2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Dog Report

October 9, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

This photo of my dog Mya in the back of our 2013 Ford Focus ST during a road trip was one of the rare times she looked relaxed. And it probably was just because I was sitting in the back with her. But on the long drive up to San Francisco, a trip where she's usually passed out from boredom, she was awake in the Ford.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Needs a Sport Button

September 23, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

On the drivability front, our 2013 Ford Focus ST has a problem.

On its own, the clutch is fine. Good even. It's got enough travel not to be jumpy and it's got some resistance without being terribly heavy. It is, however, slightly heavy and instantly effective. The clutch isn't the problem.

The throttle isn't specifically the problem either. It's light, progressive and predictable. Fine.

The problem is that these pedals belong to the same car.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Seats Need Work

September 20, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Because we're not suckers, when we ordered our 2013 Ford Focus ST, we checked the box for the $2,505 Group 201A option pack and got our car equipped with slick Recaro seats. They're grippy, supportive enough for even extremely vigorous driving and Mark Takahashi doesn't fit in them. Win-win-win.

Unfortunately, they have a fatal flaw that makes me hate them.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Vegas Road Trip, Part 2

August 9, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

In Part 1 of my road trip to Nevada, I drove our 2013 Ford Focus ST to Henderson, Nevada, to tour the Zappos.com offices. Then, I headed to Las Vegas for a few days of betting. After I got my fill of bright lights, buffets, slot machines, sweltering heat and all-nighters at the poker table, I tossed my bags in the back of our Ford and pointed it south.

Leaving Las Vegas on a Saturday morning is a lonely enterprise, but experience has taught me that it will save you from the nightmare that is Sunday traffic.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Vegas Road Trip, Part 1

July 30, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Recently, a group of Edmunds employees (including me) traveled to the Zappos.com offices in Henderson, Nevada. Zappos is renowned for its strong company culture and unorthodox office space, so we Edmundsians took a tour, hoping to gain some inspiration. Since I prefer driving to flying and Las Vegas is just a couple hundred miles away, I seized the opportunity to drive there.

After packing the night before, I got up before the sun and set off in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST for the Zappos headquarters, 273 miles away.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Cabin Compromise

July 5, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

I try, and I try, and I try and I try. But I just can't get comfortable in the Focus ST. It's more than the seats. We've already hammered on that. Some of us like them, some of us don't. Most of us think they're a little one-dimensional. Great if you're hanging it out on a curvy road, but lousy for retrieving some Thai take-out.

So the seats are a part of it. But it's also the way the instrument panel rises from the depths and swells toward you with its weird waterfalling Transformers design. It's slightly claustrophobic, but everything's easy to reach. Except the touchscreen, which is angled up and away. That, combined with the menu-diving and precision tapping required for most operations, de-motivates you from, say, adjusting existing bass and treble settings while driving. What works for Sinatra works for Slayer, in other words.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Quiet on the Highway

July 4, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

I hadn't been near our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST in a couple months, and I was reminded how good this car is when I drove it this week.

It's quick enough to be exciting during routine passing maneuvers. And it likes to change direction quickly whether you're on some cool road or just pulling into the grocery store parking lot. Plus, the Recaro seats, while not comfortable for everyone, fit me to a T. If you're 5-foot-10 and in the neighborhood of 150 pounds, you will probably dig the driver seat in our Focus ST.

One thing that stood out this time is how quiet Ford's hot hatchback is on the highway.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Family Road Trip

June 13, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Recently, I loaded up my family (wife, two small children) for a 600-mile weekend adventure to attend a wedding shower.

Actually, I didn't attend the shower. My wife did. And originally, I didn't think I had to make the trip at all, instead thinking I'd get a free weekend. Silly me. I was "volunteered" to go at the last minute, and therefore along with me and my wheel-man skills came the Ford Focus ST.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: It's Got a Good Pedal Box

June 11, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Our 2013 Ford Focus ST has good pedal placement for heel-and-toe downshifting. The gas pedal is a little bit too far away from the brake and it could stand to be a little larger, but with some adjustment of your foot, it works out pretty well.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Yosemite National Park, Part Three

June 4, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

I didn't like it at first, but after a week in our 2013 Ford Focus ST, I began to change my mind.

On the first stretch of the road trip (300 miles of highway monotony), I'd shifted around in the seat a dozen times trying to get comfortable. The Recaro sport seats aren't unbearably uncomfortable, but on a flat stretch of road, the aggressive bolstering becomes intrusive and bothersome. On tight mountain roads in Yosemite, however, the lateral support was perfect.

In stop-and-go traffic, the ST's clutch is not easy to depress and after a few days of hiking, my left leg was beginning to feel the burn just driving around Yosemite. Luckily, the Focus ST has all sorts of power on tap, so on the open road, not much shifting is required.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Yosemite National Park, Part Two

May 30, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

On day two of my trip to Yosemite National Park, our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST had two simple tasks: get us to the trailhead and get us home. The trail would take us to Upper Yosemite Falls, the fifth tallest waterfall in the world. With all our extra baggage and food unloaded, the Ford's hatch had more than enough room for our hiking gear.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Yosemite National Park, Part One

May 30, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Our 2013 Ford Focus ST wasn't my first choice for a road trip to Yosemite National Park. It's got high-performance summer tires, and there was a possibility of both thunderstorms and snowy mountain roads. The Recaro sport seats have gotten mixed reviews from the staff, and they made me nervous, too. I also had two passengers and the stuff we'd need for four days of hiking so I knew it'd be a tight squeeze.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Recaro Sport Seats

May 9, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Every time I walk up to the 2013 Ford Focus ST, the first thing I notice is the bolstered Recaro sport seat. And I cringe.

Not because of the bolstering. I like that. What worries me for a brief instant is the heavily rearward-angled seat cushion. That angle looks like it would crush the cash and prizes, if you know what I mean.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Front Headrest Tilt

April 12, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Back in the days of our dearly departed long-term Ford Flex, several editors were not fans of the front head restraint positioning. Essentially, they tilted too far forward in their effort to presumably prevent whiplash. It wasn't a universal problem, as some seating positions put the restraint in a just-right place. I was thankfully in that camp.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Earns an A Rating

April 3, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Edmunds recently began assigning letter grades to each and every vehicle it tests. Here's a link to the most recent batch of letter grades by vehicle segment. The 2013 Ford Focus ST, our very own long-term test vehicle, in fact, underwent the laborious process and emerged with an A. See the details here.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Why No Power Seats?

March 5, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

I like the hug-me-tight Recaro seat in our Ford Focus ST. What I don't like is the fact that its adjustments are manual. Because I'm 5-feet, 3-inches tall, I have to pull the seat fairly far forward in order to get a comfortable clutch and steering position. Then comes the pumping up of the seat for the right height, the manual back angle adjustment, etc.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: One Passenger's Take on the Seats

March 1, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

If you'd asked me a couple of weeks ago whether I'd get the Focus ST with the Recaro seats, my answer would have been an unequivocal "yes." Though I'm not necessarily a huge fan of their vaguely gaudy yellow-and-black color scheme, the seats are a satisfying fit for my frame. I haven't done any canyon carving in the ST, but when I'm pressed to make sudden stops and sharp turns on the commute to and from work, the seats work to make sure that I'm held firmly in place. And I like that.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Recaros. Are They Worth It?

February 22, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

These Recaro sport seats are part of the Focus ST's $4,840 202A equipment group which also includes a pile of other features (Sony audio with 10 speakers, 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen, nav, dual climate control and more). That's the only way to get them.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: I Can't Hack the Recaro Seats

February 19, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

I adore the 2013 Ford Focus ST, I really do. I love the way it accelerates, corners and stops. I dig the sounds the EcoBoost turbo makes when it's working hard. What we have here is a hot hatch with a soul.

But I could never own one.

It's the Recaro seats. I loathe them.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: No Such Thing As a Boring Drive

February 13, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

On a recent Saturday, my husband and I drove the long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST to Escondido, California to see some friends. We cruised the interstate on the outbound trip and it wasn't shaping up to be much of an adventure for the Tangerine Scream hot hatch. There wouldn't be time for a run up Mount Palomar.

However, additional errands forced (yes, really, forced) me to detour onto some curvy back roads in northern San Diego County. And honestly, you can't help but have fun in the Focus ST.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Ride Quality

January 24, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Given the excellent handling capabilities of the 2013 Ford Focus ST, you might assume that there's a tradeoff in terms of ride quality. Well, compared to a regular Focus, I suppose there is. But given how well the ST goes around corners, I'm pretty impressed by the way it takes on bumps and rough pavement. There's a nice compliance in the suspension that complements the all-around usability of this car. It's rarely stiff or jarring.

In terms of ride quality, the 2013 Focus ST is a performance car that I wouldn't have any problems using for daily urban commuting or long-distance freeway trips.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 8,562 miles

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Choosing a Hot Hatch

January 17, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

If you're shopping for a performance hatchback and stuck with a major case of indecision, I can empathize. I'd have a hard time choosing, too.

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Clutch Commuter

November 08, 2012

ClutchCommuter.jpg

Please excuse the shaky photo, but this is what my commute looked like this morning: Dreadful bummer-to-bummer traffic. While so much has rightful praise has been heaped on our new Focus ST for its accessible performance (I think it' the GTI that VW refuses to build), the fact that we often drive in in conditions like the one pictured doesn't make me like it any less. In fact, I like it a bunch even as a commuter car.

For one thing, these seats (and most highly bolstered sport seats) are supremely comfortable. They remind me of seats in just about any Porsche 911 for their ability to support my whole frame without any "hot spots" so I'm rarely squirming to find a comfy position.

The clutch feel and action is outstanding even in stop-and-go traffic. There' just enough feel to know where the engagement point is and plenty of torque from the engine if you still manage to get it wrong. There' so much torque, in fact, that as long as the car is rolling, it'll happily pull its way along in second gear.

The same can be said of both the brake and throttle pedals, too: sufficient feel, intuitive action, and predictable response. It' remarkable how often and how wrong many manufacturers get these simple (but immensely important) things.

I know, not the most enthralling post, but it' worth noting that this performance-oriented car is also a very good commuter car as well.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 3,102 miles

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2013 Ford Focus ST: Fantastic Seats

October 25, 2012

Front Seat Focus ST.jpg 

These Ford Focus ST seats are fantastic. Grippy, supportive in all the right places, good over extended distances and they adjust to a degree that makes all 6-foot-3 of me very comfortable. I even put it three slots forward from its rearmost travel -- a rarity for me. I could use a smidge more telescoping wheel travel, but that' being hyper picky.

Furthermore, they look incredibly cool. Even the back seats do (pic after the jump). And they're yellow. Go ahead and buy your grey car with the black interior, but I want color, damn it. Not necessarily an explosion of it, but accents like the ST has are perfect.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,525 miles 

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Ford Focus ST in VA is:

$145 per month*
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