2013 Ford Focus ST: Angles and Edges
February 8, 2013
There's a hip-hop producer named Madlib. He deals in a heavily jazz-influenced sound, big beats with lots of swing. He put out a CD about 10 years ago called "Angles Without Edges," and I keep thinking of the title, not necessarily the music, when I drive the ST. Because the ST seems opposite the title: the ST is ALL angles and edges.
This is, of course, the case with most new Ford dashes and instrument panels. Ford is pursuing a high-tech machine-matrix Transformers motif, following its conviction that touchscreen/voice-activation everything is the future. Which it may well be, but if the future looks like present My Ford Touch, we're doomed (example: MFT crapped on me on my way out of the garage the other night. Eventually I pulled over, shut down, got out, did the reboot. Nothing. Even did it twice. Nothing. No audio, no Sync voice, no volume, nothing. Drove home listening to the 2.0-liter and some Pandora streaming from the phone speaker. Next morning, there was music and Sync Lady and voice activation, as if nothing had ever happened between us. But the trust in our relationship has soured).
Staring at the dash and IP, I wonder who Ford targets with the Focus ST. Ours wasn't cheap. Though it starts at around $25,000, our ST with the Recaros and other options brought it just over $29,000. That's not necessarily young sport compact enthusiast money. Sure, you don't have to option it, but even $25k is a leap for most young car buyers. Which leaves buyers in their late 20s and early 30s, ready to buy their first car, a useful sports car, no less.
That makes more sense, but it makes me wonder how many young professionals will pay between 25 and 30 grand for the ST when they could have a two-year old BMW 335i for the same scratch. "But not everyone wants a BMW," you say. True. But the folks who don't read the magazines or fine Web sites like ours go with the BMW, Audi or Lexus every time.
Perhaps the ST is one of those niche models like the GT-R. The ones who get it really get it. They might evangelize a little bit, but most of their buddies will buy a 911 before a GT-R. If you're a fella on the prowl, setting down a Nissan key fob on the bar doesn't carry quite the same weight as one bearing the Porsche shield.
I doubt Ford loses sleep over this. Only sad car bloggers puzzle over these questions. The Focus is Ford's best-selling car right now in both the U.S. and the global village, the ST's halo effect no doubt helping the cause here at home.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 6,450 miles