Ford Focus ST have initially found it extraordinarily fun to drive. “Raw and exciting” has been some of the feedback, with others being impressed by the 184kW/345Nm (360Nm with ‘overboost’) 2.0-litre turbo-four despite barely getting the car out of third gear.
It fast and powerful, most love the sound of the engine when giving it beans, however, some feel, while the engine note itself isn’t bad overall, the ST lacks some of the theatre – the spool, pops and burbles for example – offered up by other turbocharged models doing the rounds.
Clearly an office dominated by revheads, the overall vote is that while the Ford’s ride is indeed firm, it adds to the experience of the car rather than takes away from it. Further, the majority feel it’s largely controlled and rarely unpleasant.
With a visually sharper exterior look compared with the pre-facelifted Focus ST, the 2015 car’s styling has received a unanimous big tick. The consensus is that it not only looks fast, but that its more aggressive lines and angles are a definite step up from the rest of the more conservative Focus range.
Another major gripe has been with the ST’s heavily bolstered partial leather Recaro bucket seats. Sure, more slender individuals say they find the seats extremely supportive and “perfect for dynamic driving”, but the majority view things differently.
On top of the seats themselves losing favour with several members of the team, some have felt that they also make the Ford’s cabin feel cramped, with one individual saying, “Which I don’t think the Focus otherwise deserves – the standard Focus feeling much more spacious with just the regular seats in it”.
More minor issues have included oddly high-mounted indicator and wiper stalks that require a fair reach of the fingers to get to and the occasional rough idle – the latter noted particularly on cold startups. And despite the new infotainment system vastly tidying up the Focus ST’s centre stack, one team member felt there was now too much emphasis on the touchscreen and not enough buttons.
A big strike against the ST though, is the hot-hatch’s 12.0-metre turning circle – mentioned previously in the car’s first long-term report. Proving to be a problem on more than one occasion, across the board, the team feels that apart from being simply annoying, the issue is especially poor given the traditional maneuverability of a small hatchback.
Published: Thursday, December 3, 2015