By on June 18, 2013

focusst

I wish I had more time with the Focus ST, but circumstances conspired to cut my loan short; I was off on the West Coast, driving a hot hatch older than I am, as well as two competitors, the Volkswagen GTI and the Mazdaspeed3. Driving those two back to back gave me some context before I drove the first truly hot Focus since the first-generation SVT version. In Europe, that car was also an ST, dubbed the ST170, because the RS was top dog in Ford of Europe’s hatch hierarchy. I hear that we’ll be getting the next Focus RS as well, complete with the 2.3L Ecoboost, but of course, my Ford sources will neither confirm or deny that.

Squint really hard, and the Focus ST looks just like the Corgi Cosworth toy that my Grandma bought for me at Asda and which I ended up smashing against a Corgi Metropolitan Police Range Rover while engaging in a youthful re-enactment of “The Sweeney”. It must be the Performance Blue paint and the hatch spoiler, which resembles the orca-esque monstrosity that came on the Cossie hatches.

The rest of the car is fairly agressive-looking without being over the top. I would be a little embarrassed to show up for a date or a lunch meeting with the Mazdaspeed3′s goofy mug smiling back at my would-be passenger, but at least with the ST, the front fascia looks appropriate. Hopefully nobody notices the overly large fascia-bumper panel gap.

Exterior styling aside, it’s the interior that will pose the greatest challenge for any occupants. Americans can opt for standard seats, but Canadian market cars only come one way; with the ST3 Package, including the Sony-branded MyFord Touch system and the Recaro seats. As nice as the Recaro’s look, they are absurdly confining; I’m 5’10 and 175 lbs with a 32″ waist, yet I’ve felt more comfortable in one-piece racing buckets. My brother and father, who are around my height but much stockier, were visceral in their criticism of the constricting bolsters. My father in particular raised an interesting point; guys like him (middle-aged, carrying a few extra pounds thanks to a white collar job) are the ones who buy performance cars, but the seats alone would DQ the ST from his list.

After a few days, I was able to look past them – in fact, it’s hard to imagine putting up with the regular Focus seats. This is what the Brit mags would call a “very quick point-to-point car”. At one end of the spectrum, we have the Volkswagen GTI. It’s not quite as performance oriented, but it does drive well while providing an appropriate amount of comfort and refinement. At the other end of the spectrum is the ‘Speed3, which feels like a garage-built tuner car with a warranty. In between those two is the Focus ST.

There’s more power than the GTI, but less than the Mazda. There’s less torque steer than the Mazda but more than the GTI. The ride and handling, steering feel and braking capability are a happy medium between the two. Every reviewer with a keyboard and an HJC DOT helmet seems to have coaxed some kind of “lift off oversteer” from this car. I can’t say I ever really pushed it that hard on public roads, but I also save my most aggressive driving exploits for wheel to wheel competition, a domain notoriously devoid of auto journalists.

On paper, the ST sounds a bit dull and wishy-washy, a true “warm hatch” that’s not much more exciting than a Honda Civic Si. But this car has charm. Mash the gas pedal and keep the wheel pointed straight and you will experience acceleration free of turbo lag and the masculine growl of the ST’s engine note; I don’t care if it’s piped in via a “sound synthesizer” or whatever Ford calls it. It does the job without alerting the outside world (or John Law) of your presence with an obnoxiously loud muffler. Each and every one of the 252 horsepower on tap is useful in the real world of cutting through traffic or taking an on-ramp just a little too quickly, unlike most of today’s steroid-enhanced sports cars, where driving them on the street makes you feel like you’re firing a Ma Deuce from the 5 yard line of an indoor gun range.

Of course, the ST has its flaws. The shifter is abominable, with an action that feels like rowing a broomstick through a tub of Greek yogurt. The pedal placement for heel-and-toeing was also all wrong, though that may be a function of my size 11.5 shoes. The Sony-branded MyFord Touch system wasn’t nearly as infuriating as previous iterations, but I’d rather not have to unplug my iPhone three times just to be able to access my music. I never got close to the EPA ratings of 23/32 mpg either, but again, caveat emptor.

There’s a lot to like about this car; the power, the looks, the fact that I could fit my Costco groceries and a bicycle in the back of the hatch with ease. But in Canada, the ST comes out to about $34,000, plus 13 percent sales tax, which is a crapload of money for a guy like me. For comparison, a Mustang V6 with the Performance Package and Recaros (which may not be as lithe, but would lay waste to an ST in any objective performance category) is about $4000 cheaper and probably gets equivalent or better gas mileage. Even financing a Focus ST over 84 months means payments of about $450 a month, and I’d be paying off a complex, electronics-laden car long past its warranty period. And OEMs wonder why young people aren’t buying new cars anymore.

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72 Comments on “Capsule Review: Ford Focus ST...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Now if they would just bring Canadian prices down to American price levels the cost would be a little more palatable. But you are right in that the real reason to choose this over a V6 Mustang would be the versatility of the 4 door hatchback design. If you just want to go fast and don’t care about a tiny backseat and trunk, then get the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      Aquineas

      Yeah, but the *real* question in comparing the Mustang vs. the Focus ST: Does the Focus ST have Ford MyColor? Because everyone knows that’s the real reason people buy a Mustang!

  • avatar
    gessvt

    “I hear that well be getting the next Focus RS as well, complete with the 2.3L Ecoboost, but of course, my Ford sources will neither confirm or deny that.”

    Tell us more.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    Ma Deuce = Browning M2 .50 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun, for the militarily impaired.

    Nice write-up. The ST sounds like a perfect compromise between the GTI and the MazdaSpeed3. I grieve for Mazda’s bottom line whenever I think of how many people want a really practical hatch that GLH but are so completely turned off by that Green Goblin-looking front end. Design aesthetics aside, I’d still rather have the Speed3.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Derek, you are in the Turbo Verano with 6-speed demogrpahic. It is very easy to heel-and-toe down shift and sounds more speed. Leave the hot hatches to the pimple faced kids as you’ll waning for something more premium.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I don’t find the Buick Cruze much more premium than the Focus ST. The Verano Turbo also starts at $29000 in the US. I’ve seen Focus STs for 23-24K. How many pimple faced kids are driving the ST? Probably not many.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The Buick Verano is more refined than anything in it’s class and larger size classes above it. Where the Cruze share the Verano chassis the Focus shares with what upscale?

        MotorTrend had a 98 mph quarter mile and Car & Driver showed 99 mph. MT had the ST at about 95 mph quarter mile trap speed?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Verano is not more refined than the ES or the MKZ. Lincoln doesn’t have a compact luxury car, but they probably will eventually. I’m sure it will be based on the Focus if its FWD. Quarter mile trap speeds do not a fun car make.

          The Verano is a good commuting car, but it isn’t in the same class as the GTI, Speed3, or ST when it comes to handling and fun factor. I’m sure your 400 HP upgrade has made the Verano more fun….

        • 0 avatar
          readallover

          I dare you to spend more than five minutes in the back seat of a Verano. It may be refined, but it might as well be a two- seater because of the negligible back seat leg room.

      • 0 avatar
        SomeGuy

        LOL BUICK CRUZE SO FUNNY.

        In quality the Buick’s interior blows the Focus ST out of the freaking water. Hard plastics are on the doors and in the Buick almost everything is soft or somewhat soft to touch.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      Except for the similarily brutal shifter and clutch setup.

  • avatar
    dts187

    Thanks to a salesman “100% sure I wouldn’t want to get back into my GTI after driving the ST” I got to take an ST on a nice test drive. It was a very decent car to drive. The 50 or so extra HP had me expecting quite a bit more “oomph” than my GTI. Though a touch quicker, I was hoping for more. As DK mentioned, the shifter was a little muddy but I wouldn’t call it a deal breaker. The car handled well and felt very composed through corners. Since it was a test drive with a salesman next to me I didn’t really push it. But it felt like it cornered with just a touch less roll than my GTI. Overall pretty good.

    But the interior. Just my opinion, but the dash and steering wheel are a convoluted mess. Too many buttons, too many weird lines/angles, and the steering wheel would look appropriate in a minivan. The whole cabin just seemed over-styled and I think it will look very dated in a few years. The cleaner lines of the GTI, WRX, and Speed3 work much better for me.

    The Focus ST is a nice car. I don’t like the interior and that is a deal breaker. Styling is very subjective so take that with a grain of salt. The extra HP didn’t really make it feel much quicker than my GTI (though I’m sure the ST would be quicker in measured tests it just didn’t “feel” quicker). I’ll chalk that up to the extra 200lbs or so the ST is carrying compared to my 2 door veedub. Congrats to Ford on a good vehicle and many thanks for bringing the ST to the states. More competition in the hot hatch world is a good thing in my book

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Do you think the engine in the GTI is underrated and probably has at least 220 HP? That seems to be the consensus, but I never had my MKV GTI on the dyno.

      • 0 avatar
        dts187

        APR’s dyno numbers show a stock GTI to have 222HP and 222TQ opposed to the 200/207 reported by VW. I’ve seen other dyno charts posted that echo similar discrepancies.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That’s what I thought. I really like the ST, but the GTI has been great for almost a decade now. It’s hard to win those customers over, unless they just did the 80K mile DSG service.

          Plus the aftermarket support for the GTI is AMAZING. Between APR and ECS tuning, the possiblities are endless.

          • 0 avatar
            dts187

            I’m doing my DSG service in about 10k miles. I’ll have 30k at that point so it’s bit early. I tend to drive it pretty hard on the weekends so I plan to do it every 30k instead of 40k. I’m a DIY kind of guy but it’s still going to a couple hundred bucks. As the saying goes, you gotta pay to play.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Get the kit from ECS Tuning and do it yourself. Its not difficult, it just takes an hour or two. Get a friend and have some beers, if you like beer. There is a great write up and video on how to do the DSG service on VWvortex.

    • 0 avatar
      bjchase55

      If I may suggest a stage 1 tune (I went with APR). Around 255hp and 320tq, it brings the car a whole new personality. The torque is intoxicating. *giggles*

  • avatar
    Boff

    I sat in the ST Recaros at the Recaro booth at the Detroit GP, and they would have been a deal breaker for me. My butt did not fit in them. And my butt is not that large. The Mustang Recaros fit me much better (although the bottom cushion is too short).

  • avatar
    racingmaniac

    Wow they are expensive in Canada. How much does a GTI cost OTD? I think they start in the 28s in Canada? I was also noting a recent comparison with the new MK7 GTI on C&D I believe and reading the specs, the Focus is large in everyone of the exterior dimension and smaller in everyone of the interior one….where did all the space go?

    I think I could see myself buying a ST if it had been available in 2011 when I bought my GTI, but at this point its not different enough to the car I have to tempt a switch and take the hit in $. Much of the advantage on the ST in recent comparison can largely be attributed to the poor a/s tire that GTI comes in, and once you have decent tire on this car is pretty fun with unintrusive ESC and pretty playful character, and plenty quite on autoX course. I hope this spurs Mazda, Honda, VW, and whoever else(GM and Chrysler/FIAT?) want to be in this market up their game though. ST right now is probably the benchmark.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      These cars are a ripoff in Canada (but we still want them). The base, manual, 4-door GTI is about $32K plus tax so $36K total. Factory options can bring it to $40K.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Holy cow. My last GTI had the DSG and everything except leather and NAV. I remember it being around $25K USD, $1000 owner loyalty cash, and 0% for 72 months. My ordered Flex EcoBoost will cost less than $40K.

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Yup, the GTI at over $30K in Canada even for the 3 door is a stretch of the imagination, in that I cannot imagine paying that much for one. The Focus ST boy racer only comes fully loaded here, everything but the kitchen sink included for your 34K including look at ME, ma! styling for the self-assured bragadoccio.

      For $34K in Canada, you can get a new Honda Accord Coupe EX-L V6 with every option including a 6 speed manual with a shifter that neither VW or Ford can hope to emulate. It’s only 200 lbs heavier than the ST, and has more wick than those two hatchbacks as well. It’s not as nimble in the twisties, but not bad.

      Honda doesn’t rip off Canadians pricewise like VW and Ford. I like that.

      Derek, find one of these to drive, and I’d be interested in how you find the combination of smoooth growly V6 and a real shifter.

  • avatar
    CompWizrd

    Give me an automatic of some sort, and I’ll consider it.. Expensive little car though, even though all the Fords are getting that way after their 2012 redesigns.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      With rebates, you can get one for around 22K. Most will be around 24-25K, which is GTI territory. Ford doesn’t have a competitive automatic for this segment. They were smart to leave the STs manual only. This engine would blow the 6DCT clutch packs apart (To be fair, VW would never use a dry clutch DCT on the GTI either).

      If you want cheaper, there is always the Fiesta ST. It starts at 22K and will probably be had for even cheaper by this time next year.

      • 0 avatar
        CompWizrd

        I’m in Canada, so they’re 36k with tax. It’s 27k for the non-st Focus, which is why my wife is driving a ’11 instead of a ’12. Got that one for 23k.

        No Fiesta ST’s here.

        27k for the absolute stripped Mustang, 41.6 for the GT, stripped.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Picked up my ST in the beginning of April and it already has almost 5k on it which is a testament to how much I love to drive this car. Having spent so much time with it in a variety of conditions I’d like to add my own two cents.

    As with anything new, the seats take some getting used to. I remember distinctly driving off the lot and wondering, almost aloud, if in fact I had made a mistake in ordering up the ST2 package over the standard ST (Sony MFT, Recaro’s, Sunroof and Navigation).

    I’m 6’2, 200lbs, and have a 34″ waist so at first I found them very confining. However, as the miles have worn on either A) I’ve gotten skinner (lol) or B) they are breaking in a little bit and becoming more comfy. Trips of 350 (about the limit due to small gas tank) miles are fantastic in these seats, my back doesn’t hurt, and I arrive at my destination refreshed and ready to jump back in the car and make the return trip.

    I have read all the reviews on this car and the shift action is split almost 50/50 between those who find it muddy and those (like me) who find it ok. I find the action equal to the GTI / MS3 but inferior to Miata and / or Honda.

    What I do not like however is the light switch they have the space where the clutch should be. It’s literally ON / OFF in it’s operation and as a result it be a tricky bastard to launch smoothly and conduct smooth shifts in the lower gears.

    Sony / MFT…. Sony sounds great at all volumes, well worth the price of admission. I’d like to drop kick MFT (or the software engineers who designed it) down a flight of stairs. It would be one thing if it was a single bug that made it act funny, but the number of ways this thing has found to piss me off is staggering. How can you knowingly release a product that fails on so many levels? Answer: Microsoft.

    P.S. you can most certainly rotate the ass end of this car wet or dry. Enter a corner a touch hot, upset the chassis with a little opposite flick and dump the throttle and away she goes. Interestingly, very little to no counter steer is required, just add a little throttle back into the mix and the natural tendency of the car to want to go straight kicks in; there are some great youtube vids of ST’s on tracks that are a blast to watch.

    There is my armchair review… any other Boston area people with ST’s out there? I have only seen one or two others on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Did you update to MFT/sync gen 3.5.1 yet? It should be much better. If it continues to go downhill, make your dealer replace the APIM. I’m not patient with $30K expenditures either, but I’ve gone through five software updates. Each one has been an improvement.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Except for when the APIM is wigging out because of a device compatibility problem, in which it would be an “undesirable characteristic” which no amount of APIMs will fix.

        The dealer should probably do some proper diagnostics for the issues at hand. Update to latest, have any devices handy, test, reproduce, compare to a like vehicle with the same CIP and VIP software levels, compare operation with the Multimedia Interface Tester yadda yadda.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          As usual danio, you are right. I have been lucky that the dealership I usually take my vehicles to are very good at technical issues like sync and MFT. Others are not.

          I took my C-Max to a different dealer for an oil change, only one around with Saturday hours, and they had all kinds of issues changing the oil and couldn’t figure out how toreset the service reminder. If they can’t do that, how can I trust them to fix the black MFT screen of death?

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy

            … this is all interesting especially when you put it into context with yesterday’s news about Ford going back to more dedicated switchgear knobs and buttons…

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        Yes, I am up to date on the updates. I have noticed marked improvements. Oddly every issue I currently face surrounds keeping track of time, both on the audio side of the equation as well as on the actual clock side.

        Drove into a concert venue on Sunday and panicked as I thought I was there an hour and a half early and would have to wait for the lot to open… turns out the clock was wrong. Not sure how that happens.

        When using Spotify via Blue Tooth it skips to the next song randomly. When plugged in the counter clock for length of song plays never resets between songs. Really meaningless stuff but still… 30 grand is a lot of money to pay for a product that doesn’t work.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I agree with you Tim. Funny you bring up Spotify….

          MFT ruins Spotify and Rhapsody. Over Memorial Day, when my father-in-law was trying to play his Rhapsody playlist thru bluetooth in his Ford management lease Explorer Sport, he lost his sh#t. It was fantastic…

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy

            Dude… (or dudette as the case may warrant) I lost my collective shit several times before I finally figured out that it was the bluetooth that was screwing me up, which is sad, considering how long bluetooth has been around.

            I’m in technology (ecommerce solutions) and I was enraged to the point where I nearly burst a blood vessel. I still get heart palpitations thinking about.

    • 0 avatar
      OE Supplier Veteran

      Timothy:

      I’m not a Bostonian, but was an early ST adopter in Canada and took delivery in October 2012. I now have 27,000 km on the clock, having driven it through a Canadian winter (with proper snow tires, of course).

      I can echo you on the seats; I’m 5’10″ 205 lbs, and after the initial shock of the aggressive bolstering wears off, they’re just fine for any length of drive; I have driven 8 hours in a day with no issues.

      I also concur with the light switch clutch comment. It’s fine for me, and I actually have come to like it, but tried to teach my son MT driving in this car: it clearly was not the correct venue for that activity.

      The wonderful MFT system has taken to randomizing the clock, which is not so bad if it’s off by hours from the actual time, but can be problematic if it’s 10-15 minutes out either way and you don’t pick up on the joke quickly.

      I have had some hot hatches in the early days, a few sporty-ish North American cars, and have had a C4 Corvette in my fleet for 8 years. The vette now stays parked (when my wife and son are not driving it) as I find the ST a much more entertaining ride.

      At ~$36k out the door, it will remain a fairly rare car here. But on a grins per km basis, to me it still represents fair value

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        Agree – it’s going to be pretty rare here as well. It’s a special car for a special buyer and that is what I like about it. The clock think almost screwed me on Sunday. Was headed to a concert and all the sudden I was there an hour and a half ahead of schedule… NOPE… haha… screw you says MFT.

        What did you end up running for winter tires? I have been popping around Tire Rack looking for a deal on Micheliens or Blizzaks. Boston winters lately have been a bear even with snows on my old VW… it’s the one thing about this car that I am seriously concerned about, how is it going to do in the snow?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Get dedicated rims and winter tires. I don’t know if the minimum wheel size is 15″ or 16″. Taller, thinner tires will do better in the snow.

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy

            Was thinking 17″ rims with some pretty aggressive winter tires, I’m a skier and don’t want to miss out on powder days… lol.

            Maybe I should have gone with a WRX…

        • 0 avatar
          OE Supplier Veteran

          Timothy – I used Blizzaks the exact same size as the Eagle F1s on the factory wheels. I have an advantageous relationship with a shop which takes care of the swaps for me. I know -1″ or -2″ steelies would be wiser (bball40dtw), but I can’t bring myself to destroy the looks of my cars for six months of the year, so all of my vehicles get the same treatment (except the vette, it sleeps late October through May). Granted, you have to be a bit careful because of the low profile; a close curb encounter in the ice would obviously be…. unfortunate. The good news is that all of the handling goodness translates very well to the winter with the snows. I actually only drove it once after delivery with the summers (5C really is the low temperature limit), so I am just getting used to the extra grip of the F1s since the swap back in early May. Bottom line: No worries for winter driving at all.

          • 0 avatar
            OE Supplier Veteran

            Timothy – Sorry I had a neuron misfire on the tire brand. I ended up going with Hankook i*cept Evos (odd name) for the ST, which, although they do not show up on Tire Rack, are in fact available in the 235/40 18 size. They are a great dry/wet/snow/ice compromise. The Blizzaks I use on a different car (’09 Malibu LTZ). They’re ok too, but command a premium mostly for the name.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Between the Monterey Bay and San Francisco, you’ll be hard pressed to find an ST in base-trim.

    I agree with you that the Focus’ interior is a mess. I look at the GTI and even the Dart’s and those are great.

    I do have to admit that the Dart and the GTI have big selling points for me:automatic transmissions. I know, it’s heresy to want an enthusiast car without a manual, but my knees are almost shot and my wife can’t drive stick.

    There’s rebates on the Focus ST? I could’ve swore there were none available right now.

    • 0 avatar
      bizzarodave

      I just checked and for the first time I’ve seen there is a $500 rebate on STs. I have not seen one before now, so that’s a surprise to me as well. I do see a lot of STs around me so they seem to be selling with enough without rebates, and I don’t think $500 sways anyone’s purchase decision.

      My ST is in base trim and when I looked there were probably 7-10 ST2 and ST3s for each ST1 (base trim).

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        In Detroit, it’s up to $1500. You have to have a competitive lease to get the last $500. So $1000 if you get an ST from dealer stock.

        Regular Foci are $3250 cash back or $1000 cash back and 0% for 60 months.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I agree with everyone complaining about the interior. The seats actually fit me fine, but every time I get in one, I feel like I’m inside a kaleidoscope. It’s a dark and dizzying collection of polygons and I hate it. I honestly don’t think I can get past the interior.

    It’s a serious contrast from the open and airy feel I got in the last EuroFocus. I rented a normal one in New Zealand a couple of years ago and loved it – it felt very large inside. It would’ve made a good family car for me. Is the new one actually as spacious? I suppose it could be, even if it feels like it’s half the size inside.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The progression of the reviews on this car are interesting. When it first came out, all of the slicks were breathless . . . “the best handling FWD car ever!” etc., etc. And it dominated the comparos with the MS3 and the GTI. No mention of the seats, the Starship Enterprise dash and the generally adolescent look and feel of the car.

    Then VW announces a new GTI and pays people to come to Europe to drive it. Fuggedabout the ST, the new GTI is totally awesome they say: handles better, is faster, less punishing ride, doesn’t look like a video game car brought to life, inside and out.

    Our own Derek gives it a lukewarm review.

    Seems like every review of the ST is now wondering where those 250 horses are, complaining about the punishing ride, the weird handling caused by the torque vectoring, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The reviews I’ve read of the GTI weren’t glowing. They all suggest it’s gotten even softer and more disconnected than before.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        I have 0 doubt where my 252hp are… they are ready to go under my right foot. I’m wondering if some reviewers are getting cars running on regular gas which drops the power by about 12hp and says syonara to the overboost feature.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I think you are thinking of the last generation. The A3 reviewed pretty well. The GTI is not here yet but it has some buzz. As for ford being smacked around – sure. But it happens with all new autos coming out..

    The fusion was hot stuff – then not so much. The Focus ST – same thing. Probably if you want to buy a Ford get a Mustang. That old platform keeps on winning.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Rustang comparo is pointless; practically speaking the Rustang is useless. One of my biggest gripes with it and one of my biggest hopes for what they will fix with the next one. Bring back the hatchback!!!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Better yet, make it a 4 door. Maybe a wagon?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not useless. I once drove my brother home from college in a Shelby GT500 with most of his stuff (save for furniture) in the back. I’ve also fit four adult males in the car with no complaints. If you want an ST, you probably think live rear axles are the devil, but we’re all smarter than that. It’s a valid comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Agreed the Mustang is not useless. But the trunked Mustang does not have more practical room than the hatchback Focus.

        People are more concerned with practical issues it seems than the past. I know I tend that way. My great aunt drove her kids around in a ’69 Firebird.

        • 0 avatar
          VA Terrapin

          A hot hatch is bought by people who want some kind of practicality that a pony car or a true sports car won’t offer. Compared to the Focus ST, the Mustang is less fuel efficient, has smaller cargo capacity and will likely be more expensive to insure, not to mention which one should do better in snowy conditions when shod with all season tires.

  • avatar
    ajla

    320i leases are only $299/month.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’ve seen $399/month or X1′s for $339/month. Both with $3500 down. You can buy a Focus ST in the ST1 package for $399 + tax a month with $3500 down on a 48-54 month loan.

  • avatar
    mktimes5

    Wasn’t the focus se reviewed here and received high praises for nice interior and good stick shift?
    So the ST is is just sorta ok and not really tolerable when compared to a humble se – wtf?

  • avatar
    Power6

    I didn’t know you could get the Recaros in the Mustang now! Closer prices in the US.

    Stripper Mustang with Recaros and PP – 25.6k
    Focus ST2 (cheapest with Recaros) – 26.8k

    Focus might be a little better equipped in ST2 than the base Mustang. Would be a tough choice, practicality vs speed each has some of both, but in different proportions.

    I’ve been thinking…what is the best base model performance car to buy, the best deal, these two are in there, though you have to buy ST2 Focus to get the Recaros could be even cheaper.

  • avatar

    The ST seems like an awesome car but not really bringing something “unique” to the market – I know there aren’t a TON of turbo hot hatches but the market is hardly under-served, there are only so many people that want turbo stick hatchbacks.

    I think the Fiesta ST will be an easier sell for Ford – lighter, cheaper, just about (nearly) as fast and the bigger Focus, but all reviews point to it being a more nimble, MkII-GTI style fun car.

    Now, I can’t wait to see what SRT poops out in the form of a torque-steering 2.4 Turbo Dart. That will be a fun car!

    Also, holy crap, does Canada get the shaft on pricing.

  • avatar
    daviel

    Sounds too expensive. The article does not sound like my late Focus SVT. I think I’ll look at the hot hatch Fiesta, if any.

  • avatar
    SpeedJebus

    Just picked up my ’13 MS3 yesterday. Drove a GTI (admittedly an ’08 when it was new), and have had some seat time in the ST also.

    My deciding factors really came down to the ride quality (the MS3 is totally acceptable), the seats (they don’t remind me how jiggly I am sometimes… lol), and the quality itself. Mazda still screws together good cars, and the 2.3 DISI engine is a gem across the board. Ford has seen some struggles with their Ecoboost 4′s in the Escape so far. Admittedly, this is a different iteration of the engine, but if it’s a supplier issue, those issues could also be seen here as well.

    Let’s also throw in that Mazda Canada is doing 0% for 84 months on Speed3′s. At the time I ordered my car, Ford was still at 3.9% for 72 (IIRC). That stuff adds up fast.

    Also, can’t discount having a quality dealer around. VW and Ford do not have that going for them in my town.

    • 0 avatar

      What kind of discount did you get on an MS3? I’d imagine there’s plenty of room for negotiation.

      • 0 avatar
        SpeedJebus

        Actually not as much as you might think. MSRP here for the base MS3 is $29,995. There was an extra $500 offer from Mazda itself, and I worked a bit off from the dealer. Saved about $1000 overall. That, and the savings on finance was enough to seal the deal for me. (Before anyone compares the US and Canadian model, we get a lot more standard equipment)

  • avatar
    klossfam

    The RS better get here before the Mark VII GTI, because once the Mk VII is for sale, the ST becomes irrelevant to all but Ford Fan Boyz. There is a huge refinement difference already between the Mk VI GTI and the ST with a minor ‘real world/on the street’ performance gap. For the same price – or less – Canadians will take the GTI (and they already are) as they appreciate the refinement vs the ST.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The current crop of Ford’s cars, specially Focus and Fusion, feel far more upscale inside, specially where ride and road noise are concerned. On the other hand, the Hecho-in-Mexico Jettas have already got a bit of a reputation of a rattle box. It remains to be seen if the next generation GTI (also built in Mexico) will change that reputation.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I wish Ford didn’t make the ST uglier than the regular Focus SE. For example, the front grille on the SE looks a lot better. The ST’s fish nose looks just too flat and boring. It will start looking dated a lot sooner. My next issue is the colors. Can we have some more non-douche colors available? For example, why can’t the ST be ordered with the Candy Blue color that’s available for the SE?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Gonna necro this review to say that my fiancee and I went to look at an ST a few days ago. Loved everything about it, until we sat in it. The Recaro’s are every bit as atrocious as people have said. They were miserable for a mere test drive; we couldn’t imagine a long road trip in that car.

    Those seats need to be OPTIONAL on every trim level. They ruin an otherwise awesome car. We were stunned at how quiet the interior was, and how smoothly it glided over railroad tracks. Compared to our 2005 Focus ZX4 ST, it’s clear that Ford has come a long, LONG way.

    But the sport seats are horrible for most adults. If I were going to get a Focus, it’d have to be a Titanium with the leather seats. Ford is forcing buyers to trade off power for comfort.


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