Still King for the Next Couple of Years? - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: Still King for the Next Couple of Years?

August 12, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

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?

The next couple of years will bring about redesigned competition in this segment. The 2015 GTI will be more powerful and promises sharper handling while still likely holding on to its European flair. A performance diesel, the GTD, should be coming, too.

Subaru hasn't said much about its new WRX, but we expect greater turbocharged power from a 2.0-liter engine and couple-like styling for 2014. Even less is known about a new Mazdaspeed 3. But the redesigned regular model of the Mazda 3 is already a top choice in its class, so things are promising for the MS3.

Meanwhile, there's nothing keeping Ford from upping its game with the ST to stay competitive.

If I were buying a hot hatch today, it'd be the Focus ST. But if my car purchase was six months to a year from now, the picture is much less clear.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,074 miles


  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    I would probably lean towards the VW at this point. I can get a very good automatic if I want my wife to be able to drive it. I can get heated seats without paying an extra $1,200 for (apparently) uncomfortable sports seats. And you get a really fantastic balance of ride and handling.

  • opfreak opfreak Posts:

    to go along with bankers point. While the focus interior is good. I still feel the VW gti (currently) is a little better. Just a touch more refined.

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    The new Mazda3 looks beautiful. If they come out with a Mazdaspeed version, that will probably win my dollars. Hopefully they build a stronger engine that doesn't blow up as much as the MZR.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Right now, I'd lean towards the Golf. The reason isn't so much interior quality since the Focus has apparently stepped up, but interior design. I think I would enjoy the Golf's understated interior more in the long run. As for the future, no idea, but I like how the competition is heating up. The new Mazda 3 looks great, the new Golf should become even better (especially with the rumored new VW diesel to compete agains the Cruze, the GTD excites me also), and a decent update for the Focus. As for the WRX, I'll need to wait for more details.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    I'll be looking for a ~$25k performance vehicle within the next year or so. The MS3 seems a little too wild for me, and the WRX a little too pricey and inefficient. Between the GTI and the ST (and I'd probably also consider the Civic SI) it's hard to argue with all the rave reviews the ST has gotten. Based on that I'd place it as my #1 choice, followed by the GTI at #2, and the SI at #3. As I get closer to pulling the trigger, I'll arrange test drives, but as of now I haven't driven any of them. I *am* interested in how the 2015 GTI will compare to the ST...

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    The GTI might beat out the ST for my dollars, too. Yeah, the ST has stronger performance. Though put an aftermarket chip in the GTI and that edge goes away. I like the understated luxury of VW. It's like painting the wall with a $20 brush after using one of those $2 specials. Using a quality tool is pleasurable because it's designed for the job and it works, smoothly. The Ford's interior has some good elements but also several garish things that scream "Look at me!!1!" because it's trying too hard.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    This is a great dilemma to be in. I think the GTI appeals to a different group; the other 3 have a lot more in common as far as appearance and quality. Personally I always liked the GTI, but the all-weather capability of the WRX would suit me and ski season like a glove, and probably has a lower cost of ownership. Maybe I should buy a WRX and lease a GTI and have the best of both!

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    @greenpony; I just read on Auto**og that there is a new Civic Type R with probable turbo power in the wings for 2015. That should solve the performnace characteristics of the current Si's rev-happy but low-torque mill

  • rayray633_ rayray633_ Posts:

    I thought you guys named the Ferrari FF the best hot hatch? What gives???

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    The ST has until the next GTI comes out to enjoy free reign. It should still be competitive then, but will probably benefit from a mid-cycle face lift...

  • bromans bromans Posts:

    I should note that Subaru just announced that the Impreza WRX is carryover for 2014, so the new generation won't be until 2015. -- Brent

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I've always loved sitting in and driving the GTI, but the non-defeat electronic nannies are close to a deal-breaker.

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I would not buy the Ford because of the way it uses the brakes as an LSD. Golf GTI all the way here unless GM bring over the hot Astra from the UK.

  • roadburner roadburner Posts:

    As the current owner of a 2007 MS3, I would wait for the 2014 GTI- assuming that I wanted another FWD hot hatch. The lack of a true LSD is a deal-breaker for me.

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