By on January 9, 2014

2014 Ford Focus ST Exterior

Hot hatches are all the rage in Europe but represent a fairly small segment of American consumption. The formula is fairly simple, you take a compact hatchback, insert a turbocharged engine, stiffen the springs and add an anti-roll bar that can lift the inner rear wheel in corners if you really push it. The result is the polar opposite of a pony car.

 YouTube Preview Image

Exterior

For 2014, the American hot hatch shopper is spoiled for choice. There are a whopping two options: the 2014 Ford Focus ST and the 2014 Volkswagen GTI. If you’re patient enough, VW plans on releasing a new GTI for the 2015 model year and the Mazda rumor mill is rife with 2015 Mazdaspeed3 assumptions. I must therefore rule the Focus ST the most attractive hot hatch in America and put the comparatively boring GTI in last place, or second. However you want to look at it. For performance duty Ford takes the already handsome Focus, lowers it by nearly half an inch and swaps in some new wheels, a front bumper, tweaked spoiler, rear valance and exhaust tips. If you haven’t noticed by now, there is no sedan variant of the Focus ST. Sorry America.

Although the parts list is short, I found the transformation impressive. I haven’t warmed to the Euro nose that the current generation Focus wears while the ST’s more conventional single grille look manages to be both more grown up and more aggressive when compared to the donor car. (Don’t worry, you can get your Focus in colors other than “Tangerine Scream”.) The ST shares hoods with the lesser Focuses (Foci?) there is an oddly large gap between the hood and front bumper that is so uniform (and is on every ST model I have seen) that it must be intentional, however distracting. The reason is that the regular model’s hood doesn’t mate directly with anything as it is styled to be the upper part of the front grille. I have a feeling that if and when the Mazdaspeed3 lands, it will take the crown as I find the Mazda3 the most attractive entry in the compact hatchback segment.

2014 Ford Focus ST Interior-005

Interior

Like the Volkswagen GTI, the first thing you will notice about the Focus when you hop inside will be the very European color palate. In other words, black. The soft injection moulded dashboard combines with the black headliner, black carpets and predominantly black upholstery to create a very Germanic interior. All Focus models sport a double-bump style dashboard with the infotainment positioned in a prominent position and the ST trim tops off the binnacle with standard gauges for oil temperature, oil pressure and turbo boost.  This is the same cabin that European shoppers get with one exception: the Recaro seats aren’t standard on our side of the pond. Neither is that 8-inch touchscreen.

Although the ST starts at $23,625 my realistic base price jumps to $25,845 by adding the “ST2″ package which I consider essential. This package adds the 8-inch screen, automatic climate control and the Recaro seats that you see in all the photos and reviews of the Focus ST. The base seats lack the aggressive bolstering or the exceptional comfort of the half-leather Recaro thrones. ST2 shoppers can opt for two-tone seats (as seen in our tester) in blue, yellow or black-on-black. Checking the ST3 box brings the ST up to $28,000 and adds completely leather faced seats (black only), seat heaters, HID headlamps, LED daytime running lamps and standard navigation software.

2014 Ford Focus ST Interior-004

During my week with the ST I put over 1,100 miles on the Tangerine Scream including a 650 mile road trip. The Recaro thrones proved to be supportive, comfortable and superior to the GTI’s seats for long road trips. Unfortunately the rear passengers weren’t as happy since the Focus has a fairly cramped rear seat. Adding the Recaro seats to the Focus seems to drop the rear seat room by a hair as well making the Focus a great deal tighter than the GTI despite the Focus being the longer car by six inches. Where do those inches go? Some of them are consumed by the Ford’s longer nose, but plenty can be found in the ST’s 50% larger cargo hold.

Since I mentioned the Mustang earlier, that tight rear seat is one of the main reasons you’d select a Focus ST over a V6 ‘Stang. Despite being smaller than a GTI, the ST offers two extra doors, three more inches of leg room and a 5th seat belt. In addition to the added passenger room the Focus also boasts 10 more cubic feet of widget storage in the back.

2014 Ford Focus ST Interior-002

Infotainment

Base ST shoppers get basic entertainment to go with their basic seating. All STs come standard with a 6-speaker audio system sporting a 4.2-inch color LCD, SYNC voice commands and a sea of buttons. The unit is housed in the same binnacle as the 8-inch system so there’s plenty of blank space to remind you that you didn’t pony up for the MyFord Touch system. The ST3 package that is my realistic base for the ST solves this by removing the button bank and inserting the screen you see above. Bundled with the resistive touchscreen is an upgraded 10-speaker Sony speaker system with a subwoofer and a center channel. Sound quality in the 6-speaker system was disappointing while the Sony system impressed. One thing to know if that the Sony system tends to have exaggerated treble and bass tuning by default but it is adjustable.

This is about the time when I usually comment on MyFord Touch being somewhat sluggish and suggest that the competition has an acceptable alternative. The alternative however is Volkswagen’s ancient infotainment lineup. All GTIs share the same 8-speaker sound system that slots between Ford’s base and up-level system in both speaker count and sound quality but everything else pales in comparison. The GTI has no SYNC-like voice command system in any model and the base GTI doesn’t even get a color LCD in the cabin. The Driver’s Edition GTI gets VW’s low-cost navigation unit which, when compared to MyFord Touch, is like taking a Palm Pilot to an iPad fight. Hopefully VW will up their game for 2015, but more than likely Ford’s only real infotainment competition will come from Mazda’s slick MazdaConnect system.

2014 Ford Focus ST Engine-002

Drivetrain

The last Focus ST was powered by Volvo, a logical choice since Volvo’s S40 and Ford’s Focus were cousins to begin with. This generation Focus is 100% Ford. Instead of the oddly-alluring 2.5L five-cylinder, we get a 252 horsepower tune of Ford’s 2.0L EcoBoost engine cranking out 270 lb-ft of torque. (There is a bit of confusion on the HP numbers, in the video I mention Ford’s initial numbers of 247 HP and 266 lb-ft which was later updated to 252/270. Apparently running 87 octane gasoline in your ST will yield 247 while 93 will get you 252.) This is the same four-cylinder turbo used in the Ford Edge and Taurus except that the boost has been cranked up and it is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. (As far as we can tell this is no longer the Volvo M66 transmission manufactured by Getrag.)

Drive

Compared to the VW, the Focus is 52 ponies more powerful and serves up 63 more lb-ft while the Mustang V6 beats the Focus by 48 horsepower and 10 lb-ft. As you would assume with numbers like that, the Mustang is faster t0 60, but thanks to the turbocharger on the Focus the difference in our testing was just 1/10th of a second and is more down to driver skill and traction than vehicle output. The VW on the other hand can’t makeup for the power deficit by being 100lbs lighter and was 3/10ths slower.

2014 Ford Focus ST Exterior-006

The big difference between a Mustang and a hot hatch is of course which wheels are getting the power. Because the ST funnels all its power through the front wheels, torque steer is a genuine concern. Rather than limit engine power in 1st and 2nd like Mazda did with the old Mazdaspeed3, or use a limited slip differential like Honda uses on occasion, Ford decided to program the electric power steering to compensate. Coupled with the EPAS system is a stability control system programmed to torque vector power across the front using the car’s large front brakes. The system works passably well but not as well as the Ford’s “Revo Kunckle” which they use on their larger cars. Due mostly to the greater output, torque steer in the ST is more pronounced than in the GTI, but much less noticeable than in the old Mazda. I’ve always found mild torque steer in a fast front-driver an entertaining phenomenon so it never bothered me.

Helping the steering tendencies is a variable ratio steering rack that uses a quick 1.8 turns lock to lock vs 2.1 in the GTI, 2.8 in the standard Focus and 3.1 in the V6 ‘Stang. Thanks to the ratio the ST feels very nimble and eager to change direction. Unless you need to U-turn of course which is when you will discover that this tiny hatch has a nearly 40-foot turning radius.

2014 Ford Focus ST Exterior-009

Thanks to a light 3,200 pound curb weight (100lbs heavier than the VW but 300lbs lighter than a V6 Mustang), 235-width Eagle F1 Asymmetric tires and a well tuned suspension, the Focus ST sticks to the road like glue. TTAC doesn’t have access to a skidpad to confirm or deny the Mustang trouncing Gs the plucky hatch can pull, but after a week making passengers sick on winging mountain roads I’m a believer. What makes the Focus more impressive is how neutral the car feels despite being a front-heavy front-driver. It’s more lively, less civilized but more rewarding to drive than the GTI. The V6 ‘Stang does give you rear-wheel- drive dynamics and more shove in a straight line, but I’d be willing to bet I’d be faster around a track in the Focus ST.

What surprised me about the Focus the most however was how livable it is. The suspension is firm but never harsh and my spine didn’t revolt on a 5 hour drive to Los Angeles. Cabin noise was high at 76 dB but that’s not far from the last Golf I measured and average for the economy car segment. Thanks to an active noise generator that opens a valve to pipe sound into the cabin from when at full throttle, normal driving happens without the incessant droning of a Fiat Abarth. While the Tangerine Scream paint job and yellow trimmed seats scream “boy racer”, the truth is the Focus is quite the grown up. With a starting price some $1,300 less than a GTI the Focus delivers a solid value proposition. Fully loaded the difference narrows to less than a grand in cash but more than $3,000 when you factor in the Ford’s greater feature content. While I’m sure that 2015 will bring a VW GTI with more refinement and an improved interior, VW has confirmed the ST will still be the horsepower champion and likely the value leader as well. Compared to that RWD Ford on the lot, the pony car is less expensive but less practical as well. For the cost difference between the Mustang and the ST, you could buy all manner of performance mods for your pony to compete with the ST, but I have a feeling I’d still buy the Focus. For 2014 Ford’s hot hatch is without a doubt the hottest hatch on sale in America, but with Volkswagen planning on sending their 290HP Golf R to the USA and Ford’s own high-power Focus RS rumored, things are just starting to warm up.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.3

0-60: 5.95

1/4 Mile: 14.36 Seconds @ 98.5 MPH

Average Observed Fuel Economy: 25.7 MPG over 1210 Miles

Sound Level at 50 MPH: 76.4 dB

 

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142 Comments on “Review: 2014 Ford Focus ST (With Video)...”


  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    What’s interesting is it seems like this car is not particularly well loved by most of the pro journos – they all prefer the Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      RetroGrouch

      The press hacks like the handling of the more tossable Fiesta. As much as I want to embarrass the slower E36 M3 drivers at the track, I need space in back for a giant hockey bag and rear doors for the small humans that currently reside in my house and ask for money and video games.

      If I stuff my daily driver into the armco at NJMP, I’m heading straight to the local Ford emporium with my hockey bag, a couple of those small freeloaders, and my SAH2010 helmet for a test drive.

    • 0 avatar

      Everyone here at our dealership is on board with the Focus ST over the Fiesta ST. While on a track the Fiesta might end up being more fun, the truth is, race or not, stop lights and rolling starts are what make a car fun as a daily driver and the Fiesta just feels weak.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Does anyone else think 3200 lbs is heavy for this size of car?

    I know safety and comfort comes at a weight penalty, but my dads 97 Olds 88 LSS tips the scales at 3450 lbs. My Alero checks in at under 3000 lbs. Again I know this is a fully modern car with lots of toys but 3200 lbs seems like alot.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      In this day and age, not really…

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      My wife’s 12 Accord EXL is around 3400. That is for a large sedan, a lot of Ford’s offerings are a little heavier than the competition but I’m sure they were designed/engineered that way for a reason (road hugging weight?).

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I had an 03 Focus station wagon (not the 5 door hatch, the ZTW) and I believe it was ~2800lbs.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      I remember thinking the ’04 R32 Golf was a porker at around 3300# (the same weight as my ’98 Passat V6!), but in light of recent trends, it’s not bad.

      Think about shaving a couple hundreds lbs off: The ride might be a little less smooth on bad everyday roads. But the handling might be a wee bit better, which is imperceptible to most drivers.

      Winner: Add weight. It’ll sell cars and check all the boxes for “refinement” and all the other doublespeak that a lot of people use to describe being insulated from the outside world.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …yes: my mazda 2 tips in a half-ton lighter, and that makes all the difference in the world…

      …one could argue that the focus offers a half-ton more car, and i suppose that’s why ford also makes the fiesta, but as a sporting driving experience the bigger hatches aren’t even playing in the same league…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m always happy when I see a car I’ve owned weighs over 4000 lbs.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Some people just love to complain about the weight of cars. I would like to see them complain when going 80mph on the interstate with 40mph winds while passing semi trucks.

        Part of a hot hatch is that you can use it as an everyday car. Part of the duty of an everyday car is going on the highway.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Complaining about weight figures by themselves is meaningless. So what if the car weighs X lbs? Is it managed well is what I want to know.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> I would like to see them complain when going 80mph on the interstate with 40mph winds while passing semi trucks.

          Try an E-Series van in cross winds vs. a Lotus Elise. Aerodynamics and suspension play a bigger role. The most stable cars I’ve driven on a highway have been less than 2500 lbs with aerodynamics that pull them down to the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      It does seem a bit heavy. Honda Civic SI is about 3000lbs, dry. However, the engine probably more than makes up for it.

  • avatar
    jimf42

    I agree…3200lbs seems heavy. My old 02 Focus SVT weighed about 2800.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    If this was AWD, I’d own one (snow-ish country, really long, crappy driveway).

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If Ford goes ahead with the Focus RS, it won’t even be AWD.

    • 0 avatar
      steevkay

      I’ve always had FWD vehicles work fine for me in snow. I’ve gone through some pretty bad snowstorms (I live in Ottawa) in my ’09 Accent, which powers through it just fine. Power and Hyundai Accent are oxymorons, but that’s what this plucky little thing does in snow.

      AWD with a bit of a power bump (maybe through some creative engine mapping) could make a car that competes with a WRX in terms of numbers. This could fill the void left by the fact that there’s no longer an STi hatchback.

  • avatar
    Syke

    OK, so I’ll be considering one of these alongside the Fiesta ST. It’s going to be interesting to see which wins out: My long-standing love for small cars that I wear, or a slowly growing appreciation for comfort on the long haul.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    The Subaru WRX and the Golf R are not hot hatches and it makes me happy that they were not included here. Hot hatches are FWD!
    I don’t consider the GTI a true hot hatch, not enough power to start with, but, it is a very good all rounder and the more boxy shape is more practical than the Ford. I suspect that while the Ford has more cargo space the GTI is more usable.
    Having said that I think Ford has worked hard on the ST and it is a true hot hatch, perhaps then, the only one on in the US market?

    • 0 avatar

      Do you get the Mégane? sadly we don’t, though there are rumours it’s coming soon. Apparently it is the only other one that is as fun as the ones you mention. I tend towards the Focus because of looks and suspension fell, but I’d love to try the Mégane.

      • 0 avatar
        steevkay

        No Meganes (or Renaults) in North America. It’s a shame, because I really do like the current Renault lineup. I want a TwinGo 133 with a Cup chassis, it’s all the car I need for a daily driver. It’s more powerful (yes, my car has less than 133hp) and more nimble and probably more fun than my current DD. Hopefully their partnership with Nissan means we’ll eventually see these in North America…

    • 0 avatar
      Johannes Dutch

      Opel Astra OPC and the brand new Seat Leon Cupra. Both hatchbacks, FWD and 280 hp.

      By the way, 4 years ago there was a 350 hp FWD Ford Focus, the RS500.
      It had Volvo’s 2.5 liter 5 cylinder turbo engine.

      The current Mercedes A-class AMG: 360 hp. But I guess that doesn’t count, because AWD. But it sure is a pure hatchback model.

      • 0 avatar

        @Johannes, here we don’t get the Astra anymore. It has been substituted by the Chevy Cruze hatch, which is pretty good as a regular car, but there’s no hot version. We also don’t get the Leon, isn’t it like an old Golf (really asking, not sarcastic)?

        The Peugeot 308 almost counts and seems a great car with the 1.6 THP, but not hot. Maybe Citroen will have a hot DS soon? The DS3 is too small but seems a fun car.

        Yeah, many cars out there, not quite hot, but good, fun, solid, medium-compact hatches the US doesn’t get.

        • 0 avatar
          Johannes Dutch

          Marcelo, the current Leon model arrived in 2012, here’s a photo-collection of the 2014 Seat Leon Cupra:

          http://www.autoblog.nl/image-gallery?file=Seat/0_Gelekt/Seat_Leon_Cupra_2014/

          I think the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV counts,
          hatchback, FWD and 235 hp. You see, there’s a whole bunch of these FWD “Golf-class” hatchbacks around 250 hp.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for the link. Looks good again like it did quite a while back.

            As to Alfa, well the rumors fly, but no confirmation. I did see a Giulietta with maker plates being road tested. It did set my heart aflutter!

    • 0 avatar
      Manic

      MINI has clearly some hot hatches, in Europe Cooper is already hot hatch (compared to Mini One and D). Cooper S and up even more so.

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    I want, no, I NEED a new Mustang, Fiesta ST and Focus ST. But, since I can only replace my Focus SVT with one . . . it will have to be the Focus. By the way I much prefer the standard front end styling, although I seem to be a bit of a man alone on that one.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Not completely alone, as I think the Focus Titanium 5-door (esp in grey or black) is one of the most handsome cars out there. But I want the ST motor and trans

  • avatar
    Signal11

    Two, if you don’t count the Mini Cooper S (aka Mini Hatch) as a hatchback. The JCW version turns in comparable performance numbers as the ST.

  • avatar
    BryanC

    Just curious, Alex – why is the Fiesta ST not a hot-hatch?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Or the FIAT 500 Abarth…

      • 0 avatar
        Cubista

        In European press the Fiesta ST and 500 Abarth are absolutely considered hot htaches…my guess is that in the good ol’ YOO ESS of AYY they’re probably more accurately reclassified as subcompacts.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Mini Cooper S – it is at least as quick as this pig.

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy

            It’s not. C&D quotes 0-60 at 6.5 seconds. Also, for similar features you are looking at 32 and change vs 27 and change.

          • 0 avatar
            Signal11

            Cooper S JCW does it in less than 6.0.

            So then what would be the excuse?

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy

            Mini Cooper S JWC with similar options is $37,895 and according to Autoblog its 5.9 0-60. Edmunds pulled a 6.5 and Motortrend pulled a 6.2.

            I think the mini is a fun car, but you can’t compare the two as the S is slower and the JWC is vastly more expensive when comparably equipped.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Beat me to it Tim. For the JCW price, a Focus RS would blow its doors off. For $38K, in the US at least, there is always V8 Mustang.

          • 0 avatar
            Signal11

            You guys who are using 0-60 numbers as your basic performance metric are missing the point of what a hot hatch is and how they’re defined in the market where they originated.

            Articles and posts say “Euro this” and “Euro that” but saying things that a vehicle is not a hot hatch unless it’s got 6.0 +/- 0.1 0-60 numbers is pretty much something only an American would say because it only makes sense to an American.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      I was very, very torn. Honestly. But in the end I dismissed the Fiesta ST and the Abarth because in my mind a hot hatch needs to hit 60MPH in 6 seconds +/- a tenth and the Fiesta at 6.9-7 is more in the fun hatch territory.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        So warm hatch or medium-hot hatch?

        • 0 avatar
          Alex L. Dykes

          Sounds about right, but that’s just my opinion. I’m hoping to have a Fiesta ST soon so that may sway me.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m the voice of dissent here. Even if the Fiesta doesn’t break that threshold, it’s a riot to drive. The Focus just felt like a normal Focus with more power.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Its a fun car. I perfer the Focus ST, but many people, Derek being one, like the Fiesta ST better. It certainly isn’t as grown up or refined as the Focus, but it is lighter more tossable.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m with Derek. 0-60 times are among the least important measures to me.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            +another one to Derek. I’ve driven the Focus ST, and it is a good car, but the Abarth is WAAAY more fun to drive. I need to try a Fiesta ST.

            The whole point of a hot hatch is that it is a fun car that feels fast, even if it is not actually all that fast. The original GTI was no rocket, but it defined the category.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            I have to agree with Derek too… setting some arbitrary performance threshold that you just made up doesn’t really mean anything.

            Everyone has different requirements and preferences. If a manufacturer makes a hatchback car and then develops a sporting version of it then that’s the hot hatch. It might be weaker in some areas that others and that is where the reviews come in. Not calling the Cooper S or JCW a hot hatch because its slower or costs too much isn’t fair. You could probably even make a case for the 500 Turbo but the existence of the Abarth sort of negates it.

  • avatar
    hawox

    when i was a kid i used the 1st gen focus rs. i think the best handling fwd car i ever driven (or maybe is a matter of memory).
    from what i understand this one is a bit heavier and “grown up”, infact it starts to be too big and expensive for a hot hatch. the costs to maintain this thing in europe are out of the possibility for 90% of young men. it’s be interesting to see a comparison of the original focus rs with the new fiesta st.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Not quick enough? Cobb Focus ST:

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/cobb-ford-focus-st-test-review

  • avatar
    FunctionOfX

    8″ screen is resistive touch….centre stack has capacitive buttons

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Although YMMV, according to the EPA, the Focus also delivers a 4 mpg fuel economy advantage. Using their “standard driving profile” for # miles and city/highway ratio, its a not insubstantial $600/year difference in the Focus’s favor. Do the math, and it’s either $50/month or $3,000 over 5 years.

  • avatar

    Is anyone here old enough to compare the drive of this Focus ST with an about 2004 Neon SRT-4, please? It’s been 10 years, I understand, things changed a lot, so perhaps a direct comparison is not so valid, but still I’m curious.

  • avatar
    jetcal1

    I drove both ST models. The Fiesta was my preferred drive. However, I bought the Focus.
    Why?
    The $2K difference did not make enough of a difference given the HP gap and I will not be tossing the car around. They are both acceptable commuters, and at my age the larger screen was better.
    The question will be fully answered when they have depreciated and the market has spoken.

  • avatar
    Delta9A1

    Alex – You mention that the GTI does not have voice command, but my 2012 has that feature. A “microphone” button on the left side of the wheel. I only know because I hit the button sometimes and a woman’s voice starts nagging me for instructions. Might not be as good as Ford SYNC (I have only used GM, VW and Porsche voice systems), but it does exist.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Sadly it doesn’t exist anymore (not in the same way it does in your 2012). VW actually removed a large portion of the voice command library from their systems recently because of performance complaints. It is an odd move that has a number of VW owners a bit upset.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I had no idea the Fiesta was so much longer than a GTI. If you didn’t let me see them together and made me pick which was larger, I’d pick the GTI.

    RE: 40-foot turning radius. Unacceptable!

    And what’s with the extra sloppy engine bays by Ford? I’ve noticed this since back in about 2008 with the 3.5 in the Taurus/Sable.

    Also, that’s too much money for this sort of car. I don’t see how it’s better to have a little hatch than a proper-sized Mustang, even if it does have less doors. People in nice Mustangs look cool, but people in little hatchbacks look a) poor to the uninformed or b) like a douche for having a hot hatch to the informed. Nearly all GTI drivers I see fall into douche category.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Just a small correction, I assume you already meant that it’s the Focus that’s longer than the GTI. The Fiesta is shorter, but then that really shows in the size of the back seat.

    • 0 avatar

      Better a messy bay than a functionless, ugly plastic cover! That’s just me though, I know.

      • 0 avatar

        I heard those plastic covers did something to help cars to come up to the temperature quicker, thus helping the fuel economy. Not sure if there’s any truth to that, and why the old style bonnet insulation mats were not sufficient.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      Sloppy engine bay? I like exposed engine parts, cables, wiring, and hoses. Especially compared to the crap that Lexus puts out, so that you open the hood and are greeted with nothing but plastic panels.

      Seriously if I loved everything else about a car but under the hood was like the following pic, I would walk away.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/2013-Lexus-RX-350-F-Sport-034.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        It isn’t just that the parts are exposed, it’s that the exposed parts are sloppy. If I remove the cover from the engine in my car, the exposed parts look considerably more organized than the Focus ST.

        I have no idea if it will make a difference when it comes to service, but I had the same reaction to the picture of the Focus ST’s engine bay.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      Corey,
      I did not price the Mustang, but let me assure you there was a significant amount off the sticker. It significantly dropped the gap between the fiesta and the focus.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy

      The engine shroud has been removed. It’s covered by plastic normally.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “People in nice Mustangs look cool, but people in little hatchbacks look a) poor to the uninformed or b) like a douche for having a hot hatch to the informed. Nearly all GTI drivers I see fall into douche category.”

      There is at least one Focus ST owner commenting on this piece and several GTI owners – why are you choosing to deliberately insult them? Taking yourself way too seriously does not compensate for others not taking you seriously at all.

      If you don’t think hot hatches deserve to exist, then GTFO and go read another article – this article is about a hot hatch.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It was an opinion, for which I shall not apologize. It was also a generalization. If you decided to take it literally and to a very specific level, that’s your choice. I didn’t say anything about their existence.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Well, you said how these owners look to the uninformed and to the informed – so that’s everybody. That doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room, my friend. You can offer your opinion as to this type of car, but when you start offering your opinion as to the owners of them in the form of an insult, that’s when you run into trouble.

          Don’t take the dodge of offering an insult, very specifically defined as to whom it’s directed at, then blame those you closely defined for taking offense.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Insults are dependent on taking offense, and that’s a choice. If you choose to be offended when offense is intended, you are a fool. And if you choose to be offended when no offense is intended, then you are a damned fool.

            I happen to agree that as a general rule, most people view those in hot hatches as either poor or douchy. That’s just life, and if you are insulted by it, that’s your problem.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Some might say people in Mustangs look like juvenile rednecks. See, there is a stereotype and bias for every car.

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    I was looking at a used 2013 ST with the ST3 package here for around 22K. Only had 10K miles. These seem to depreciate faster than normal. I think it’s the fact that cars like these like to be driven hard. It’s hard to sell a used STI, ST, R because you don’t know how the previous owner drove it. I know how I would drive it if I had it.

    • 0 avatar
      lightbulb

      You probably could get even for less without much effort. They just don’t hold their value that well. I see used STs with low miles, with ST2 package for under $20000 on used car sites. This is good news for used car buyers that want such a car. It is a good value.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Good question, I’m also curious. I drove (“try for the weekend”) a 2012 Focus Titanium, and was very impressed by a lot of things, but the headliner was ill-fitting, and some of the interior parts felt like they’d been used pretty hard. Also the auto-manual transmission seemed like a common source of complaints, so I was just too nervous to sign up. The price was pretty darned low for a one-year-old vehicle with under 30k.

    • 0 avatar
      pg123456789

      The depreciation looks steep if you compare it with MSRP. There are large rebates on “new” Focus ST. Just check any car sales website. You can get an ST1 for around $21,000, ST2 for around $23,000 and an ST3 for around $25,000. Hence ST3 for around $22,000 seems about the right amount of depreciation for a late model. If you can stretch, why not get a new one.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    It’s a pity that you can pay $25K for a new car, and still get stuck with a resistive touchscreen that was rendered obsolete by the iPhone in 2007. Is Cadillac’s CUE the sole exception in this regard?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Have you driven a Ford, lately?

    Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car
    http://www.businessinsider.com/ford-exec-gps-2014-1#ixzz2pvjQIb2d

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I’m sure the Obama regime wouldn’t have any interest in accessing such data just because it exists and could be used to their advantage.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Ford exec apologizes for telling the truth:
        http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140109/AUTO0102/301090127/1361/

        You have to read it to believe it.

        “Ford on Thursday denounced those comments.

        “Ford is absolutely committed to protecting our customers’ privacy,” company spokesman Wes Sherwood said. “We do not track our customers. No data is transmitted from the vehicle without the customer’s express consent.”

        Customers give consent when they use a navigation or voice-activated system.”

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          People that buy UAW-3 products deserve to forfeit any semblance of freedom or privacy just as much as people that actually voted for O***a.

          • 0 avatar
            Loser

            So what’s your take on import leg humpers? Ignorance is bliss.

            http://jalopnik.com/5126350/toyota-safety-connect-lexus-enform-take-aim-at-gm-onstar-with-new-service

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            CJ, how were the complimentary waiting room donut/bagels and coffee dujring your recall?

            http://m.trucktrend.com/features/news/2013/163_news130424_2012_2013_honda_cr_v_acura_rdx_recall/index.html

  • avatar
    lightbulb

    The issue with the ST over the competition is the steep deprecation. The GTI will hold it’s value much more over the ST. If one cares about the resale value then the GTI wins out. The other issue is the ST boy racer look is not as appealing as the more refined look and feel of the GTI. Then there is the poor real world fuel mileage. Though the GTI also isn’t that great. The fuel milage is the main reason I would not buy either over the standard models.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Ford certainly got the timing right with the Focus ST, arriving at a time when the GTI, MS3 and JCW Mini were all long in the tooth. The question is how well it will hold up once these updated models arrive in the next year? My guess would be those looking for lively city car will choose the Fiesta ST and those looking for more grown up thrills and better resale values will choose the 2015 GTI.

  • avatar
    majo8

    Nice review! Your 1/4 mile time is very close to what I achieved: 14.38 @ 100.14 mph. A couple of notes on your review — the spare tire is a full-sized spare ( not a donut ), and the back seat does fold flat, but you have to fold the seat bottoms up first to allow the seat backs to fold flat. My ST is a ’13 model, but I believe the ’14 didn’t change these two items.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy

      The spare is 17″ vs the ST2/3 model 18″ tires. Do you have a problem getting the headrests off the back seats? Mine are a real pain in the ass, it’s like they are held by super glue. Annoying.

      • 0 avatar
        majo8

        Yeah…. they’re a little tougher than most to get out, but I removed mine when I bought the car and have left them out ever since.

        Overall the ST is has been one of my favorite DD’s I’ve owned.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Alex, if you’re going to comment on the looks of a vehicle, i suggest actually looking at it first.

    The Focus…especially the ST…is Aztek level ugly. It’s horrendous. That gaping maw is cartoonish and the entire rest of the car is just a mis-mash of shapes and lines none of which have a nice flow….typical Ford design.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Z71_Silvy, if you’re going to comment on an article, I suggest actually not doing it.

      Your posts…especially everything about Ford…are predictible. It’s horrendous. This comment is another selection of your tired old bit of bashing anything Ford does without adding anything to the conversation…typical Z71_Silvy comment.

      • 0 avatar
        BigDuke6

        +1
        Best just to ignore him……

      • 0 avatar
        Z71_Silvy

        Actually none of that is true at all. I suggest not letting the truth bother you so much.

        And I am adding to the conversation…I’m commenting on the styling (if you can call it that) of the subject vehicle.

        Oh and be sure to comment the same on the many other comments that are critical of this throw away appliance. Consistency is key.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          I’m with Silvy on this one. All the current small Fords look desperately overstyled. There’s hardly a square foot that’s not been folded, carved or doodled on. Simpler, cleaner designs would indicate strength and confidence; instead, this reminds me of graffiti, rat rod flames and martial arts weapons. Which may suit the target audience, I admit.

        • 0 avatar
          UC17

          Except that you aren’t adding to the conversation because when anybody asks you a question you just attack.

          I’ve asked you this previously when you had criticized the looks of another vehicle, but what are some good looking cars in your opinion?

          Personally, I like the looks of the Focus ST but then I’m a 20-year-old Midwestern college kid, so I could see us having different tastes.

    • 0 avatar

      Are you a bot?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I test drove a 2013. The Recaros could not accommodate my fat ass AT ALL. You gotta be skinny to fit them seats. My fiancee fit them better but still didn’t find them at all comfortable. If you could get the base seats with the ST2 or ST3, it’d be on my list.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Cobb tuned Focus ST looses to a Buick:

    http://www.focusst.org/forum/focus-st-vs-competition/8959-buick-verano-vs-focus-st-stage-3-a.html

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The vehicle is decent looking, but I feel really compelled to point out how terrible the back end looks.
    Reminds me of a Honda civic in the ghetto with 2 layers of stick on ground affects and of course they just couldn’t end with that, they had to put a spoiler on it to complete the package.
    But at least they don’t have to worry about the rear wheels losing traction… Oh wait…

    But seriously its not half bad looking and has an awesome amount of power, but how can you ignore the rear end, your forced to look at the driver as you pass to confirm your stereotype.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Another vehicle that gets Alex’s “Approved Purchase” seal of endorsement…

    Will there be enough room to park this next to the all-magnificent-in-their-own-right Acura RXL, Honda Crosstour, Mitsubishi Mirage, Mercedes CLA, Nissan Armada & Chevrolet Spark in Alex’s driveway?

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      DeadWeight, give it a damn rest. Anybody who cares to know what you think of Alex’s reviews already knows, considering you’re even using the opportunity of OTHER reviewers’ columns to bash him.

      • 0 avatar
        theirishscion

        Yes, seconded. With all due respect DW, please can it with the invective against Alex. I don’t know if this is a phobia-based thing or what, but I’m tired of it. Alex writes an in depth, well reasoned, honest review. They may not have the comedic hyperbole of one of the Baruthian masterpieces (get well soon Jack!) but they’re also a damn sight more useful and I genuinely enjoy reading/watching them. It is _exceedingly_ easy for you to scan the by-line and choose not to read the review. It is a great deal harder for us to avoid your posts on the topic.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I remember a time when Ford performance vehicles would be aesthetically pleasing when you opened the hood.

    Now we get a lunch tray with “ST” embossed on it draped over this uninspired chunk of dull plastic.

  • avatar

    I’m wondering if Alex was pressing right when driving on purpose or out of habit, rather than because Focus provokes its driver to do that due to some layout or visibility issues. I thought the right bias was rather prominent during the drive. When I drive Focus, I feel that it’s much wider than normal cars in the class.

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      You have me wondering the same thing now. I’ll have to see if I notice myself doing that on a regular basis.

      • 0 avatar

        Alex, I’m certain you know how to drive cars. I was asking if something about Focus tend to offset drivers’s idea about the position of wheels on the road.

        Here’s a story. There’s an excellent German light airplane called “Remos GX”. We have one for rent nearby, and renters constantly land it in a slight crab, causing uneven tire wear. Apparently something about the shape of its nose makes pilots to mis-judge the centerline.

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    Looks-wise, I much prefer the longer, more stretched proportions of the Focus ST.
    Where the Fiesta looks like a fat kitten, the Focus looks more like a cheetah (but definitely not a jaguar).

    I think for most people who need to live with just one car, the Focus would be a better proposition, if only for the cargo space.

    I love the way this car looks (except for the upside-down frown grille – maybe a smile would actually look better – but not a creepy Mazda pedo-grin)

  • avatar
    ctowne

    I drove the Fiesta ST and Focus ST. I also cross shopped a ludicrously price competitive MS3 and the v6 mustang. I wound up buying the Fiesta ST. Its 500lbs lighter, and that counts. You feel it everywhere. I did not feel the interior much smaller at all over the Focus, it fits my road bike same as the car it replaced, plenty of helmet room, gets nearly 10mpg more than the MS3 in similar conditions, and was 5k cheaper than the FocusST.

    The cars are both great though. What a wonderful time to be a car enthusiast. And a great time to be a Ford dealer, with 3 very competitive fun cars in the 22-27k price range.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The $25,000 question a 10 year old M3 or a new Fiesta ST?

    http://www.autoblog.com/2014/01/10/old-vs-new-debate-25000-fiesta-st-vs-e46-m3-video/

    If I was doing track duty I know what I’d pick.

    • 0 avatar
      BrunoT

      You can have a Focus ST for $25,000 easily.

      Your $25K M3 will be much more expensive to operate and repair, and if price is a factor you may not want the risk of a catastrophic failure of a major component not under warranty.

      I’d suggest instead a manual transmission 128i or 328i and some suspension and tire/wheel mods to get a newer car and stay under $25K. That engine/trans is pretty solid, cheaper to fix, and worst case, you can actually find a reasonable junked car engine or transmission.

      0-60 in what, 6.6 sec? 2011′s with a year of warranty and service left on them are in the low 20′s.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I love Hot Hatches, having started with a 1983 Rabbit GTI (my first new car) and here thirty years later I drive a Mk VI GTI. I was tempted by the SVT Focus back in 2002 but got an Evo instead. That didn’t diminish my enthusiasm for the Focus then and this new Focus ST has got game. The Fiesta ST garners even more enthusiastic reviews, but the Focus has more versatility and is probably the better real-world choice due to a more useable back seat and larger cargo capacity.

    The Mk VII GTI available here in the summer of 2014 will see a 200 lb decrease in weight and an additional 10 to 20 HP increase in power, although VW is known for understating the horsepower value by 10% (stock engine dyno pulls by APR Tuning and others). So it is possible that the Mk VII engine might be similarly understated, narrowing the true difference in power between the upcoming GTI and the current Focus ST.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    So this car is 4 dB louder than the Fiesta ST, a car which you called surprisingly loud given what you had expected based on other Fords? That sounds like it would be pretty annoying, and this is the first time I have heard this regarding the Focus ST. I hope you just forgot to upshift when those measurements were taken.

    I also have a request for the reviews. I like showing the carry-on bag in the trunk or hatch of the cars you review. How about expanding this to a 30″ piece of luggage for those of us traveling with not-so-efficient packers, or making airport runs for the same?

  • avatar
    Jacob

    I can’t really stand these stupid looking colors. If I were to drive a Focus ST or similar, I would rather blend with the crowd instead of being thought by outsiders: “Here is the dumbass street racer driving a Focus ST. He’s probably going to drift through the corner”.

    • 0 avatar
      AndyH_STi

      Then it’s a good thing for you that it comes in silver, white or black so you can blend into the crowd a bit more. Me personally, I like when a car manufacturer offers a sporty car in a more unusual, some might say ‘loud’ color. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @Andy +1

        Why would anyone complain about a car being offered in some bright colors besides the usual black, white, and 7 shades of silver that everything comes in these days?!? I mean its not hard to find any car in a boring blend in the crowd color, so why even comment on it?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Options are good, even for regular cars. I, too, am tired of the usual white-silver-gray-black + maybe a bland blue or red.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    My only experience with a Focus ST was 5 minutes in a 2013 during one of Ford’s little events they advertised at the MN state fair. I think it was the EcoBoost challenge or whatever they were calling it.

    I have to say that the 5 minutes I spent with it were fun, but the clutch engagement kept tripping me up. I was trying to no-gas it up to the start line of their little 2nd-gear-only circuit and kept stalling. I don’t know if the engagement is too low, I wasn’t used to the car (my DD is a 13 Focus SE), or just what my issue was, but it was hard to get moving.

    This could just be an artifact of me being slightly tired and light-headed (making me a little shaky), coupled with a fairly new car >600 miles on the clock.

    Could anybody else comment on the clutch feel as compared to your DD? Perhaps I’m imagining things?

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    One of these days, perhaps auto reviewers will use real world prices instead of just MSRP numbers. The Focus and Mustang are both seeing huge discounting and incentives. The prices I got on them are:

    Focus ST – with mid line package $21,830
    Mustang V6 Premium plus performance package $21,950

    To both are added $500 dealer fee and taxes that vary.

    There may be a tweak or two needed to make them totally identical in “kit”, but you can see they are essentially the same price.

    Basically, buy what you want, if they perform and function similarly, odds are they will cost about the same. Especially if from the same manufacturer. But always check real prices, not MSRP, especially on American cars.


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