2014 Ford Focus ST priced from £22,195

  •  Great value hot hatch gets face-lift and cabin upgrades
  •  Diesel option for first time; 182bhp and 0-62mph in 8.1sec
  •  New suspension and steering to sharpen handling

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This is the 2015 Ford Focus ST, which gets the same face-lift as the standard car, along with revised suspension and steering, and high-tech cabin upgrades.

What engines can I choose from?

The big news for this model is that you’ll be able to choose a hot diesel Focus ST for the first time. It won’t be badged any differently to the petrol car, but gets a 182bhp 2.0-litre TDCi engine under the bonnet. It does promises 0-62mph in 8.1 seconds, and to return up to 64.2mpg while emitting 110g/km of CO2.

The diesel’s acceleration puts it on par with the equivalent Skoda Octavia vRS, but the VW Golf GTD and Seat Leon TDI 184 FR are both even quicker. Choose the petrol engine and you get the same 247bhp 2.0-litre Ecoboost unit, which gives an unchanged 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds. It is slightly more efficient than the outgoing model, now up to 41.5mpg, thanks to the addition of stop-start technology. CO2 emissions are 159g/km.

What else has changed?

New front springs, revised shock absorbers and recalibrated power steering are claimed to sharpen handling with more responsive turn-in. Tweaked torque vectoring settings and new engine mounts should also mean better traction through corners and off the line – and hopefully less torque steer.

Styling changes are as per the standard Ford Focus. Thinner headlights – now offered with adaptive lights – sit either side of a slimmer trapezoid grille. Oblong foglights are integrated into the front bumper. At the rear, the chunky tail-lights have been shrunk slightly, and there is wider bumper. A dark grey paint called Stealth has been added to the ST colour options, and new 19-inch wheels and tyres are optional. As with the outgoing car, the ST is available as a five-door hatch or an estate.

What's it like inside?

In the cabin, the Focus ST gets the new Sync 2 software and 8.0-inch touch-screen display, with a simple set of audio controls beneath. The new software has high-tech voice control that can interpret sentiments. For example, saying ‘I’m hungry’ will cue up a list of local restaurants, and you can then tell the sat-nav to take you to one. The flat-bottomed leather-trimmed steering wheel completes the cabin upgrades.

How good are its rivals?

The Focus ST has never faced such a wide range of competition, but the outgoing model is nevertheless very accomplished.

Hardcore rivals such as the Renaultsport Megane and everyday champs like the VW Golf GTI are both better buys, but they are also more expensive.

How much will it cost?

The Focus ST starts at £22,195, which gets you either the diesel or the petrol in ST-1 trim. ST-1 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, a rear spoiler, Recaro sports seats with fabric trim, keyless start, Ford's torque vectoring control and DAB digital radio.

ST-2 trim starts at £23,695, and adds a heated windscreen, automatic headlights and wipers, dual-zone air-conditioning. ST-3 trim adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen, xenon headlights, electric and heated front seats, cruise control, red brake callipers, rear parking sensors and illuminated ST-branded front door scuff plates. This costs from £25,995.

The ST Estate costs £1100 more than the equivalent hatch in all three trims, and also comes with black roof rails.

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