The engine makes a very pleasingly sporty sound, one that you are constantly aware of as you drive, but it is not unduly raucous.
Comfort and Refinement
Interior comfort is pretty good. The foundation of this car is a five-door Focus, so headroom and knee space are the same as you would expect of Ford’s mid-range family car. The front seats are huggy sports Recaros, which are both very comfortable and suitably grippy for fast cornering in a high-performance car.
The engine makes a very pleasingly sporty sound, one that you are constantly aware of as you drive, but it is not unduly raucous. Although more obtrusive than you would expect of a lower-powered model, it suits the personality of the car and is very agreeable aural wallpaper for the driving experience. General refinement is reasonable for a car with this level of performance.
Safety and Security
The Focus is a Euro NCAP five-star car. There is a driver assistance pack that includes three-mode Electronic Stability Control, which comprises standard mode, a Sport setting to let a very capable driver lessen the level of anti-skid protection, and ESC cannot also be turned off specific conditions such as for track driving. Also featured is lane departure warning, which vibrates the steering wheel if you drift out of lane, and a lane keeping aid that guides you back into the correct lane. Another safety aid included in the driver assistance pack is a driver alert system that monitors your driving behaviour to detect any changes caused by fatigue, and warns when a break from the wheel is becoming overdue.
Other driver aids include auto headlamp dipping, active city stop to avoid low-speed traffic collision by automatically applying the brakes if the car detects imminent impact, and radar-based blind spot information system as an alert not to pull out if another vehicle is in the zone where you can’t see it.
A Thatcham category 1 alarm system is standard kit.
The Focus ST comes with a DAB radio-CD player with Ford’s Sync in-car connectivity including USB and Aux, with a voice control system. The higher-spec Focus ST2 has Sony stereo kit with a 4.2-inch display screen. Sound quality is excellent.
- Vauxhall Astra VXR
- Volkswagen Golf GTI
What We Liked
- Lots of power, fun to drive
- Very lively performance
- Excellent handling
- Strong colours
- Sporty but not ostentatious
- Recaro sports seats
- Nearly 40 mpg when driven reasonably
What We Disliked
- Mild torque steer under heavy acceleration
What We Would Like To See
- Ford’s absolutely brilliant new add-on gadget, automatic pop-out door edge protectors, included in the car’s standard kit. But they’re only £50 a set as an extra, and well worth it. A genius invention. Every car should have them.
Bravo Ford. The Focus ST is a terrific piece of kit, a rapid missile that is stunning to drive, sounds good, is agile and delivers a lot of performance and great handling for not too serious money. This is a hot hatch supercar that is also docile enough at low speeds to live with on a daily basis. With a vibrant colour palette, here is a car that begs to be noticed, but won’t break the bank. We love it17 September 2012
Ford Focus Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Ford Focus ST-3|
|Body Type||3-door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6.5 Seconds|
|Top Speed||154 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||50.4 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5-Stars|
|Warranty||3 Years / 60,000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 17/09/12)||£21,995|