October 31, 2013
October 22, 2013
Our year with the long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST has come to an end, which means it was time to sell it and move on. I took it to CarMax to test the price waters. Before you hit the jump, take a guess as to how much we were offered. For reference, we paid $29,065 when we bought the car last year. Edmunds trade-in TMV is $19,972.
October 21, 2013
Our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST has an oil life monitoring system. It prompted the service light to come on at about 10,000 miles after our last oil change.
October 17, 2013
Shortly after we bought our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST, I came to the conclusion that it was probably the car I would buy if I didn't do what I do. It would officially be replacing the Volkswagen GTI as the car I'd spend my hard-earned hypothetical dollars on.
One year later, though, I've reverted to my previous choice.
October 10, 2013
The odo has clocked 20,000 miles in our 2013 Ford Focus ST but it still seems like it's just getting broken in.
October 9, 2013
This photo of my dog Mya in the back of our 2013 Ford Focus ST during a road trip was one of the rare times she looked relaxed. And it probably was just because I was sitting in the back with her. But on the long drive up to San Francisco, a trip where she's usually passed out from boredom, she was awake in the Ford.
October 4, 2013
Looking over the fuel log, it was interesting to see that most tanks used by our 2014 Ford Focus ST delivered well below the combined EPA rating of 26 mpg. After driving the ST, it's clear why. It's just so much fun to drive. To merely go from point A to point B seems like a waste of a good ride. It's impossible not to engage with this car.
September 26, 2013
Some months ago I picked on our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST for its lack of cargo space. At the time I was surprised, and a bit disappointed, that I had to fold down the hot hatch's rear seat to fit my daughter's rather small 16-inch BMX bike. Today, my tune is a different one. I'm here to praise the cargo hauling capacity of this little hatchback.
September 23, 2013
On the drivability front, our 2013 Ford Focus ST has a problem.
On its own, the clutch is fine. Good even. It's got enough travel not to be jumpy and it's got some resistance without being terribly heavy. It is, however, slightly heavy and instantly effective. The clutch isn't the problem.
The throttle isn't specifically the problem either. It's light, progressive and predictable. Fine.
The problem is that these pedals belong to the same car.
September 20, 2013
Because we're not suckers, when we ordered our 2013 Ford Focus ST, we checked the box for the $2,505 Group 201A option pack and got our car equipped with slick Recaro seats. They're grippy, supportive enough for even extremely vigorous driving and Mark Takahashi doesn't fit in them. Win-win-win.
Unfortunately, they have a fatal flaw that makes me hate them.
September 11, 2013
During my recent toilet hauling trip in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST, I had to remove the cargo cover from the hatch area.
During reinstallation of the cover, I noticed that the cover's attachment points are especially well designed.
September 10, 2013
Recently, my husband and I uninstalled a perfectly good toilet from one of the bathrooms in our new old house. As this perfectly good toilet was destined for another tour of duty, we decided to deliver it to the new owner using the long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST.
September 5, 2013
During the month of August, we put 1,030 miles on our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST in limited driving. Honestly, I can't explain why we didn't drive this car more. Every time I get into our Focus ST, I'm astonished by how good it is. Quick steering, a comfy ride, a real manual gearbox and Recaro seats all under one roof? Sign me up.
We averaged 24.2 mpg over those 1,000 miles, and that's a point higher than our lifetime average of 23.2 mpg. It's also quite a bit short of the Focus ST's 26 mpg EPA combined rating.
August 29, 2013
My 710-mile road trip to San Francisco and back to L.A. in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST was accomplished at, erm, a brisk pace.
August 28, 2013
So, this happened (again) in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST during my San Francisco road trip. Apologies for the blurry pic.
August 27, 2013
I recently took a quick jaunt up to San Francisco and back in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST. Unfortunately this was a fairly quick turnaround trip, making it a freeway blast with no time to explore back roads. Bew.
Up until this point I'd not done such a trip in the yolk-hued hatch. It turns out it's suited just fine for long slogs on the superslab given its agility elsewhere. Sure, the ride's firm, but not choppy, so you don't feel beat up when you clamber out from the depths of the heavily-bolstered driver seat.
August 23, 2013
I think it's somehow appropriate for an otherwise under-the-radar car like the Focus ST to be painted Tangerine Scream. I'd certainly pick it in lieu of yet another black, white or gray car.
August 15, 2013
One of the first times I drove our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST was back in January. It was early in the morning, and the outside temps were fairly cold, maybe mid/high 30s Fahrenheit. At the time, I wasn't really thinking how the car's Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires lose a lot of their grip in such conditions. (Something that I've since discovered is actually mentioned in the owner's manual.) I was just driving around a city street corner at a modest speed when I was quite surprised to find the Focus ST back end coming around until the stability control kicked in a moment later.
What the heck? Oversteer in a front-wheel-drive car? Yep.
August 14, 2013
I'd like to claim that I've spent plenty of time behind the wheel of our 2013 Ford Focus ST attending track days and autocrosses and zipping along scenic back-country roads. That would be nice, wouldn't it? But the reality is that the majority of time I've just been using our ST for unexciting things like commuting, errands and taking my family on weekend road trips.
But I do think this lends strong support to the idea that the ST is a car you can drive every day and still have fun doing it.
August 13, 2013
Here's one thing I really like about our 2013 Ford Focus ST: I don't see myself coming and going on the road. The past few months, I've only seen one other Focus ST on the road (a blue one).
Meanwhile, the Tesla Model S, an electric car that can be three to four times as expensive as the ST, seems like it's the new Prius of Southern California. You seem them everywhere. Even the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ twins are popping up more.
August 12, 2013
As far as hot hatchbacks are concerned, I consider the 2013 Ford Focus ST to be the best of the bunch. Competitors each have their own claim to fame: the Mazdaspeed 3 for pure performance, the Subaru WRX for all-wheel-drive traction, and the Volkswagen GTI for interior refinement and comfort. But none combine everything as well as the Focus ST in my opinion.
But that's for 2013. What about 2014? Or 2015?
August 9, 2013
In Part 1 of my road trip to Nevada, I drove our 2013 Ford Focus ST to Henderson, Nevada, to tour the Zappos.com offices. Then, I headed to Las Vegas for a few days of betting. After I got my fill of bright lights, buffets, slot machines, sweltering heat and all-nighters at the poker table, I tossed my bags in the back of our Ford and pointed it south.
Leaving Las Vegas on a Saturday morning is a lonely enterprise, but experience has taught me that it will save you from the nightmare that is Sunday traffic.
August 8, 2013
Recently my wife had her 20th high school reunion in Orange County. Ideally, we could have gone to it in one of the flashy cars from the Edmunds long-term fleet, like the Porsche 911, Mercedes SLS AMG or Tesla Model S. But at the time I was signed up for the 2013 Ford Focus ST, so that's what we took.
August 6, 2013
Earlier this week Ford officially rolled out the 2014 Fiesta ST which we drove for the first time in Europe back in March of this year. Now, however, we were allowed to drive in on U.S. roads.
August 2, 2013
We added about 2,800 miles to our 2013 Ford Focus ST during July. Contained within that was the typical commuting plus a couple of road trips within California and one to Las Vegas.
For the month, we averaged 25.8 mpg. That's very close to the EPA's 26 mpg estimate for combined driving.
July 31, 2013
I took our 2013 Ford Focus ST on a long drive recently. I'm quite familiar with the car, having driven it extensively during the car's nine-month stay at Edmunds so far. Yet I'm finding myself liking our ST even more.
This doesn't always happen with our long-term cars.
July 30, 2013
Recently, a group of Edmunds employees (including me) traveled to the Zappos.com offices in Henderson, Nevada. Zappos is renowned for its strong company culture and unorthodox office space, so we Edmundsians took a tour, hoping to gain some inspiration. Since I prefer driving to flying and Las Vegas is just a couple hundred miles away, I seized the opportunity to drive there.
After packing the night before, I got up before the sun and set off in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST for the Zappos headquarters, 273 miles away.
July 26, 2013
My parents recently bought a car with MyFord Touch and as luck would have it, I was visiting when they took delivery. This gave me the opportunity to give my folks, and especially my mom, an Intro to MyFord Touch lesson. It's the most likely feature to cause headaches and although they bought a 2013 Escape 2.0 SEL and not a Focus ST, the experience would've been the same.
July 5, 2013
I try, and I try, and I try and I try. But I just can't get comfortable in the Focus ST. It's more than the seats. We've already hammered on that. Some of us like them, some of us don't. Most of us think they're a little one-dimensional. Great if you're hanging it out on a curvy road, but lousy for retrieving some Thai take-out.
So the seats are a part of it. But it's also the way the instrument panel rises from the depths and swells toward you with its weird waterfalling Transformers design. It's slightly claustrophobic, but everything's easy to reach. Except the touchscreen, which is angled up and away. That, combined with the menu-diving and precision tapping required for most operations, de-motivates you from, say, adjusting existing bass and treble settings while driving. What works for Sinatra works for Slayer, in other words.
July 4, 2013
I hadn't been near our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST in a couple months, and I was reminded how good this car is when I drove it this week.
It's quick enough to be exciting during routine passing maneuvers. And it likes to change direction quickly whether you're on some cool road or just pulling into the grocery store parking lot. Plus, the Recaro seats, while not comfortable for everyone, fit me to a T. If you're 5-foot-10 and in the neighborhood of 150 pounds, you will probably dig the driver seat in our Focus ST.
One thing that stood out this time is how quiet Ford's hot hatchback is on the highway.
July 3, 2013
During June, we put 1,417 miles on our 2013 Ford Focus ST, and we're closing in on the 15,000 milestone. We took it on a 600-mile family road trip and averaged 27 mpg, then used it mostly in and around town. Over 7 tanks, we averaged 25.7 mpg. That squares pretty well with the EPA's 26 mpg combined rating.
June 28, 2013
It's well-known that the 2015 Ford Mustang will have a turbocharged four-cylinder Ecoboost engine. In fact, I first reported on it back in September of 2011.
Those of you thinking the 2015 Mustang's Ecoboost engine will simply take the 2013 Ford Focus ST's engine, turn it ninety degrees and overbore it are mistaken. Here are some more details on the 'Stang's four-banger ("four-'Stanger?") recently overheard from inside sources.
June 26, 2013
During a 120-mile round trip drive, I was intently following the route I had entered into our 2013 Ford Focus ST's navigation system. Going through five freeway interchanges in 30 miles, I was especially attentive to my location, lest I miss a change and subject myself to an inconvenient exit turnaround.
June 25, 2013
Last week I wrote a quick post about our 2013 Dodge Dart's trunk lid. Basically said how easy it was to lift the hatch after popping the trunk open with the remote button.
June 24, 2013
Out of nowhere, my 12-year-old daughter asked, "This is a Ford?"
"Yes," I answered. "Why do you sound so surprised?"
June 20, 2013
Ford introduced its first "Easy Fuel" cap-less fuel filler back in 2008. We've tested a lot of Ford vehicles with it since, including our long-term 2009 Ford Flex, 2010 Ford Mustang GT and 2011 Ford Explorer. Our 2013 Focus ST is the latest.
June 19, 2013
I have a small thing to admit: There are times when I get a little down on our Ford Focus ST. If I'm driving it enthusiastically, for instance, I've occasionally thought how I prefer the more elemental and communicative nature of our Scion FR-S and Subaru BR-Z long-termers. And during my recent family road trip, it occurred to me that it would have been a lot easier of a trip if I had something like our Honda CR-V to drive.
But when I mentally step back out of the immediate moment and think about all the Focus ST can do, the car quickly moves back into my good graces.
June 17, 2013
With the 2013 Ford Focus ST, you get the nifty, center-exit exhaust tip instead of the regular Focus's largely hidden (passenger-side) exhaust tip. But with this design you also get a fair amount of visible soot buildup with this ST exhaust, too.
To show our long-term ST a little love, I decided to clean up the tip and bring back that shiny, lustrous look.
June 13, 2013
Ford hasn't added the 2014 Ford Focus ST to its Web site yet, but we've got the info on the car. Not much about the car changes, actually, and that's just fine given how great the 2013 car is already.
The 2014 Focus ST gets a new option for gray-painted wheels, and going this route also gets you red-painted brake calipers. This is a $375 option.
You can also get black racing stripes for the '14 car. Ford's priced this at $495.
The base MSRP (not including destination) for the Focus ST rises slightly to $24,115, a $415 increase from 2013.
Continue reading for a couple more photos of the 2014 car.
June 13, 2013
Recently, I loaded up my family (wife, two small children) for a 600-mile weekend adventure to attend a wedding shower.
Actually, I didn't attend the shower. My wife did. And originally, I didn't think I had to make the trip at all, instead thinking I'd get a free weekend. Silly me. I was "volunteered" to go at the last minute, and therefore along with me and my wheel-man skills came the Ford Focus ST.
June 12, 2013
Our 2013 Ford Focus ST's backseat is roomier than you'd expect. Even with the front passengers in comfortably reclined positions, there's plenty of space in the rear and details like the unusual location of the rear cupholders factor into it.
June 11, 2013
Our 2013 Ford Focus ST has good pedal placement for heel-and-toe downshifting. The gas pedal is a little bit too far away from the brake and it could stand to be a little larger, but with some adjustment of your foot, it works out pretty well.
June 10, 2013
We're about seven and a half months into the year-long test of our 2013 Ford Focus ST. It's been a good time so far, and the car has earned plenty of praise. I was recently thinking about what I like most about our ST.
June 7, 2013
On the final day in Yosemite National Park, our Focus ST got an additional passenger. It wasn't a bear or a deer or anything.
Six of us went on this trip and divided ourselves between the Focus ST and a friend's Honda Civic. But two people wanted to leave from the western side of the park before sunrise, while four of us wanted to sleep in and check out the eastern side of Yosemite. So, instead of three people in each car, we stuffed the Focus to the brim and sent the other luggage home early in the Civic.
June 6, 2013
Earlier this year I wrote how I forced myself to use our 2013 Ford Focus ST's Sync voice-activation system for a week as a test. I wanted to find out what it was like controlling everything from activating navigation to adjusting the climate temperature. Overall, I was pretty impressed.
June 4, 2013
I didn't like it at first, but after a week in our 2013 Ford Focus ST, I began to change my mind.
On the first stretch of the road trip (300 miles of highway monotony), I'd shifted around in the seat a dozen times trying to get comfortable. The Recaro sport seats aren't unbearably uncomfortable, but on a flat stretch of road, the aggressive bolstering becomes intrusive and bothersome. On tight mountain roads in Yosemite, however, the lateral support was perfect.
In stop-and-go traffic, the ST's clutch is not easy to depress and after a few days of hiking, my left leg was beginning to feel the burn just driving around Yosemite. Luckily, the Focus ST has all sorts of power on tap, so on the open road, not much shifting is required.
June 3, 2013
We added about 2,000 miles to our 2013 Ford Focus ST during May. A big chunk of those miles came from editor Travis Langness' trip to Yosemite National Park. For the month, we averaged 24.3 mpg. That's still a couple mpg below the EPA's 26 mpg estimate for combined driving.
May 30, 2013
On day two of my trip to Yosemite National Park, our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST had two simple tasks: get us to the trailhead and get us home. The trail would take us to Upper Yosemite Falls, the fifth tallest waterfall in the world. With all our extra baggage and food unloaded, the Ford's hatch had more than enough room for our hiking gear.
May 30, 2013
Our 2013 Ford Focus ST wasn't my first choice for a road trip to Yosemite National Park. It's got high-performance summer tires, and there was a possibility of both thunderstorms and snowy mountain roads. The Recaro sport seats have gotten mixed reviews from the staff, and they made me nervous, too. I also had two passengers and the stuff we'd need for four days of hiking so I knew it'd be a tight squeeze.
May 29, 2013
I had our 2013 Ford Focus ST on Mother's Day, and it was the car of choice for driving to brunch. I'm the shortest son at 5 feet 9 inches, but my brothers are both at least six feet tall and they'd be sitting in the back. Would the Focus be big enough for us?
May 28, 2013
I know we've have a couple of issues with the MyFord Touch during our 2013 Focus ST's tour of duty. However, when I've had the car the system was thankfully glitch-free. I had it multi-tasking to the max here with the phone paired, the iPod providing tunes and the navi doing its thing, and there were no hiccups. More to the point, I'd like to give props to Ford for its well-designed "Home" screen.
May 24, 2013
While driving our 2013 Ford Focus ST the other day, I spotted another Focus ST on the highway, but this one was Performance Blue. I like the Tangerine Scream yellow paint on our Focus ST, but I'm a big fan of the blue paint, too. If I were buying an ST, I'd have a pretty long internal debate about which color to choose.
May 21, 2013
We recently had a service message pop up in the instrument cluster of our 2013 Ford Focus ST. The odometer had ticked a few hundred miles past 10,000 and the car was politely reminding us that it was time for some love.
May 9, 2013
Every time I walk up to the 2013 Ford Focus ST, the first thing I notice is the bolstered Recaro sport seat. And I cringe.
Not because of the bolstering. I like that. What worries me for a brief instant is the heavily rearward-angled seat cushion. That angle looks like it would crush the cash and prizes, if you know what I mean.
May 8, 2013
This alert flashed upon startup of our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST. It stayed lit for about five seconds (complete with handy progress meter beneath the image), so it was easy to see (but hard to fish out the camera in time).
May 6, 2013
A weekend in our 2013 Ford Focus ST reminded me of being a kid again. For a portion of my childhood there was a yellow Ford Pinto in our driveway.
May 2, 2013
In the month of April, our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST spun an additional near-1,000 miles onto its odometer and consumed 44 gallons of 91-octane fuel. That equates to 22.4 miles per gallon for the month, which is a bit better than its lifetime average, too.
May 1, 2013
A few days in our 2013 Ford Focus ST reminded me how few yellow cars are on the road. Aside from taxi cabs and one Gallardo, I did not see another yellow vehicle until this van parked next to me. The color doesn't work for everyone, but I love it. And it is great for marketing. Just ask this guy. You can't miss it.
April 26, 2013
This seems to be going around these days. Maybe it's my imagination. But more cars passing through our garage offer increasingly smaller center console compartments. The Focus ST's tall, skinny compartment isn't exactly useless. You can still drop a phone or a wallet in there, sunglasses in a thin case, maybe. But you can't, as I like to do, dump the contents of my pockets in one central space. At minimum, a center console should accommodate wallet, phone, house keys and some sunglasses.