October 9, 2013
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.
September 23, 2013
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.
September 20, 2013
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.
July 5, 2013
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.
June 13, 2013
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.
June 12, 2013
Our 2013 Ford Focus ST's backseat is roomier than you'd expect. Even with the front passengers in comfortably reclined positions, there's plenty of space in the rear and details like the unusual location of the rear cupholders factor into it.
June 11, 2013
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.
May 30, 2013
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.
May 9, 2013
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.
April 26, 2013
This seems to be going around these days. Maybe it's my imagination. But more cars passing through our garage offer increasingly smaller center console compartments. The Focus ST's tall, skinny compartment isn't exactly useless. You can still drop a phone or a wallet in there, sunglasses in a thin case, maybe. But you can't, as I like to do, dump the contents of my pockets in one central space. At minimum, a center console should accommodate wallet, phone, house keys and some sunglasses.
April 15, 2013
"It's the little things." We hear that all the time, but it really is the value of special conveniences and thoughtful touches that can make a car seem like so much more than just a moving appliance. When so many cars are so very good, it can be those little things that can make you go, "Both seem otherwise equal, but I'll have one of those, please."
Indeed, it's the little things the Ford Focus does that make it stand out for me beyond simply being brilliant to drive. They also help blur some of the discontent surrounding MyFord Touch. The windows are one such example. They all go up and down with a single touch from the driver's seat. That's a luxury car feature in an economy car and I appreciate it.
April 12, 2013
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.
April 8, 2013
I have two questions:
1. Who had the brilliant idea at Ford to put the switch for the 2013 Ford Focus ST's interior light above the B-pillar, which is both above and behind the driver's head? Admittedly I'm no genius, but it took me forever to find the light and the switch. Ultimately, I don't care that the light is situated there, but it's a silly place for the switch because it's awkward to reach back and up to press it, whether you're stationary in a parking light or especially if you're driving.
March 22, 2013
We encountered another problem with the media interface on our 2013 Ford Focus ST. In the past, we've posted about issues with phone pairing and the fact that our Focus seems to think it has a rearview camera. Well, add these mystery radio buttons to our list of audio and technology woes.
March 12, 2013
All cupholders were not created equal. Some do their job of, you know, actually holding water bottles and other drinks in place. Others don't.
When you think of cupholders, you might be of the mind that they're most important for people-haulers like minivans, SUVs and vanilla sedans.
I disagree. I think the best cupholders should be in performance cars, such as our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST. It's cars like the Focus ST, which positively beg you to charge hard into corners, that truly need anti-tip cupholders.
As you can see from the photo, it doesn't have them.
March 5, 2013
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.
February 26, 2013
I can't help it. Every time I get in our long-term Focus ST and see the logo on the steering wheel, the first thing I think of is Subaru, not Ford. Call it good branding on Subaru's part or poor graphic design on Ford's part. But either way the similarity between the two logos is unmistakable.
February 25, 2013
This alert popped up in our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST upon startup once over the weekend. Note: our car is not equipped with a rearview camera.
February 22, 2013
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.
February 14, 2013
Recently, I happened to notice the gap between the tweeter on the passenger side of our long-term 2013 Ford Focus ST and the door trim below it.
Then, I glanced over at the driver-side tweeter. It fits tight to the door trim.
February 7, 2013
There are four DVD cases worth of space in the Focus ST's door pocket. That's a good thing too, because there ain't much storage space anywhere else. The glovebox is flat and suitably deep but there's nearly nada in the center console. Just a little cutout next to the shifter where you can set the key, two cupholders, and a tall, narrow center console where keys, cards and wallets disappear on top of each other. There's also the increasingly anachronistic coin holder.
January 11, 2013
This is the place in most cars where manufacturers locate certain common controls and features: Dome lights, sunglasses bins, buttons or knobs controlling the sunroof, etc. Our Focus checks most of those boxes, but there's something missing.
Where's the dome light?
January 11, 2013
It's possible that last week when I encountered our Focus's SYNC phone pairing failure I forgot the first and most import rule of dealing with a Microsoft product:
When all else fails, just restart the stupid thing.
I did this over the weekend and - after five or so minutes of waiting - it came back online.
Even paired with my phone on the first try.
Bill Gates would be so proud.
Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor @ about 5,400 miles
Ford's SYNC let me down last night in the Focus ST by refusing to pair with my iPhone. Oddly, I've paired my phone before and it was still in the system's memory, but SYNC refused to pair.
December 26, 2012
One of the notable upgrades on the Focus ST model is this set of auxiliary gauges on the dash. You get oil pressure, boost pressure and oil temperature, gauges that are typically left off most new vehicles these days unless you go searching through a few menus.
It's understandable as these are gauges you must have in day-to-day driving, but on a performance car like this it's a different. Keeping an eye on your oil pressure and temperature is always a good habit if you're driving hard, especially in adverse conditions. Obviously, low oil pressure is a bad thing for any vehicle, but monitoring it daily on something that gets driven hard will keep you thinking about the oil's condition and give you an early heads up if anything is starting to turn south.
As far as the boost gauges go, it's just fun to watch.
Ed Hellwig, Editor @ 5,067 miles
December 21, 2012
I was driving a 2013 Ford Escape Titanium last week during a quasi-vacation up in Toronto. Its MyFord Touch system is virtually identical to the one we have in our Focus ST, so it provided me an opportunity to try out the controversial system with gloves. Simply put, it worked just fine. Obviously dexterity is hampered, but the touchscreen still responded without any incident. The larger touch buttons introduced by the MFT update help as well.
Now, MyFord Touch in the Explorer and Fusion also comes with touch-sensitive climate controls as well as other buttons. I'm not sure how they'd fair with gloves. The Chevy Volt had something similar and often failed to recognize a press.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
November 19, 2012
We interupt our gushing over Ford' hot hatch to mention that the Focus -- ST or otherwise -- lacks storage space. The armrest bin can fit your iWhatever plus maybe some sunglasses and that' it. The little bin west of the shifter is essentially useless. The door bins aren't especially large and the cupholders are only sufficient. The glovebox is on the large side, but no glovebox can only be so helpful considering its location relative the driver.
Frankly, it' not THAT bad for the segment, as I recall the Dodge Dart and Mazda 3 being similar, and a Chevy Cruze being worse. However, a Hyundai Elantra is far superior, and the Honda Civic is a little better as well.
It' certainly not a deal breaker, but I did found myself running out of places to store the relatively few things I keep in the car.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,711 miles
November 15, 2012
You see those gauges? Yeah, nothing special. Clear, usable, readable, but nothing special. It' one of the few things about this car that could use improvement. Other than that, I'm at a loss, 'cause the ST is nearly flawless otherwise.
The power band is flat out perfect, with more mid-range than you think and power all the way to the redline. Sounds decent, too.
The suspension is dead on as well. Firm, precise, predictable, everything you would want in a car like this without beating you up. And the seats rock. Worth every optional penny.
Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds @ 3,585 miles
November 15, 2012