High fun factor combined with the every-day versatility of a four-door hatchback, the Ford Focus ST has always been the top runner for enthusiasts looking for driving fun around the city with an eclectic mix of excellent handling, punchy performance, and affordable practicality.
The third gen Focus ST ups the ante with sharper style, and upgraded performance, with the new turbocharged Ford Ecoboost engine, sporty chassis, impressive handling, and aggressive styling marked by a lower, wider stance.
An instant delight for manual shift lovers, the ST only comes with a slick, six-speed manual gearbox, paired with a new front-wheel-drive chassis –no paddle-shift or auto option.
The turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder EcoBoost unit replaces the five pot 2.5-litre Volvo engine on the ST. Despite having a cylinder and considerable CCs shaved off, the engine still makes much more power than the outgoing one – a boost of 22bhp to 247bhp, coupled with 339Nm of torque; propelling the pocket rocket from 0-100kmph in a quick 6.2 seconds, topping at an astonishing 248kmph.
The ST is a hot hatchback with plenty of show on the go. The design screams performance with aggressive tweaks like body kit with lower valances and rocker moldings, with just the right amount of fender flares, trim touch-ups, and a high mounted rear spoiler. The headlights are more streamlined and the front fascia adopts a cleaner version of Ford’s trapezoid grille with the boisterous ST badge sitting in the bottom right corner.
The sporty theme is continued inside, with heavily bolstered front Recaro leather sports seats, flat-bottom, leather-wrapped steering wheel with ST badging, contrast piping, and carbon fiber trim.
Adding to the performance driving aesthetic are the unique ST sport gauges, and the extra turbo boost, oil pressure and oil-temperature meters sitting atop the central console sporting race inspired red needle pointers, along with metal pedals and gear lever, and ST scuff plates.
The ST is an easy drive in traffic, with plenty of low-end torque complimenting the compact size and a butter-smooth master clutch and shifter. The 6-speed manual is an absolute delight with a short throw and clear shift pattern. The clutch is a bit on the heavier side though with a high engagement point.
Steering is a joy too, with a heavy feel, giving you a sense of overall control, even when you put pedal to the metal. Weaving through city traffic is a breeze, and thanks to the ST’s sharp response, you feel like you are saddled in the cockpit of some NFS grade car (the ST, by the way, has featured in NFS, if you didn’t know).
For superb traction, the sport suspension of the Focus is aided by the Torque Vectoring Control (TVC), a ride assist tech generally found only in premium car. The TVC provides enhanced traction and handling, and allows automatic speed adjustment via the brakes between the front wheels while accelerating around corners. The hatchback almost feels like an all-wheel drive during tight maneuvers.
The cabin is quiet, even at higher speeds, as is the exhaust. However, downshift from sixth to third, and a smooth blat fills the cabin courtesy Ford trickery. The induction noise is pumped to the back of the dashboard through a tube, where it resonates and creates the brap sound-note, which feels quite original. Creating artificial octaves is some sort of an in thing these days. Another of Ford’s legendary Mustang Ecoboost, and BMW M5 and M6 have grunts playing through the speakers (funny isn’t it?).
The stylish bright-tipped dual center-exit exhaust is a true dual system that reduces back pressure to enhance horsepower. The bright sharp cut tips add a sporty flair to the sculpted rear lines of the Focus ST.
To sum it up, the new Focus ST is a star on both the road and track and actually while offering decent fuel efficiency and value. A sporty fun hatch to be out on the road with; looks the part, goes the part.
2016 Ford Focus ST
2.0- litre Ecoboost
TK 0-100: 6.2 sec; Top Speed: 248kmph
6-Speed Maunal shift
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