by John Tallodi
The Ford Focus ST is a performance hatchback that offers strong pace and great handling ability while still being civilized enough to be a practical daily driver. The four-door body style and decent cargo space are plus points in this competitive segment. Having gone through some minor revisions over the past few years, the Focus ST enters 2017 largely unchanged.
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
The fit and finish of the interior is good as is the quality of materials used throughout the cabin. Seated behind the unique ST-styled steering wheel, the Focus features a number of other design touches such as unique sport front seats, a boost gauge and ST lettering to differentiate it from lesser models in the range.
The supportive front seats offer a range of adjustments to suit most occupants, the rear seats offer a tighter fit with less headroom for taller passengers.
Cargo space is adequate for the class, the split-folding rear seats do add to the practicality but this facility is standard on other competitors too.
The ST is the perfect tool to tackle mountain passes and challenging roads with, the sport-tuned suspension and sharp responses from the helm make it a very satisfying performance hatchback.
The ride is firm but absorbs most road undulations well, not something that can be said of all the competitors in its class. The cabin is quiet too so when you are not blasting down your favorite road the ST is quite capable of behaving like a relaxed cruiser.
The brakes are well up to the task of hauling the car down from high speeds and the accurate steering feel and lack of roll in corners give the ST top marks when it comes to the subjective issue of driving feel.
The 2017 Ford Focus ST is available with a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine which produces 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front-wheels and its sporting intentions are made clear in the fact that it can only be had with a 6-speed manual transmission.
The ST feels solid and unflustered when pushed and while the standard torque vectoring control does its best to quell any understeer it can sometimes get caught out when sudden acceleration is called upon especially in tight radius corners.
Thanks to its short gearing the ST's mid 6-second 0-60 mph time means that its arch nemesis, the Golf GTI, is initially quicker off the line but the ST has higher peak power figures and remains a fast car, in-gear acceleration is especially strong. Fuel consumption figures are decent considering the available power, with claimed figures of 22 mpg for city driving and 30 mpg on the highway.
The more notable standard features on the Ford Focus ST are climate control, 6-speaker audio system, 4.2-inch entertainment system with USB ports, leather-wrapped ST steering wheel, hill start assist, 18-inch alloy wheels and rearview camera.
The available ST2 Package adds cornering lamps, dual-zone climate control, power sunroof, 10-speaker audio system, 8-inch touchscreen, overhead console and AppLink which offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The ST3 includes the above and in addition offers power driver seat, ambient lighting, heated steering wheel, navigation, rear armrest and a Carbon fiber interior accent package.Certain options such as different 18-inch wheels and a navigation system can be ordered separately depending on the trim level.
The Ford Focus ST offers an enjoyable driving experience for the enthusiast while also being a practical and comfortable daily driver. The four door hatchback body style adds to its versatility and build quality is good too. While the competition is strong in this segment the ST remains a great option for the family man in a hurry.