Fast Fords have been around a long time, and one of the most talented models currently on sale is the ST variant of the Ford Focus. Excellent handling, powerful engines and an accessible driving experience are all trademarks of a fast Ford and the Focus ST is no different. There’s even a diesel version this time!
You can buy the Focus ST in one of three trim levels – ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3. All share the same engines, handling and basic features that differentiate themselves from the standard Focus. A bodykit, larger wheels, spoiler, special ST gearknob, scuff plates, and an enhanced version of the torque vectoring system are standard on all Focus ST models, but there are lots of equipment differences between each trim.
Ford Focus ST-1
The most basic ST-1 costs from £22,495 but it still offers a reasonable range of equipment. There’s air conditioning, fabric Recaro sport seats and a CD/DAB audio system complete with aux input for MP3 players. Ford’s basic Sync infotainment system is also standard, but here here is just Bluetooth and a colour TFT instrument cluster display between the dials.
However, if you’re looking to personalise your ST then the ST-1 may not be for you. Very few options are available, not even sat-nav or folding door mirrors. Even the colours are limited, and you can’t pick either the now-traditional ST colour of Tangerine Scream or even the iconic Ford Deep Impact Blue.
Ford Focus ST-2
Step up a grade to the ST-2 trim and you get a host of extra equipment – although it’ll cost you £1,750 over the ST-1. There are now part-leather Recaro seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights (with LED running lights) and automatic rain sensing wipers. But more important to some buyers will be the available options.
Most buyers will opt for the Style Pack, which adds 19-inch alloys, privacy glass, red brake calipers and illuminated scuff plates for £800. You can add a powered sunroof (only on hatchback models) for £575, a heated steering wheel for £95, and the more advanced £250 Sync2 navigation system seems like a bit of a bargain.
On the safety front there’s also a rear-view camera (£250), active city stop (£200) and blind spot information system (£525), with a Driver Assistance Pack that adds lane departure warning, lane keeping aid, traffic sign recognition and auto high beam for £550. A city pack (£325) includes rear parking sensors and folding mirrors, and keyless entry is an additional £350, although disappointingly cruise control is an option at £250.
The ST-2 also includes the chance to have your Focus in a better variety of colours, but the Tangerine Scream colour that most pictures show the car in is an eye-watering £750.
Ford Focus ST-3
If you want your Focus ST fully specced then you’d best opt for the ST-3 version. For an additional £2,050 over the the ST-2, you get a lot of extras included, such as aspects of the Style Pack, keyless entry, parking sensors and folding side mirrors. There is also an upgraded Sync system, full leather Recaros with power adjustment and finally bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting and headlight washers.
In terms of extras, anything that isn’t standard from the ST-2’s option list can also be had on the ST-3, with the addition of a ‘premium’ navigation system that costs £400 instead of the standard version’s £250. On the outside, red brake calipers are standard and sit behind special ‘rock metallic’ 18 inch ST alloys. There’s also a unique solid ‘Stealth’ paint that is a no-cost option – take a look at our colours guide to get a better idea of all the ST colours.
It depends on why you’re buying your Focus ST as to which trim will suit you best. If you’re looking for a weekend track-day star that offers minimal fuss, then the ST-1 offers all you’re really going to need at a very reasonable price. Most buyers though, will benefit from the better specification of the ST-2 – that extra £1,750 goes a long way to making your Focus feel like a premium car, and there’s more value in the added kit you get than the extra cash you have to stump up.
If you intend to buy a really specced up Focus ST, then the ST-3 comes across as pretty good value too, but the extra £2,050 brings the price uncomfortably close to some pretty premium hot hatchbacks (step forward, VW Golf R), or some others that offer a smidge more power. We’d recommend sticking with the ST-2 because it offers all the options you’ll need and you can put the spare change towards some trackday tyres instead, or at least that orange paintjob.