The Focus ST (FoST) finds itself as the middle child in a three-child hot-hatch family. It’s sandwiched between the Fiesta ST hot hatch (which is still one of my absolute favourite vehicles I’ve ever driven) and the roaring Focus RS, which is jam-packed with power. In existence since 2013, the FoST isn’t quite “old” like the previous generation Volvo XC90 (which went far too long without an update) but it’s not quite “new” anymore, seeing as four years in the auto world is creeping up on a lifetime.
However, the benefit the FoST holds is that it gives you the best of both worlds in the performance hatch for the blue oval.
Powering this practical and powerful Focus is a 2.0L EcoBoost turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine (I love how Ford’s created this) spitting out 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft. of torque. The best part? It’s only available with a six-speed three pedal iteration. And that manual gearbox is impressive with its smooth and precise shifting, along with three aluminum pedals that have rubber grip dots on them (strangely, the gas pedal doesn’t have any grips…)
Handling and cornering are done sharply and with ease in this performance hatch and having that boost in horsepower also boosts the fun factor.
Booting around Mississauga and rural Milton was a blast, especially when you have open road ahead to open up the engine and see what the FoST can really do.
The Electric Assisted Power Steering reduces the over/under steer factor and there’s still a good amount of real steering feel for your two hands as you twist and turn the steering wheel.
There’s also Torque Vectoring Control to keep you firmly planted on the road and Active Grille Shutters for increased efficiency.
With a bigger engine and more ponies, fuel efficiency sees a moderate rise compared to the non ST trims. Ratings come in at 10.5 city, 7.8 highway and 9.3 combined for L/100 km, which will vary depending on your style of driving.
Inside, the majority of the car is Focus-esque but the few differences are beautiful.
The gear shift knob is made from carbon fiber with ST badging and looks/feels beautiful and comfortable. I really like that Ford used this as a badging opportunity where as many other manufacturers pass this by.
The heated leather steering wheel is flat bottomed, again with ST badging at the bottom and the jewel of the interior are the heated leather Recaro seats with, yup, you guessed it, ST badging. The side and thigh bolsters are quite large and will easily keep you in place through the turns. My upper half is portly so I just fit into the side bolsters (maybe I should use it as a motivator to lose some weight) and perhaps some who are larger framed than myself may find it difficult to fit into the seats. Overall for me, the seats were comfortable and held me in place nicely.
SYNC 3 is proving to be a wonderful upgrade and I’m still impressed with it and how easy it is to utilize. The 8” screen is recessed a bit so if you have long fingernails, it may be a slight obstacle to make actual contact with the screen…good thing the guitarist in me keeps my fingernails constantly trimmed.
If there’s something I’d change, it’s the location of the Start/Stop button, as for me, it’s too far hidden behind the steering wheel and on an angle. Yes, I know where it is and if I bought the car, I’m certain I’d get used to it.
My FoST was given the $1,500 upgrade that included voice-activated navigation and those oh-so beautiful 18” machined aluminum 5-spoke wheels, which really give the car an athletic stance.
Out of the box, the car runs at $33,498 and if you want the Race Red colour in the pictures, it’s only an extra $100.
So while it can be said that the FoST may have an identity crisis on its hands (wheels?) I find it the most appealing of the three (RS and Fiesta ST) for my lifestyle. I want the power, I want the comfort, I want the utilitarianism and I want it all in one vehicle. The FoST is practical enough to be a solid daily driver and can also be used for fun Sunday drives in rural conditions. There’s certainly no drab side here and as the hot hatch market isn’t quite as wide as the crossover world, it’s good to know that Ford has three solid offerings for consumers.
Enjoy the full gallery below: