One Year Later, Would I Still Buy One? - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: One Year Later, Would I Still Buy One?

October 17, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

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.

Now, I wouldn't say that I would've regretted my decision had I actually purchased a Focus ST a year ago. It's still a great car that presents a good balance between sport and practicality. However, there are things about it I've experienced since then that have put me back again in Camp GTI.

Chiefly, I think that despite its balanced nature, the Focus ST nevertheless skews a little too far into the frenetic side of the hot hatch equation to be my ideal daily driver. The power is a tad over the top leading to torque steer, the steering is a tad too sharp when cruising along on the highway and those Recaro seats I love so much for driving are just too confining when I've been a passenger. The manual transmission also isn't as pleasant to use as the GTI's.

Note I'm using words like "tad" a lot. I'm not looking for a Cadillac Fleetwood here (that would be Magrath, literally) but turning the sport dial to the left a tad (there it is again) would be more my cup of Orange Pekoe. And indeed, the car that would do that is the Volkswagen GTI. Sure, I couldn't get fun colors like Tangerine Scream or Performance Blue, but the seats are plaid and for a lad with Scottish grandmothers, that counts for a lot.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor


  • DO MORE OF THESE!!! WOULD YOU BUY ONE?? THE WHOLE FLEET! I love the long term blogs, but really.. isn't this the point? To tell the consumers if you would buy one or not?

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    And the Mark VII GTI coming in 2014 will be even better. It could very well be the best real-world all-around practical enthusiast car ever. And you can always get a wrap if you want a wild looking exterior.

  • Isn't the 2015 Focus/Focus ST supposed to be a refresh? If so, it will be interesting to see how Ford responds to the Mk VII Golf/GTI.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @cuselancer17 yes yes yes no matter what category of car, there has to be an editor that lines up with the demographic/wants/needs for each car in the fleet, whether it be a pickup or supercar. Usually we get a 'tad' of the real opinions summed up in the

  • flapsmcgee flapsmcgee Posts:

    Couldn't you just get the regular seats and not the Recaros? It would be cheaper too.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    I really was torn between a GTI and an ST. About the same all around performance, about the same price, about the same fuel efficiency. There were two things that persuaded me to get the Ford: (1) I liked the looks better, and (2) I have a long history with my local Ford dealership -- and NO history with VW dealerships. Minor things, but enough to make my decision. . . . . And you know what? This car is pretty awesome.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I could not buy an ST for a number of reasons. 1) It is only available as a 5-door hatch. No 3-door is a fail for me. 2) The mechanically sympathetic part of my brain cannot accept using the brakes as part of the traction control. 3) Point 2) is reinforced by the knowledge that GM in Europe have a WAY better differential system that fixes the torque steer and traction issues. Even Jeremy Clarkson liked it and he generally hates small GM cars. I would always know that Ford were cheapskates. 4) No form of DSG available. There are days I have to drive in traffic and on those days you can keep your manuals.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @agentorange: Do Europeans get a LSD? Because the GTI is similar in terms of using the brakes as part of the E-diff.

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    actually it would be Jetta GLI versus focus ST if jetta hypothetically sold a GLI sportwagen. the GTI would be versus the fiesta ST and we all know which way the journalists would go if we asked them that question. Personally the focus hatchback does not offer enough extra utility (besides being able to feed long items or largish boxes if you had no passengers) versus the sedan focus to make it worthy of a hatchback purchase. Plus all the blindspots (something i have yet to see edmunds mention so far) keep me from wanting to even rent a focus. the rear window is tiny there is a huge B C and D pillers that make seeing anything outside your windshield and door windows impossible

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    @duck87 I don't know if the Fords in Europe get an LSD, but the competing Vauxhall Astra VXR (European GM car) does have one and it is pretty trick. One of the more recent Top Gear UK episodes has Jeremy driving one and he rated it over the Ford system th

  • juan_mx juan_mx Posts:

    @agentorange, DSG type transmissions are very good for quick shifting, but not that good for driving in stop-and-go traffic. For driving in traffic, the best is a conventional automatic (torque converter). Both, Ford and VW, have one mated to the 2.0L

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