Break-In, 8:32 am - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Ford Focus ST Long Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: Break-In, 8:32 am

October 24, 2012

FocusST_Breakin_04.jpg 

It seemed to take forever to get to my favorite stretch of Highway One. In reality, it took an hour from San Luis Obispo. The Highway Patrolman that I mentioned in the last post departed the route somewhere around San Simeon. And now, things get interesting.

Being that I was breaking-in the Focus ST, I couldn't exactly have too much fun. I had to keep the revs down below 4,000 rpm as much as possible and vary the engine and wheel speed on the highway.

I figured this car wouldn't be all that fun in the winding roads with turbo lag and torque steer. Again, I was wrong. Turbo lag is just memory above 2,500 and torque steer is managed by a sophisticated e-diff system. Short-shifting around 4,000 rpm was a bit of a bummer, as the engine felt like it could keep winding up for a while. That said, I found it easy to keep the revs in that sweet spot.

There are a few sharp turns that interrupt long sweepers and straights as you approach the fun part of Highway One. I went into the first couple of turns at a very conservative pace and the Focus tracked through with expected ease. Then I started turning in later and later, loading up g-forces to get a feel for what the car might do.

FocusST_Breakin_05.jpg 

After I was at that point where I'm comfortable with a car' handling --the point where I feel like I'm wearing the car -- I pushed just a bit harder. An intentional lift of the accelerator got the tail to step out ever so slightly; maybe an inch or two at most. Nice. The car held that miniscule slide, too, right until I eased back into the pedal and the front tires pulled the rears into line.

Admittedly, I was never a front-wheel-drive type-of-guy. Regardless of where the engine is, I prefer the power to go to the rear tires, and only the rear tires. But this changed my mind. The Focus ST convinced me that I could have just as much fun with the power at the front. It was so much fun, in fact, that I was comparing it to our Scion FR-S in my head; mostly because you didn't have to be shattering the speed limit to have this sort of fun.

"Holy smokes," I thought (not really the word I used), "this changes everything."

Next update: 10:30 am

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 341 miles


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