For decades, the best choices for a so-called "hot hatch" have typically come from automakers in Japan and Europe. Now, however, there's finally a world-class hot hatchback from Detroit again: the Ford Focus ST.
With the Focus ST, Ford (http://www.edmunds.com/ford/) has taken its regular, economy-biased Focus hatchback and modified it for added performance. With nearly 100 more horsepower than a regular Focus, sharper handling, better brakes and distinctive styling, the ST provides loads of motoring fun while allowing you to take the kids to school or carry a few friends around.
The Focus ST may be a relative newcomer to the hot hatchback segment, but it's already one of our favorites.
Current Ford Focus ST Specs
The Ford Focus ST, which is only available as a four-door hatchback, is a new model for 2013. Under its hood is an exclusive engine for the Focus lineup, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that cranks out 252 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Acceleration is impressive, yet the Focus ST is still near the top of the hot-hatch class for fuel economy.
Standard equipment highlights on the Focus ST includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, performance summer tires, performance brakes, keyless ignition and entry, the Sync voice-activated phone and audio interface and a six-speaker sound system. From here, there are two available packages: ST2 and ST3.
The ST2 package will furnish the interior with Recaro front sport seats, cloth/leather surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MyFord Touch electronics interface, an 8-inch touchscreen and a 10-speaker Sony sound system. The ST3 package adds to the ST2 features by additionally outfitting the Focus ST with bi-xenon headlights, heated front Recaro seats, full leather upholstery, Recaro rear seats, ambient interior lighting and a navigation system. A sunroof is also optional.
In reviews, we've been highly impressed with the Ford Focus ST. If you want to have fun, its turbocharged engine is at the ready even at low rpm and provides brisk acceleration. The ST also handles quite well, feeling much more engaging around corners than the typical hatchback. At the same time, the ST can still be used as a daily driver. The shifter works smoothly and the ride quality, while firm, doesn't beat you up.
The Focus ST's performance is nicely complemented by an upscale and well-equipped interior, However, the optional Recaro seats, though impressively supportive, can cause comfort problems for some people on long-distance journeys. Some small complications also arise when using the MyFord Touch system, as its virtual touchscreen buttons can be difficult to identify and use while on the move.
Overall, though, we think the Ford Focus ST is one of the best options available in the hot-hatch market. Its drawbacks are quite minor compared to the amount of fun you'll have while driving, and with features typically unavailable from competitors, the Focus ST will feel as if it's worth much more than what you're actually paying.
Used Focus ST Models
The Ford Focus ST is a brand-new model. However, there was a previous high-performance version of the first-generation Focus called the Ford Focus SVT. It was last offered from 2002-'04.
Read the most recent 2014 Ford Focus ST review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Ford Focus ST page.