This Ford Focus ST video review includes information about performance, 0-60 acceleration, handling, fuel economy, comfort, interior space and competitor sport compact cars. For more information, read the 2014 Ford Focus ST review.
The Ford Focus ST is one of the best performance bargains around. It's absolutely a blast to drive and it starts at less than $25,000. And unlike past and some present fun and frugal cars, it has a nice interior and it's practical.
The regular Focus has 160 horsepower, the ST has 252 hp thanks to its 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. As you might imagine, this makes it considerably quicker, with a 0-60 time of 6.6 seconds. Now, that doesn't make it the quickest in the segment: a 2015 Volkswagen GTI with DSG gets there in 6.2; the Subaru WRX in 5.4. The Scion FR-S actually matches it.
But let's not get bogged down in numbers. The ST is a wild ride, with 270 pound-feet of torque that sends you into the back of your seat with authority and tugs at the steering wheel like an excited beagle. That's called torque steer, and it's something you don't get in rear- and all-wheel-drive competitors. Ford has actually done a decent job of quelling it, but it's still there.
And either way, the Focus ST is one of the best handling front-drive cars. There's lots of communication through the steering wheel, it rotates nicely and the electronic limited-slip differential helps lay down power effectively through a corner.
Now, is the handling in the WRX or FR-S sharper? For the most part, but then the Focus is much easier to live with on a daily basis. It has a much more comfortable ride, a lot less road noise and the interior is of a substantially higher quality. It also looks cool, especially the optional Recaro bucket seats that admittedly you'll either find to be fantastic or a bit confining.
There's also the four-door hatchback body style, which makes road trips or Home Depot trips that much easier.
Although VW's GTI betters it in terms of these practicality elements, it doesn't have the ride comfort advantage it once had, and if you're looking for a lively, more engaging driving experience, the Focus ST remains the better bet. It really is a sweet spot in the sport compact segment.