough at swapping cogs in the six-speed manual gearbox, but it’s not the acceleration that’s the high point of the Ford’s performance, it’s the cornering.

ford-focus-st-2012-front-interiorDirect steering is the foundation of any car that feels sporty, and the Focus has it. Only when the torque threatens to overwhelm the front wheels do electronics intervene and you lose a little bit of the connection, but basically the Focus is at home on a long sweeper or a tight switchback and everything in between. And when you’ve finished with that, put your sensible hat back on and you can cruise back home at motorway speeds getting fuel economy under 8l/100km. My trip from downtown Auckland to Whangaparaoa town centre and back achieved 7.8l/100km; Ford quotes 7.2l/100km combined.

ford-focus-st-2012-front-seatsI love the Recaro seats. I have to say that my passenger at one point didn’t love the seats so much, thinking that they were pushing her shoulders forward. But I didn’t care because they hug my latissimus dorsii like a teenage girl hugs a chocolate Labrador puppy, and that creates moments of cornering bliss. The inserts, piping and lettering make them the stand-out feature of the whole car.

The steering wheel features an ST badge, and is adorned with various buttons and switches for cruise control and media centre. There are three dials on the top of the dash that tell you what the turbo and oil are doing, and in the main instrument cluster there’s a comprehensive trip computer. Where the interior falls down is the poorly designed centre dash area where you’re going to spend too much time with your eyes off the road trying to accomplish some kind of change in settings or music. Ford needs to take a new design approach with this area and implement a larger touchscreen with a better operating system and graphical user interface.

ford-focus-st-2012-rear-seatsIn the rear the seats are comfortable, but leg room is cramped. The boot has an average amount of space (316 litres), but there are split folding rear seats to make it more versatile.

Being the sports version, you miss out on the City Safe collision avoidance system, Active Park, and Adaptive Cruise Control that the Titanium model has, but there is still a raft of safety features (ABS, EBD, EBA, DSC, Hill Launch Assist, a reversing camera, parking sensors and a 5-star EuroNCAP rating). The ST also gets an alarm, which the Titanium doesn’t.

ford-focus-st-2012-central-consoleEven though it is very grin-inducing on the road, it has some frustrating characteristics: rubbish interior storage space, difficult media and features operation via the screen and a couple of other very minor quirks. However, they are outweighed by the multitude of beautiful details that make this hot hatch quite possibly the best hot hatch in this price range.

Yes, you can get a Mazda MPS for three grand less, but it’s all squiffy up the front end because it doesn’t deal with the power as well. If you’re really considering the Mazda you’ll want to wait for the new 3 that comes out early 2014 because it looks like it’ll be astonishing.

You could go budget and look at the Nissan Pulsar SSS, which is way less, but it feels like a cheap car with a boob job and make-up. Or you could look at the evergreen VW Golf GTI (we get to play with that in a few weeks), but that is seven grand more expensive.

I think my money is on the Focus. The engine tone is right, the details are pleasing and the handling is spot on. Front-wheel drive and sporty: it’s a difficult equation, but the Focus pulls it off.

Price: $52,840

Pros

  • The performance and handling balance is right

Cons

  • Fiddly controls
  • Limited storage options

Fuel Economy

Combined fuel economy (L/100km)           7.2

Fuel

Ford Easyfuel® capless refuelling

Fuel        95 – 98 RON7

Fuel – BioFuel compatibility           E10

Fuel tank capacity (L)       55

Emissions Data

CO2 emissions (g/km) 169

Euro Stage V compliant

Safety

Adjustable Speed Limiting Device (ASLD) with cruise control

Airbags – Driver & front passenger

Airbags – Side curtain front & rear

Airbags – Side thorax front

Brakes – Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

Brakes – Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)

Brakes – Emergency (hazard warning) brake lights

Brakes – Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)

Hill launch assist

Reverse camera

Safety rating – Euro NCAP              5 star

Seatbelts – Beltminder™ system (Driver & front passenger)

Seatbelts – Pre-tensioners front

Seats – ISOFIX child seat attachments 9

Sensors – Rear parking sensors

Security

Alarm

Immobiliser – Passive Anti-theft System (PATS)

Locking – Childproof rear door locks

Locking – Remote power central

Smart key – Keyless entry & start

Engine

EcoBoost 2.0L I4 GTDi (Gasoline Turbo Direct injection)

Active grille shutter

Cylinders              4

Displacement (cc)             1,999

Power – maximum (DIN) 184kW @ 5,500rpm

Torque – maximum (DIN)               360Nm @ 2,000-4,500rpm

Transmission

6-speed manual

Brakes

Front & rear – ST unique disc brakes

Front (mm)          320 x 25

Rear (mm)           271 x 11

Suspension

Front – Macpherson strut suspension with isolated subframe and electric variable ratio steering. Shocks, springs, anti-roll bars and spring aids adopted to ST requirements.

Rear – Control blade rear suspension derived from Focus RS. Shocks, springs, anti-roll bars and spring aids adopted to ST requirements.

Sports suspension – ST unique

Steering

Electric Power – Assisted Steering (EPAS)

Enhanced Torque Vectoring Control

Turning circle – minimum kerb to kerb (m)      12

Steering column – Adjustable reach & rake

Wheels & Tyres

Wheel size           18″

Wheel type         Alloy

Tyre size              235/40 R18

Spare wheel        Mini

Exterior Styling

Spoiler – Rear sports

Sports style body kit – ST unique

Lights

Daytime LED running lights

Headlights – Automatic

Headlights – Bi-Xenon with static cornering lights

Headlights – Follow-me-home

Fog lights

Rear LED tail lights

Visibility

Mirrors – Auto-dimming rear view mirror

Mirrors – Power adjustable, auto folding, heated with side indicators

Wipers – Fixed intermittent rear

Wipers – Rain sensing

Wipers – Variable intermittent front

Comfort & Convenience

Air conditioning – Dual zone climate control

Cruise control

Lighting – Ambient (Red LED)

Lighting – Front & rear LED

Power – 12V socket in centre console

Windows – Power

Storage

Map pockets – Driver & front passenger

Seats & Seatbelts

Head restraints – Height adjustable front & rear

Rear seats – 60:40 split

Seat adjust – Manual 4-way passenger

Seat adjust – Manual 4-way driver

Seats – Recaro sports seats

Trim – Partial leather

Interior Styling

Mats – ST unique carpet front & rear

Steering wheel – Leather

Audio, Communications & Instruments

Audio – 3.5mm auxiliary input

Audio – Premium Sony system with 9 speakers

Audio – Steering wheel mounted controls

Audio – USB auxiliary input

Bluetooth® mobile phone integration with voice control

Ford Power Start button

Satellite navigation system

SYNC Gen 1 – In vehicle communications system

Trip computer

Exterior Dimensions (mm)

Height – Overall  1,484

Kerb Weight (kg)    1,437

Length – Overall 4,362

Track – Front (min-max depending on wheel offset)             1,544 – 1,554

Track – Rear (min-max depending on wheel offset)              1,534 – 1,544

Wheelbase          2,648

Width – Overall with mirrors         2,010

Width – Overall without mirrors   1,823

Interior Dimensions (mm)

Front – Head room           993

Front – Leg room              1,094

Front – Shoulder room     1,411

Rear – Head room             963

Rear – Leg room (nominal 95% driver position)      848

Rear – Shoulder room      1,336

Luggage Capacity (L)

With mini spare tyre – Seats folded            1,101

With mini spare tyre – Seats upright           316

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