Used 2013 Ford Focus ST Hatchback Review & Ratings | Edmunds

Used 2013 Ford Focus ST Hatchback Review

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Edmunds Expert Review of the 2013 Ford Focus ST Hatchback

  • A Edmunds Rating
  • The 2013 Ford Focus ST delivers performance like a hot hatchback from Michigan, yet doesn't forget to deliver the poise and polish of a fine European sedan.

  • Pros

    Powerful turbocharged engine; precise six-speed manual gearbox; sharp handling; poised ride; stylish interior with many high-tech options.

  • Cons

    Infotainment controls are finicky to learn and use; no automatic transmission offered; backseat is a little short on legroom.

  • What's New for 2013

    For 2013, the Ford Focus ST is an all-new model.

Full 2013 Ford Focus ST Review

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Ford Focus ST is an all-new model.


It's understandable if you find yourself thinking of the 2013 Ford Focus ST as an exotic model imported from Europe.

The sleek lines of the bodywork surely suggest innovative European style. A 252-horsepower turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection surely suggests exotic European technology. A poised, comfortable ride combined with agile, fluent handling surely suggests European tuning. But as it turns out, the 2013 Ford Focus ST is built in Michigan, and it can be had at a discount price, just as you'd expect from anything made in America.

As small cars have lately taken a more premium aspect in appearance, so, too have these cars also morphed into the kind of high-performance packages that appeal to grown-ups as well as kids. The Honda Civic Si, Mazdaspeed 3, Mini Cooper S, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen GTI all have become respectable as well as fast, and the Ford Focus ST takes its place among them.

To be sure, the Focus ST makes its mark in this group with performance, thanks to its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission and clever electronics that help make this powerful front-wheel-drive car tractable and easy to drive quickly. Yet more surprising is the availability of features and options that you would expect only from a car with a far grander price, notably the MyFord Touch and Sync electronics interface for the audio and navigation systems.

Just like the Ford Focus itself, the 2013 Ford Focus ST looks and feels as if it should be priced higher, which is just about the highest compliment that can be paid to any automobile. In a way, it offers the best of both worlds offered by the GTI and Mazdaspeed. For performance, it keeps up with the Mazda and outperforms the GTI. And for refinement, it matches the VW and bests the Mazda. It's also much more practical than a Cooper S.

The Focus ST does have a couple drawbacks -- namely the finicky-to-use MyFord Touch interface and the lack of an automated transmission -- but overall we think it's raised the bar for the hot-hatch class.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2013 Ford Focus ST is a performance-oriented version of the Focus four-door hatchback. There is no sedan version.

Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, performance summer tires, performance brakes, an electronically controlled limited-slip front differential, keyless ignition/entry, full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding seatback, the Sync voice-activated phone and audio player interface, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

The ST2 package (Equipment Group 201A) package adds Recaro front sport seats, cloth/leather surfaces, dual-zone automatic climate control, the MyFord Touch electronics interface (with 8-inch touchscreen display) and a 10-speaker Sony sound system with HD radio and satellite radio. The ST3 package (Equipment Group 202A) includes the ST2's features and adds xenon headlamps, heated front Recaro seats, full leather upholstery, Recaro-designed rear seats, ambient interior lighting and a navigation system.

Every ST is available with a sunroof and the optional Performance Pack, which offers the standard 18-inch wheels with a dark finish plus red trim for the brake calipers.

Powertrains and Performance

The signature of the front-wheel-drive 2013 Ford Focus ST is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine that delivers 252 hp and 270 pound-feet of torque. It's matched with a six-speed close-ratio manual transmission.

Ford claims the Ford Focus ST will reach 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. The EPA estimates the Focus ST will achieve 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined, placing it near the top of the hot-hatch class for fuel economy.


The 2013 Ford Focus ST comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. The Ford Sync system also includes an emergency crash notification feature that automatically dials 911 when paired with a compatible cell phone. Also standard is Ford's MyKey system, which can be used to set certain parameters for teen drivers.

In government crash testing, the Focus received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal impact protection and five stars for overall side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Focus its highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The interior of the Focus ST shows the way in which compact cars now blend utility with an appreciation for fine materials and leading-edge design. The interior is attractive and the materials are best-in-class. And just as you'd expect in a performance car, the driving position is excellent, while the optional Recaro front seats offered in the ST2 and ST3 prove supportive without being punishing. The ST also incorporates a binnacle of three supplementary gauges on top of the dash.

However, the layout of other gauges and controls is a little complicated, particularly the optional MyFord Touch system. It provides some neat customization possibilities, but in real-world operation we've found that the virtual buttons are difficult to identify at a glance, and too often get pressed accidentally or fail to respond properly. At the very least, though, technologies controlled by MyFord Touch like Sync and HD radio help set the Focus ST apart from the pack.

The rear seat is slightly short on legroom, although the Recaro seats in the ST3 make the accommodations perfect for two. The hatchback configuration offers excellent utility, with 23.8 cubic feet of space with the 60/40-split rear seats up and a generous 44.8 cubic feet with them folded down.

Driving Impressions

Just as you'd expect from a car in this category, the 2013 Ford Focus ST bristles with performance, and the sound that the turbocharged engine makes as it revs toward 6,000 rpm is deeply thrilling. The precision of the steering and the crisp action of the six-speed manual transmission make you feel as if you're in touch with this car's mechanical soul.

Yet it might be more surprising that the Focus ST manages to keep its composure along the way. Special tuning of the electric-assist power steering, electronic differential control and stability control help maintain traction without making the car feel clumsy. And if you're looking for more excitement, you can dial the stability control into a more permissive setting or switch it off altogether.

In the end the Ford Focus ST delivers just the sort of European refinement that it projects at first glance. This is a small car meant to drive long distances: a compact, practical car that can deliver the experience of speed and style that you want from a luxury coupe. It's a European car made in Michigan, and, best of all, it's priced like an American car, too.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 17 reviews) Write a Review

Expensive disappointment

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford Focus ST 4dr Hatchback w/EcoBoost (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I'll probably never buy a Ford again after this disaster. I bought it looking for something fun, relatively good on gas mileage and a standard transmission. Unfortunately while it does have some impressive power and handling, it otherwise was a huge disappointment. I'll try to encapsulate the downsides here... First, the body. Most of the exterior is made of plastic and clipped together. Body lines especially where it meets the bumper began sagging after the first year. I also had the misfortune of running over a groundhog and bot the front and rear bumpers exploded like it was made of legos. The brake dust on the wheels was horrendous. Within a few miles they would be coated black like coal. Blind spots in both changing lanes and backing up are the worst I've ever experienced in 20 years of driving. I cannot tell you how many close calls I had changing lanes and I'm a relatively safe/conservative driver. Storage space is almost non existent in both the rear and front (holders etc) interior is comprised of hard plastic and cheap feeling. Seats and ride and stiff, tight and painful. After about 40 minutes it's not an option not to stop and take a break especially if you're over 5'8" and or 150 lbs. The gear ratio is so close that while it'll launch you up to speed in a hurry, driving around town is frusterating. Also 6th gear at highway speed still leaves you at high rpm's and is exceptionally noisey. Winter driving even with winter performance tires is an adventure. The car is way too light and will slide probably with chains on. I've driven rwd cars with better handling. AC and heat is more like a climate out of control system. The heat was Luke warm at best...AC never really got cold after numerous servicings. Controls cheap looking and feeling. Sync system was fair but not intuitive. I was able to tolerate it until after about 8 months I had to pull the fuse for it under the glove box to reset it on a monthly basis. It's not an easy fuse to get to, I'll leave it at that. My last frustration is its next to impossible to maintain yourself. The airfilter box is made of cheap plastic and requires the filter for structural integrity. Changing to oil is nearly impossible for the regular joe. If you want something fast that sucks in the snow, buy a mustang...but I'd recommend avoiding Ford's altogether.

Best car i've ever owned

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Focus ST 4dr Hatchback w/EcoBoost (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I've had a very long history of getting bored with my cars after a couple years and trading them in. I've owned and driven more cars than a 32 year old rightly should. So it's come as a huge surprise to my friends and I that after 2+ years of ownership, I'm still madly in love with my Ford. It's a blast to drive (best FWD car I've ever driven next to the Fiesta ST), practical (I fit a 60 inch flat screen in box no problem), and economical (I average 31mpg+ on road trips). In addition the car has been 100% reliable, my Ford dealer here in Washington has given me the best customer service I've ever had, and the ST community is great! I look forward to driving my Focus ST for years to come. P.S. Ford invited me to the ST Octane Academy in Utah for free just for buying one. One of the best experiences of my life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Best hot hatch value for the money

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Focus ST 4dr Hatchback w/EcoBoost (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Total adrenaline rush to drive; fighter-jet cockpit; super fast and powerful; excellent turbo boost design; decent gas mileage even stomping on the go pedal; best-in-class handling; intelligent design inside and out by Ford SVT; great looks and exhaust sound; quality Sony sound system; A+ race red paint; perfectly matched with Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tires; practical as daily commuter with the ability to blow nearly everyone away on the open road. Absolutely the best value for the money out of all the hot hatches on the market today, bar none. Ford hit a grand slam with this car. Only wish: the larger rotors on the front brakes should have also been put on the rear ones.


by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford Focus ST 4dr Hatchback w/EcoBoost (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

I have 29k miles on the car. I have had 0 problems making it the most reliable car to date I have owned. I was pleased to see that all the panels lined up as there was a bit of conversation about ill fit and finish. I use this car on the hiway primarily but when it comes time to drive it on the twisty's it runs hard. If I had any changes I would make the bottom 5 gears a little closer ratio.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Affordable performance

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Vehicle: 2013 Ford Focus ST 4dr Hatchback w/EcoBoost (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

A great test of a performance car is driving on Italian roads. You pretty much get everything thrown at you, from super fast autostrade winding thru the mountains, extremely narrow roads with severe switchbacks, and fun sweepers thru Tuscany. Those are the places I've been driving my 2013 ST (the base model), from the Dolomites to the Amalfi Coast, and chasing a souped up Megane up the side of Vesuvius (and over taking him). This car does all of it well. It's engine is remarkable, the stearing precise, and the transmission a joy. Any complaints I have are usually over shadowed by the fun of driving this car. Point it exactly where you want to go and it will, happily.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Love my st

by on
Vehicle: 2013 Ford Focus ST 4dr Hatchback w/EcoBoost (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)

Have owned since 4/13 and have 16K fun miles already. Lots of highway and in traffic miles. Love the way you pick a gear with smooth shifting gear box, punch and go. This from someone who owned a Z06 Vette for 8 years. With hwy miles I avg 29 mpg overall. Overall quality is solid. Have full option set, Recaros, sunroof, Navi, etc. still under $30k

Talk About The 2013 Focus ST

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Gas Mileage


  • 23
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
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