Ford Focus ST (2014-2018) review
The Ford Focus is a hot (or fast) hatchback that is based on the regular Focus. It joins a crowded market that includes the Honda Civic Type R, Volkswagen Golf GTI, SEAT Leon Cupra, and the Renaultsport Megane.
What's not so good
Ford Focus ST (2014-2018): what would you like to read next?
Prices start at £25,095 and you can buy your new Focus ST via carwow and save an average of £2,820.
The Focus is seen as a great all-rounder. It’s cheaper to buy than a Golf GTI, better in the corners than the SEAT and easier to live with than the Renaultsport Megane, which is quite noisy on the motorway.
Stiffer suspension than the standard car minimises body lean in corners, but the ride is still comfortable enough for bumpy UK roads.
Buyers can now buy a Focus ST with a diesel engine, which has lots of power for overtaking and returns excellent fuel economy. The petrol model is quicker still, though, making it the more popular choice with buyers.
The Focus ST isn't as classy as the Golf GTI but it'll put a bigger smile on your face
Although the Ford’s 316-litre boot is small for the class (a Golf has 380 litres) passenger space is decent enough, with room for four adults. The interior doesn’t match the quality seen in the Golf GTI, but the ST gets some go-faster touches over the normal Focus such as sports seats and extra dials.
All cars come fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, a sharp-looking bodykit, DAB digital radio and an infotainment system with voice control. MyKey is also fitted, which can limit the car’s speed and audio volume – ideal for parents loaning their car to a new driver. Our Focus ST trim level guide explains the various versions in more detail.
If you’d like more information about the dimensions of the Focus ST or the colours available, you will find it all using our helpful guides.
Here, the Focus ST really scores – it’s cracking fun to drive, has excellent handling balance and a magical pliancy when you’re driving fast over bumps. Cornering is flat and confident, the brakes aren’t fazed by repeated stops on twisty mountain roads and overall it has a loose and playful feel.
This is an excellent car to drive fast with a great balance of abilities
You get a choice of 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines. Although the petrol doesn’t sound as sporty as the five-cylinder engine in the previous Focus ST, it still has a lot of character.
Critics love the power (247hp) and the lump of torque available from low revs, and although it does make for unruly cornering if you’re a bit heavy-footed, there’s plenty of performance to be enjoyed – 0-60mph passes in 6.5 seconds and it’ll stop just short of German super saloons at 154mph flat out. It’s eager and flexible, with good throttle response.
The diesel gets 182hp and 295lb ft of torque – enough to propel it to 62mph from a standstill in 8.1 seconds. Despite its plentiful power it still averages 67.3mpg while emitting just 110g/km of CO2. Critics say it doesn’t accelerate with the sheer potency of the petrol but its strong in-gear pull makes overtaking smooth, swift and easy.
If one aspect of the car is criticised, it’s its torque vectoring system. It’s meant to help the car swing around corners under power, but it struggles to contain the ST’s tyre scrabble and torque steer when accelerating out of bends at low speed.
Track-day enthusiasts should be aware that the ST’s torque vectoring system works using the front brakes. This method is perfectly suited to use on the street but, during the extreme speeds and cornering velocities achieved on a track, it has a tendency to overheat the front brakes after a few laps.
There’s nothing overly special about the Focus ST’s interior. It’s still the same environment you’ll find in a regular Focus, albeit jazzed up with a trio of gauges on the centre console and a set of grippy Recaro seats in the front.