Deceptively sporty, I like it because it takes off like a rocket but won't get you pulled over either.
If you're a larger person there's still decent headroom (I'm 6'3") but the Recaro seats might be a little uncomfortable on long drives.
It's a really great ride though and very well designed.
Very suitable for use as a daily driving vehicle.
If you regularly carry four people though, you should probably consider something larger - not a ton of legroom in the rear seat.
Great so far, and huge improvement over 2012 Focus SE
written on 01-30-2014
I recently traded my 2012 Focus SE Hatchback 5 sp manual on the 2014 Focus ST with ST3 package (full leather Recaros).
The difference is night and day- it feels like a completely different car.
There is ample power and huge amounts of torque, even very low on the tach, and zero turbo lag.
Steering, shifting, braking, and handling are all very tight and quick.
While the 2012 felt reasonably solid, it did have a few rattles.
The 2014 on the other hand feels like a bank vault- rock solid and dead quiet.
The performance is stunning (other than a bit of torque steer when the throttle is pinned), I'm averaging 26 mpg in the dead of winter, and it's a very quiet and docile daily driver.
Wow. I switched from Mini Cooper S to a Focus ST with 202A package, Grey Rims, Moonroof (fully loaded). Obviously have more space and some better entertainment features as well. The Cooper handled slightly better but the ST has much more power. Have had no issues with the car, I've had it about a year and have put 23K miles on it. I did put winter tires on this season, which makes a huge difference, and I highly recommend. I'm getting around 27 MPG with mixed city/highway miles. The car is very well made and feels rock solid, this is not your base line Focus. Recaro seats are amazing, they are comfy, and I don't move doing 60 on "S" curves.
I love driving my Ford Focus ST, but I am very disappointed at the inside of the car. At first glance, the interior looks well made and noise free, but with less than 3 months I started to hear noises from the rattling of the back seat and after two dealership inspections, the only fix I was offered was to wrap the metal hook that latches the back seat with electrical tape to silence the rattling. withing 6 months, noises started to come from middle dashboard, the snap on style panels are poorly made and rub against each other. Other things also came to my attention, such as the upgraded Recaro bucket seat does not fit in the seat area, so when the seat is moved around the sides get smashed on the doors and armrest. Also, the moonroof sliding door rattles and makes noises. Mechanically speaking, the car is very fun to drive, but this car makes way too much rattling noise for age and condition of the car, and I drive mostly on reasonable roads.
Review Updated 8/8/2016
Purchased in September 2013. Almost 3 years and 24k miles later, I couldn't be happier with my Tangerine Scream Focus ST. The paint holds up great and it still shines like new after every wash. From how it looks inside and out to how it sounds and performs, it's an amazing car, especially for the asking price.
The fit and finish is solid. The only shakes or rattles I have are from the loose change and random things I have in the storage bins. Road noise on harsher road surfaces does travel into the cabin (due to the relatively stiff suspension), so it isn't a quiet car on every road surface. However, on a well-maintained highway, this car is very quiet.
Don't pay sticker and look for incentives. I paid $4.5k under MSRP for a loaded ST3 (full leather seats, nav, sunroof, tricoat TS paint, "cargo net", etc).
My mileage isn't great for several reasons so it shouldn't be considered typical. My daily commute is short (4 miles each way), I stomp on the pedals, and I power slide when no other cars are around.
Lastly, my insurance premiums are low. I compared my quote from GEICO to other Focus trims and it was the same. Go figure!
Overall, I can't express how much I still love this car. I worry if my next car will give me this much satisfaction. I look forward to driving it every single day!