2013 Ford Focus ST Long Term Road Test


2013 Ford Focus ST: Break-In, 7:24 am

October 24, 2012

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Just as the Moon dipped below the hills, the sun crept up behind me, replacing the inky blackness with a blue-grey hue. It was about this time that I started paying attention to the highway ride.

The Focus ST' ride isn't as stiff as other hot hatches. In fact, it' downright enjoyable. You still feel everything, but it never gets harsh or tiresome. It' also agreeably quiet, with a hint of road and wind noise entering the cabin. This was an initial concern of mine. What if it' as stiff as a shopping cart and loud as a leaf blower? You know, like my old Lotus? Not a chance, the Focus was as well-mannered as, well, a Focus.

I pulled into San Luis Obispo at 7:24 am. This is my usual stop. I can't count how many times I've filled up at this particular station. Then the memories came flooding back (cue the daydream transition). The road ahead and I have a lot of history together. It' the route I took to Laguna Seca when I started racing. It' the way I would take to the Monterey Historics every year. Along the way is my favorite weekend getaway. Heck, a seven-year relationship was forged on the next 110 miles. Good memories of an epic drive, but I digress.

I was going to take the coast route, Highway One. If it' early in the morning, I'll always choose the serpentine temptation of this road over the monotony of the 101. It' a bit of a detour, but well worth the extra time. Besides, I had plenty of time, or so I thought.
Right around Morro Beach, the two northbound lanes became one. The right lane was closed to cars and was filled with bicyclists. Don't these people realize that they put engines in those things now? Still, losing one lane didn't impact traffic too much. Not as much as the Highway Patrolman that got in front of me, that is.

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This officer had me stuck right around 42 mph. He had me stuck at this dreadful pace all the way into Cambria, some 20 miles further. Then after the bikes peeled off and the second lane opened up, he kept the pace right at the speed limit. Arrrrrgh! I felt like that delicious steak was getting further away from me. My biggest fear would be that he'd stay on this route all the way into Big Sur, effectively killing any chance of having fun on one of the greatest roads ever.

Next update: 8:32 am

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 341 miles

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