A little over two years ago I made the spontaneous decision to buy a Focus ST! I went to the local Ford dealer to look at a Falcon Ute and because of the end of production it was not possible to buy the Ute. I remembered that I had looked at an ST earlier and wanted to know what they were about. Hot shutters had always appealed to me (I had also looked at the Golf GTI, but the prices put me off). I placed the order and had to wait about two months for delivery.
February rolls around and my Moondust Silver ST ends its boat trip halfway the world from Saarlouis Germany and makes its way to my driveway. At first I was a bit worried about the Recaro chairs, because their brevity was often discussed in reviews. This turned out to be unfounded and they must be some of the most comfortable seats in the Ford line-up, and the deep bolsters that the offenders apparently offend hold you while you enjoy the twisty’s.
Speaking of twisties, probably the biggest advantage of the ST is the way it deals. The balance between comfort and “sportiness” can be difficult to strike, but I think Ford has done a very good job here. It is on the fixed side, but compared to the Fiesta ST and the Focus RS it is more compliant. The controllability at the front and back is astonishing for the border, with expected transfer and upset that is difficult to provoke. The ST simply processes it beautifully and paints a smile from ear to ear. Helping the corner cutting skills are the brakes. Simply put, they are brilliant, a progressive pedal with a huge braking power of the large diameter discs at the front, and I personally have not experienced any blurring of tough driving (although I suspect this would be a different experience on a job) .
The powertrain in the ST had big shoes to fill due to the previous XR5 Turbo, with the Volvo-sourced 2.5-liter five-cylinder unit as an absolute gem. Admittedly, the 2.0-liter Ecoboost does not produce the glorious sounds of the ‘5, but the sound in the cabin is acceptable’ sporty ‘. The Ecoboost unit does provide torque, which makes you wonder how they let it do what it does. With the full 340 Nm available at just 2500 rpm and 360 Nm in the event of an increase (an extra 3 PSI), the ST pulls down from low. The engine is not something that wringes you out, and when I drive daily, I will often not exceed 3000rpm, because there is simply no need for it. The top segment is certainly losing power, and it is not worth using more than 6,000 rpm except for the sound. The manual six-speed gearbox from Getrag is user-friendly, with a light enough clutch and fairly short throws, combined with a shift lever position that could not be easier to fall into if they tried, providing a great driving experience.
From a fuel economy perspective, my long-term average is around 8.5 liters per 100 kilometers with a combination of motorway and city journeys, and longer motorway journeys that generally see fuel consumption of around 7.7 L / 100 km. Probably my only negative point about the drive is a sixth gear – it could have been a bit bigger. At 100 km / h the engine is at around 2350 rpm (and 2500 rpm at 110 km / h), which makes overtaking easy, since you rarely have to switch back – but in my opinion it could be a bit lower.
In terms of technology, the Focus is nicely equipped. I opted for the Tech-pack that provided blind spot monitoring, forward collision brake, lane assist, automatic windscreen wipers and car headlamps with active bending. The 2017 model year brought Ford’s SYNC 3 to the ST, a huge improvement on the previous SYNC 2 in general, plus Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Android Auto works well when I use it, which is probably only about a quarter of the time I am in the car. I have noticed that the lane traffic warning does not fully meet the tasks on smaller country roads, so I tend to switch it off in those situations. The automatic high beam can sometimes do crazy things, but otherwise the other functions work well and they certainly contribute to reducing the workload.
The general interior is a bit on the “interesting” side of things. The design was always a bit odd and some claim it has not been properly outdated since 2011. The facelift for the LZ model saw improvements in the central area, which is now much simpler and simpler for the eyes. The interior space is good for two people, and good for the rear seats (but these are rarely used). Storage space is good and the easy to fold rear seats increase that area enormously.
In general it turned out to be everything I wanted it to be in my two years and a month with the ST (and 72,000 km), namely a comfortable car capable of putting a smile on my face at a good mountain road.