Used car of the week: Ford Focus ST

The Focus ST is a fantastic used hot hatch, but there are some important things to look out for before you buy. Here's everything you need to know

Words By Doug Revolta

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Ford has been turning heads at motor shows recently with high-powered efforts like the Ford GT and the Ford Focus RS.

A GT will set you back more than $140,000, while the Focus RS will cost around Β£30,000 when it goes on sale next year. However, cast your eyes over the classifieds and you’ll see that a fast and reliable fun Ford can be yours from around Β£11,000.

Ideal model Ford Focus ST2 5dr
Prices from Β£11,000

Why should I buy a used Ford Focus ST?

The power is relentless, the drive is thrilling and the joys are limitless. Why shouldn’t you buy a Ford Focus ST is the more pertinent question, and with the new version on sale now priced from Β£22,195, it’s a good time to hunt for a bargain on the used car market.

Our used car of the week, then, is the Focus ST, specifically the model manufactured from 2006-2010 that precedes the outgoing example. It comes with a 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that’ll see off the 0-60mph sprint in 6.5sec thanks to its 222bhp and fearsome torque band.

It’s also a car that's easy to live with and can cope as a fast family car. It’ll accommodate four adults in the cabin, and boot space is generous enough to handle everyday practical tasks.

All this fun doesn’t come for free, though. Be prepared for high road tax and poor economy, but it’s a small price to pay for this great car.

Which model should I choose?

The ST2 is the pick of the trims available. It comes with a heated windscreen and xenon headlights on top of the standard 18in alloys, sports seats and sporty body kit that come with the standard models.

We’d also opt for the five-door version, because there’s not a great deal of difference in price and it’ll be more practical.

How much should I pay?

If you’re willing to invest the time in searching for a used model – and aren’t put off by cars that are more than six years old – there are a few examples from 2008 priced from Β£7000 to Β£8000 and with around 100,000 miles on the clock.

Up your budget to Β£11,000 and you’ll find some pristine examples of used ST2s that have covered around 50,000 miles from 2010.

What problems should I look out for?

The Focus ST is a fantastic hot hatch, but this means that some used models may have suffered from over-zealous driving on the part of previous owners. This can lead to a number of issues, so make sure you carry out some routine checks on the Focus ST before buying.

The turbocharged 2.5-litre engine that was sourced from Volvo should have near bombproof reliability, but check that the turbo is still working and pulling well in all gears without making excessive noise.

Many Focus ST owners decide to add a body kit to the car, so if you do buy privately then make sure any modifications have been fitted properly.

Be sure to ask for a full service history, both to check that the car has been maintained at regular intervals and to help identify any longstanding issues. Also carry out an HPI check online to make sure the car you're buying isn't a repaired write-off or has finance payments outstanding.

With a car this fast, it’s crucial that the brakes are in good condition, so give them a rigorous going over on the test drive.

Cosmetically, some owners have reported rust around the rear arches, so give them a thorough going over, and check the paintwork on the bonnet as there have been some reports of it flaking off.

Check out the Ford Focus STs available on the used approved section of our website.