Ford Focus ST (2015) review: Absolutely mental styling, engine, handling
Many reasons to buy the Focus ST, one reason why you shouldn't
- Gutteral, intoxicating engine note
- Outrageous styling
- Well equipped
- Auto drivers will have to learn manual
- Stiff ride
Price$ 38,990.00 (AUD)
The ST has come a long way from the modest gene pool of Ford’s Focus. Its lines are sharper and more masculine, its bonnet bulges and the hexagonal grille of its front makes it look as though it is grinding its teeth.
Bold styling swears it has some performance pedigree, with a spoiler that extends well over its boot, large 18-inch alloys and two hexagonal tailpipes. Then there’s the ST badging, which is in a colour coined by Ford as ‘Blood Red’.
The interior is in keeping with this bravado. The Recaro seats take inspiration from a racing car set-up, as do the dashboard's instrument gauges and the high-mounted the gear stick. The resulting sensation is that the driver’s seat feels more like a cockpit.
Some parts of the interior are raw. The lining of the centre console isn’t fixed and lifting it up reveals unrefined metal. And when long feet exceed the length of the accelerator pedal, they can feel the rack of the steering column rotate as the car turns. These traits would be red flags in a luxury car, but the ST won’t apologise for such lapses: its styling forewarns performance comes first.
No matter, spending a day inside the Focus ST is a pleasant experience, especially for those seated behind the wheel. There’s a 9-speaker Sony sound system and the infotainment system is managed from an 8-inch touchscreen. Driver’s seldom have to take their eyes from the road with an exemplary trip computer, located in the instrument panel, which feeds information that is both relevant and contextual.
Representatives at Ford proudly promote Sync2, which is the personal assistant featured in select models. Fixed voice commands ensure it accurately recognises prompts — most of the time.
Ride quality remains less refined. This is a stiff car programmed to stick to the road, and those that are slightly worn cause it to waddle as it dips into potholes and rides the bumps. Forgiving this transgression is easy because expecting the ST to be comfortable is like buying sport shoes to wear when you’re sitting down.
More than anything, this car is about laughter: laughter in idle, laughter in the bends and laughter on the straights.
Beneath the bonnet is a 2-litre, 4-cylinder engine that is turbocharged to deliver 184kW to the front wheels. This is enough to get the ST from 0-100 in 6.5 seconds, though the statistic fails to articulate how this car builds up to speed.
It starts with the car sitting stationary at the lights, the engine's burble warns it is no ordinary hatchback. Hands begin to dampen the perforated leather on the steering wheel. The light turns green.
Tap the throttle and it gives off a warm note. ‘Sporty’ hatchbacks are often characterised by a pitch higher in tune. Hearing one driving down the road is all it takes to know a four-cylinder is coming.
The ST differs. Its engine note is so deep and guttural that it fools you into thinking it has twice as many cylinders. Quieting it requires a high gear, such as fifth or six, which will also serve the purpose of economy.
Bury the pedal and the front wheels struggle to put down the power. Torque steer — a common occurrence in low gears — causes the steering wheel to flail left and right.
This car needs to be handled, grabbed by the scruff of its neck and commandeered into a straight line. Wasting power at the wheels is not the quickest means of going fast, but the barely-tamed attitude does pay off by involving the driver.
There’s a mechanical purity to this car. Only a manual transmission is offered; the clutch is heavy, the gear shift is smooth and engaging a gear is punctuated by a metallic ‘click’. It barks during down gears, not with some inorganic petrol afterburn, but with the audible sound of the engine wasting revs greater than 3000rpm.
Cornering remains a hallmark of the ST brand. Darty steering allows it to hit the apex of a corner and its propensity to grip will see a tight line through. Upgrades have not taxed the car’s playful personality. The brakes are applied to select wheels — as part of the car’s torque vectoring control — in an effort to rein the car in. Other changes reaping rewards include the optimised electric power steering and upgrades made to the car’s suspension.
So much of the ST focuses on the purity of a sports car. It nails it in every aspect, besides the shape, which is a pivotal part of a sports car’s identity. This is a hatchback suited for the family, and yet it only comes in manual and has a rough ride.
Pricing is from $38,990, and that’s little more than the $37,150 Subaru BRZ, which is a car that looks nothing like Ford’s hatchback ST.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Lessons from SXSW: Life without Uber is mostly fine
- US Army shows off its 'hoverbike' delivery drone
- Intel buys Mobileye for $15 billion to challenge Nvidia for the future of self-driving cars
- First full-scale Hyperloop system is almost ready for takeoff
- Intel showed how 5G networking will power VR and self-driving cars
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPJunior Business AnlystVIC
- FTSenior Android DeveloperNSW
- TPAPS6 Java DeveloperACT
- TPBusiness Analyst - HealthQLD
- FTPHP DeveloperNSW
- FTLead DevOps EngineerNSW
- FTHadoop Service AdministratorWA
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- TPJunior Software DeveloperQLD
- FTLinux / Unix Systems AdministratorSA
- FTSAP Data Migration LeadNSW
- TPSenior/Lead AEM DeveloperQLD
- FTStorage Engineer (HDS)NSW
- TPLead TesterNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- FTOracle eBusiness Functional Consultant. (Procurement)NSW
- FTLead Change Manager- Culture & Process ChangeNSW
- CCSenior Network Designer - CiscoVIC
- FTSenior Business Analysis - FinanceQLD
- CCChange LeadNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - SalesforceNSW
- FTQA LeadNSW
- FTPeoplesoft Functional Consultant - Campus SolutionsNSW