Ford Focus ST-2
Week ending August 30
Miles this week 121
Ford Focus ST review
Getting behind the wheel of a Ford Focus is never a chore, and slipping into the driver’s seat of our long term ST for the first time last weekend took the experience to a whole new level.
After a couple of weeks in the company of mini-SUVs, starting the engine of a car that’s made purely for the drive was sweet relief.
Everything about the Focus ST feels tight and, erm, focused, from the figure-hugging sport seats to the slick gear changes. That playful rumble whenever you so much think about the throttle is truly a joyous sound, too.
The Focus and I didn’t venture far, but it was the perfect ‘something a bit different’ for taking my parents, who were visiting for the weekend, on a jaunt through Richmond Park and out for Sunday lunch in style.
They were both fans of the car’s looks, electric blue paint and the smooth ride (I was on my best behaviour), although my mum preferred the more dignified exit from the flat bench in the back than the bucket front passenger seats.
By Emma Butcher
Week ending August 9
Miles this week 400
I love my Focus. On the right road, at the right time, it's great fun. Yes, it can be a handful, but it's also a hoot.
However, there are also times when it can be a pain. Mainly when you're bumbling around a car park, looking for the last space – because the Focus is not a car to 'nip' into spaces with.
Why? Mainly because it has the turning circle of your average orbiting satellite. Spot a handy space, twirl on to full lock and watch with dismay as the nose prescribes an arc far wider than you expected. You'll likely end up facing the car you intended to park next to.
It's best to not bother with all those urban shenanigans. Just get the Focus out on to an empty stretch of A-road and let rip - then everything is right with the world again. It's so good it'll make you want to turn round and do the road again, purely for the sake of it. Just make sure there's a wide enough area at each end to run around in.
By Euan Doig
With 247bhp, 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, and a cheap and cheerful list price of £23,495, our Focus ST is certainly attractive on paper.
It's not bad on the road either. The acceleration soon becomes addictive, the gearbox is a delight, and the (artificially enhanced) engine noise is rousing. The roadholding initially seems immense, and the handling marvellously adjustable, agile, and yes, on occasion tremendous fun.
But I am not so easily charmed as to be completely sold on this car. Alas the variable-ratio steering is deceitful. Initially it's so rewarding, beautifully weighted with a delightfully quick response, but its 1.8 turns lock to lock reveal a monstrous turning circle of 39.4ft. Such a compromise reveals something not quite as good as it could be - one soon learns to avoid three-point turns.
And then there's the thorny issue of torque steer. In this car, it's a massive issue. There are times when even my passengers quaked in terror as I fought the wheel for supremacy. Is this also a sign of deficient engineering, or does it just add to the boy-racer appeal of this hot hatch Ford?
I suppose we shouldn't complain either about its inability to show more than 25mpg on its digital readout. It is a performance car, after all, and at its best when being used like one. At least the Recaros are supportive, and the ride surprisingly supple.
As for the rest of it, it's just a Ford Focus, in other words beginning to feel a bit old–fashioned. Considered as a Ford Focus though, this flawed but fun trickster is, if you can afford to fuel it, definitely the one to have.
By Mark Pearson