Ford Focus ST review

Category: Hot hatch

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:diesel, petrol
Available colours:
Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD infotainment
Add to shortlist
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 front cornering shot
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 rear right cornering shot
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD rear seats
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 right side panning
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD front seats
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD boot open
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 front cornering shot
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 rear right cornering shot
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD dashboard
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD rear seats
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD infotainment
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 right side panning
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD front seats
  • Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD boot open
RRP £30,250What Car? Target Price from£29,351
Share review

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Focus ST hatchback is more expensive to buy than the rival Hyundai i30N and Renault Megane RS; in fact it’s more expensive than the entry-level version of the Honda Civic Type R, which is a car many would perceive as occupying the performance bracket above. As for the estate version, it’s priced above its Seat Leon ST Cupra and Skoda Octavia vRS Estate rivals.

So for performance-per-pound, this isn’t a cheap hot hatchback, but the ST comes well equipped. As standard you get 19in alloy wheels, climate control, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, power-folding door mirrors, a heated windscreen, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. That said, most of its rivals, including the Civic Type R and i30N, are very well equipped, too.

You don’t buy something this powerful if you’re after world record fuel economy, but the petrol versions can officially manage an average of around 34mpg, while the diesels push that to about 50mpg. In our tests, which include a mix of roads to give a real-world average, we managed 32.1mpg for a petrol ST, and for context, 34.8mpg for the more powerful Civic Type R.

As for safety, the Focus fared very well its Euro NCAP appraisal, scoring five stars overall. You get traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard, while blindspot monitoring is on the options list.

The regular Focus finished third from the bottom in its class in our 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, a disappointing result that places the Focus ST behind the Civic Type R. And Ford as a brand finished a middling 14th out of 31 manufacturers, again putting it behind the likes of Honda and Hyundai. 

Ford Focus ST 2019 RHD infotainment

Overview

The Ford Focus ST is a bit of an anomaly. It’s a fine mid-performance hot hatchback, offering playful handling, decent pace and a generally palatable ride. It’s also very well equipped and spacious, which all sounds perfect until you look at its price. It’s priced in contention with the Honda Civic Type R, and as good as the Focus ST is, it cannot hold a candle to that car’s breadth of talents. Petrol versions are preferable to the oddball diesel, though.

  • Strong engine
  • Great driving position
  • Grippy and balanced
  • Pricier than a Civic Type R, Megane RS and i30N
  • Rivals have classier interiors
  • Steering could be better

Also consider

Suzuki Swift Sport

2020 - present

The Suzuki Swift Sport is well equipped and fun to drive, but...

Audi S3

2020 - present

Impressive point-to-point pace, confidence inspiring dynamics...

Toyota GR Yaris

2020 - present

One of the most characterful and entertaining hot hatches of t...

Peugeot 308 GTi

2020 - present

The Peugeot 308 GTi is fast and well equipped, but it isn't as...