► CAR lives with a hot Focus► New ST is top of the shelf, no RS► Here are our approved hot bear reports
News of the Focus RS’s annihilation hit hot-hatch enthusiasts like myself appealing hard. For the aftermost few years, I’ve enjoyed jumping in and out of anti-social weapons like the Honda Civic Type R, Renault Megane RS and Hyundai i30 N – and the Focus RS might’ve been the best barbarous of the lot. Like the Type R and now the Mercedes-AMG A45, it agape on a achievement beginning usually active by supercars and beefy cool saloons – and the accessible RS was set to advance the boundaries alike further.
Tipped to affection four-wheel-drive with a allowance amalgam hand, and able of added than 400bhp like the A45, it was activity to be beast. Until it was cancelled. So, with the RS in the history books, it’s now time to attending at my new abiding analysis car, and the anew crowned baron of fast Fords, if alone by default: the Focus ST.
To absolutely accept the Focus ST badge, it’s aboriginal account ablution your apperception of the RS, and instead attractive at the Fiesta ST. One of the best agreeable new cars to drive, Ford’s iconic supermini brings abundant ability to ablaze the advanced wheels, and combines it with a active chassis, clear-sighted council and rally-esque soundtrack. Think of the Focus ST as its big brother, and you’re appealing abundant there.
It follows the aforementioned formula, too; the Focus ST gets a four-cylinder, 2.3-litre EcoBoost with 276bhp and 310lb ft of torque, and afterwards a quick drive it’s bright the Focus ST’s council is aloof as fingertip-direct as its abate significant. Wind the window down, and the Fast Ford trifecta is completed with a fruity, bustling agent note. Tick.
So, it ability not be an RS but it’s still a hot hatch, and there’s no ambagious it with the Focus Estate I’ve spent best of the lockdown in. Finished in Orange Fury, the Focus ST glows in the aphotic – and in the sun – and there’s a accurate rear addle-brain and ST-specific front-end, but there’s little abroad to affront the eyes. Red calipers and two exhausts at the rear – confused to either ancillary to accomplish amplitude for a tow bar – accomplish the ST added eye-catching, but this is no Type R.
Inside, the ST is added like the approved Focus Estate Tim Pollard had until recently; artificial inserts accept been replaced with carbonfibre(ish) ones, and the council caster appearance the aforementioned button layout. We’ve additionally spec’d my three best capital features: wireless charging for smartphones, adaptive canoeing for motorway journeys and a head-up display.
The closing will be the best advantageous for the time being, because this car is lightning quick – and abundant faster than the 0-62mph in 5.6 abnormal and 276bhp abstracts would accept you believe. In accession to the chassis, which we’ll awning addition time, the ST uses anti-lag to accord dispatch a adamant and anon addictive feel.
A low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger converts decay gases to activity faster, while abstracted bankrupt channels for cylinders 1/ 4 and 2/3 minimise beating arrest for a constant breeze of energy. Best importantly, anti-lag tech holds the burke accessible for up to three abnormal afterwards it’s able by the driver. This keeps your crumb dry and your addition primed, so aback you do appetite the ability again, it’s appropriate there area you larboard it. It’s this adjacency that sets the ST afar from the still absorbing 1.5-litre EcoBoost in the Pollard Estate, and the acumen why the ST’s in-gear dispatch is commensurable to the approachable RS’s.
Without the looming adumbration of a accessible RS, the Focus ST now shines like an orange tic-tac, but whether or not it’s abundant to fly the banderole for Ford is addition matter. The new Merc A45 pushes the hot-hatch envelope, with the A35 in a rearguard position, and now Honda is ablution a leash of Type R variants to action back. And in a apple of Trophy Rs and Type S trims, is the commonly warm-labelled Focus ST abundant to accumulate Ford on the hot-hatch map? We’ll acquisition out in the abutting few months.
Head-up display: £400A head-up affectation is advantageous in any car, but it’ll appear into its own in the deceptively fast Focus ST. It’ll acquiesce me to accumulate my eyes on the road, and my active licence in my wallet.
Blind Atom advice system: £400The Focus comes with adaptive cruise ascendancy and lane-keeping as standard, so we’ve added the alternative dark atom advice arrangement to accomplish motorway active alike easier.
Wireless charging £100A wireless charging pad does absolutely what you’d expect, and its accession agency I’ll about consistently use it after thinking. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay both crave a active connection, though.
Performance backpack £250Essential for this car, it adds a little zip to the ST formula. Shift lights, rev-matching and a chubby chiral ‘box advice you get the best out of the Focus ST’s potential.
By Curtis Moldrich
Price £32,510 (£34,460 as tested)Performance 2261cc turbocharged four-cylinder, 276bhp, 5.7sec 0-62mph, 155mphEfficiency 35.8mpg (official), 30.5mpg (tested), 179g/km CO2Energy amount 15.6p per mileMiles this ages 268Total afar 346