The Ford Focus ST Americans Can't Have Looks Great

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
the ford focus st americans cant have looks great

Europe invented the hot hatch, so perhaps it’s fitting that the Ford Focus ST lives on in that market. But we’d be lying if we said we were happy about it — especially after hearing just how good the next-generation model is shaping up to be. While Ford nixed the model in North America, part of its decision to prioritize high-margin crossovers and pickups, it continues perfecting the model for customers in other parts of the world. By our estimation, there’s real headway being made.

Available as a five-door hatchback and a real-deal wagon (available later), the 2019 Focus ST receives a version of Ford’s 2.3-liter Ecoboost turbo boasting 276 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Alternatively, there’s a 2.0-liter diesel option tuned to 187 horsepower. While we can’t speak to the diesel model, the gasoline variant should be a hell of a lot of fun. The old ST certainly was, and the new Euro-spec Ford tacks on an additional 25 horsepower and 40 foot-pounds.

Further widening the gap, Ford has equipped the vehicle with an electronic limited-slip differential — the first it has ever affixed to a front-wheel drive vehicle. According to the manufacturer, the unit should adjust to changing grip levels and driver inputs by using “computer-controlled pre-emptive actuation.” Ford also beefed up the suspension, adding continuously controlled damping, and tack-capable brakes. Obviously larger, Ford claims the new binders achieved almost four times the fade resistance performance of the previous-generation Focus ST during testing. Meanwhile, the inclusion of an electronic brake booster helps owners dial in pedal feel and responsiveness to suit whatever drive mode they find themselves in.

“Selecting Track mode instantly makes braking response more direct and edgy; introduces higher steering efforts for more feedback; tunes the throttle to be more aggressive; instructs the eLSD to deliver maximum traction; and gives drivers more leeway within the ESC system,” said David Put of Ford Performance vehicle dynamics. “Drivers can have full confidence in the Focus ST’s ability to deliver on the track.”

Considering Ford also decided to upgrade the vehicle’s interior with more screens, gauges, and nicer materials than what the U.S. was privy to, we’re feeling an emotion bordering on envy. Europe and Asia already had the fourth-gen Focus’ good looks; now they’re getting more of everything else.

There’s a bigger spoiler, rev matching, an anti-lag system for the turbo, cooling has been improved, the central exhaust was swapped to a twin configuration to allow for towing, and there’s new rear diffuser. There’s also a cornucopia of adjustable drive modes and advanced safety systems — including adaptive cruise control (with lane keeping and stop & go), evasive steering assist, active park assist, and a head-up display.

A six-speed manual remains the standard gearbox, though Ford promises a “quick-shifting new seven-speed” automatic transmissions for those who want it. Ford’s Performance Pack is also optional, adding the aforementioned track mode, launch control, and red brake calipers.

It looks like a great car on paper, and there’s no reason to think its specs won’t translate well into real-world driving. Unfortunately, most of us will never know how well, as the 2019 Ford Focus ST isn’t coming to the United States.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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2 of 22 comments
  • Kosmo Kosmo on Feb 19, 2019

    Dear Ford, Would purchase the wagon version today, at MSRP.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Feb 21, 2019

    F**k Ford and the other car manufacturer's who have turned their backs on smaller practical cars in favor of bloated, top heavy and horribly handling SUVs/CUVs...

  • Teddyc73 The Mark VIII was the first car I lusted over as a young new auto enthusiast. Still think it's a beauty after all these years.
  • Art Vandelay wish They’d do an SS version of the Bolt. We need more electric hot hatches and this is a clean enough design that it would look good
  • ToolGuy Your Jeep is too studly.
  • ToolGuy I had a point to make, but can't remember if it related to Part XXVIIII or Part XXIX.
  • Daveo My dad had an 85 t-bird and I was totally into the digital dash. It was also the first car he had with cruise control and he would complain that it sped up and slowed down going up and down hills.