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Ford Focus ST Test Drive
19.01.2017 02:29

The Ford Focus ST gains a power boost to take advantage of the conventional car's notable dynamics, plus range of petrol and diesel engines.

Ford has taken a more economical stance with the latest Focus ST, replacing the hungry old 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine from the previous generation with a 2.0-litre, turbocharged, four-cylinder EcoBoost unit. This engine provides more power in relation to the old model - a boost of 22bhp to 247bhp - and will sprint from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, while returning economy and emisisons of 41.5mpg and 159g/kilometers - a six per cent improvement over the pre-facelift version thanks to the addition of stop-start. However, if fuel economy is very important then the new 182bhp 2.0 TDCi model is the one to go for. Throttle response is not as frantic as the petrol version, and that's represented in the performance figures, but it's fast enough with lots of torque for effortless in-gear acceleration.

To ensure the most recent automobile sounds as good as the old car, a sound symposia has been fitted to the petrol and diesel models by Ford to improve the engine note. This provides a purposeful, growling soundtrack that will no doubt please quick Ford enthusiasts. In case you like the sound of the petrol model, but 247bhp isn't sufficient, Ford's official tuner, Mountune, can bolt on a performance upgrade that boosts the Focus ST's power to 272bhp, and torque to 400Nm. (Gumtree.com)In addition to taking all of 90-minutes to fit from a Mountune approved Ford dealer, it'll also set you back around 1,200. The Mountune upgrade is an official upgrade, therefore it will not invalidate the car's guarantee. But while the kit provides the Focus ST a lot of mid-range grunt, the further boost in power is a little too much for the chassis to manage.

It's worth noting the Focus ST merely includes a slick, six-speed manual gearbox, but when this is matched to a fresh front-wheel drive chassis as well as a torque vectoring system which ensures maximum traction, it makes the Ford Focus ST among the very best handling cars in its class. The electromechanical steering system includes a meaty weight to it, a higher ratio means it responds instantaneously just off centre. Used Nissan Qashqai Conversely, despite its extremely reactive steering and athletic credentials, the Ford Focus ST is, in addition, a remarkably competent long distance cruiser, thanks to its quiet cabin and hugely encouraging Recaro seats. If your criticism had to be made, it'd be that the Focus ST's ride at low rate is a tad too company, especially on the bigger 19-inch alloys.

The brand new 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine returns a combined cycle of 41.5mpg, plus CO2 emissions of 159g/kilometer - both improvements over the pre-facelift model thanks to the addition of stop-start. Nevertheless, these advancements still can not quite match those of the Golf GTI, with similar figures of 47.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 139g/kilometer. The diesel model fares better though returning 67.3mpg and 110g/km of CO2 - identical amounts to a VW Golf GTD fitted with a manual gearbox. Ford doesn't offer a pre-paid servicing pack like many of its hot hatch rivals, but thanks to the mass market nature of the Focus ST, scheduled maintenance prices should be acceptable. Used Honda Accord Buyers must even take note the Focus ST will probably eat its way through tyres as an effect of all that power. Depreciation is where Ford consistently falls down, and also the Focus ST isn't any distinct. Residual values are alarming for prospective buyers, as our experts forecast that the petrol ST will fight to hold onto 40 per cent of its own value after 36 months. The diesel version should do better though, with industry analyst COVER calling it's going to hold its value better than the Golf GTD.

The Focus ST could not be more different from one of its main competitors - the Volkswagen Golf GTI - when it comes to styling. While the Golf is subtle about its athletic qualifications, the Focus ST is everything you'd expect from a fast Ford. It definitely looks the part, thanks to some gaping mesh grille, 19-inch alloy wheels and also a wide selection of colours including Tangerine Scream orange on ST-2 and ST 3 versions. It is by no means understated, but that's what this type of auto is really all about. For the facelift, Ford has modernized the front end with a wider grille, slimmer headlights, rectangular foglights along with a more sculpted bonnet.

The sporty theme is continued on the interior of the Focus ST, also. Every automobile is kitted out with a broad selection of conventional kit including front Recaro sports seats, contrast piping, carbon fibre trim, additional gauges on the dash, a sports steering wheel, alloy pedals, a metal gear lever along with a generous distribution of ST badges through the cottage. Further up the range, Ford gives the Focus ST2 half leather trim, dual climate control and also a heated windscreen, while the range-topping ST-3 is further dampened by extravagances such as heated seats, full leather trim, and bi-xenon headlamps. In-line with the remainder of the Focus range, Ford has redesigned the interior with less buttons to get a classier look. An eight-inch touchscreen is now available (standard on ST3) fitted with Ford's latest Sync 2 infotainment system that features hi-resolution graphics, Bluetooth connectivity and also the best voice recognition system we have tested to date.

Ford's decision to make the Focus ST available in five-door hatch or estate body styles means a welcome dose of versatility has been brought to the hot hatch group. But while the hatch is more practical compared to the Renaultsport Megane 265, the Focus still has less boot space than the Volkswagen Golf GTI - the two autos offering 316-litre and 380-litre load bays respectively.

Happily, however, the inside of the Focus ST maintains the practicality of the standard Focus hatchback. This means general family paraphernalia could be kept in check using a sizable glovebox, deep door bins and plenty of cupholders. But, the Focus ST is not the perfect family car. Due to the greatly sculpted temperament of the Recaro bench seat in the rear of ST 3 models, three adults can only just fit in the back in a squeeze.

Ford has worked difficult to ensure the latest Focus is a step up over the old car, with the improved cabin and also a general feeling of solidity. The ST is also one of the safest hot hatches available on the market, thanks to conventional traction and stability control, a torque vectoring system, powerful brakes and suite of airbags throughout the cottage. These combine to greatly help the Focus ST achieve a maximum score of five-stars in Euro NCAP's crash safety evaluations. Moreover, Ford offers alternatives like a Motorist Aid Pack that adds safety crash avoidance, blind spot monitoring and lane keep assist to make the Focus ST that bit safer. It is not all good news, though. Ford didn't do well in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, completing a disappointing 25th out of 33 makers.


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