The new Ford Focus ST is now in South Africa, and Ford has a lot of great things to say about it. It’s their first global performance car, and a “halo product” for the American brand. Talk is cheap though, torque isn’t. How does the car stack up?
Quite well actually. In fact, better than that. It’s brilliant.
Ford have created a really fun performance car in the ST, but one that’s just as easy and fun to drive on city streets or Highveld highways. They’ve lowered the chassis by 10mm, included a sports suspension with specially tuned dampers and left just a little bit of torque steer in the car, to give you that feeling of control that so many performance cars these days work hard to rob you of.
The 2013 Ford Focus ST features a 184kw 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine that is smooth to drive, quick on take-off and road-trip friendly. The fastest Focus ST to date is great to drive day-to-day, and delivers on the track as if it was built for it.
On the track, the ST is terrific fun, albeit a bit too impossible to screw up. Taking corners at 100km/h is best fun if you have the feeling that something could go horribly wrong. Thanks to Ford’s Sport’s Steering System, this feeling isn’t there. Start off in an ST, but graduate on as you get better.
6 colors are available in the 5-door hatch that’s more stacked than a pirate’s chest. An aggressive and aerodynamic front, bulging side-skirts and a dynamic rear bumper are holding within them specially designed steering wheel and pedals, Recaro seats, keyless entry and start, a deflation detection system and Bi-Xenon HID headlamps.
Being a performance car, the sound the car makes matters, and in the Focus ST they’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the inside of the cabin gets a generous dose of the sounds of fossil fuels being vaporized. Thanks to a newly-enhanced sound symposer, engine noise comes directly from the intake in to the car.
Both the ST 1 and ST 3 Focus ST derivatives come bundled with the multifunction Sony entertainment system, and its run using Ford and Microsoft’s collaborative SYNC system.
An advanced software platform that provides hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity, the SYNC voice system actually works. And pretty damn well too. I would hazard to say that you might actually find yourself using it instead of just telling your mates your car has it.
Connect any compatible smartphone or media player to the car via Bluetooth and get going learning the 150 voice commands the system can recognise. While most manufacturers offer something similar, the SYNC does a great job of recognition and freeing up your hands to help you drive safer. It’ll even read you an incoming SMS so you don’t have to look down.
Ford are offering their comprehensive 4 year / 120 000km warranty and 5 year / 90 000km service plan on the car, and here’s the best news, the car starts from a completely miniscule R309 530. Few other cars make as much sense as the Ford Focus ST it seems.
FOCUS ST PRICING
ST 1 (R309 530)
ST 3 (R353 700)
Engine: 2.0-litre Turbo EcoBoost
Transmission: 6-speed manual
0 - 100km/h : 6.5 seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 248km/h
Consumption: 7.2 litres/100km
STORY BY STEVEN SLOTOW