2015 Ford Focus ST Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Powerful turbocharged engine
- precise six-speed manual gearbox
- sharp handling
- poised ride
- stylish interior with many high-tech options.
- No automatic transmission offered
- some drivers may find the optional Recaro seats overly confining.
Most helpful consumer reviews
4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
When I went looking for a new car I really wanted some sporty but practical. I really loved the Subaru WRX but with a bare bones WRX it was over $26k. Found out about the Focus ST, did some research, and I had to test drive it. I ended up with the basic 2015 Ford Focus ST (no Recaro seats, dual climate, etc). I paid far less than the WRX and got much more; standard it has fog lights, LED running day lights (give it an aggressive look) Bluetooth, back up camera, great looking exhaust, all four power windows have one touch up/down, stainless steel pedals, very nice low profile wheels, and on top of this better gas mileage. I can't account for how the Recaro seats feel, I've heard mixed reviews, but the cloth seats that come with it look great (gray and black with ST logo stitched into seat) and are super comfortable, even for longer rides. As a daily driver it's a great ride. You have the speed when you want it and fuel economy to match. Merging onto the highway is a thoroughly enjoyable experience now and picking up speed on the highway takes no time at all. Where it's most fun is a good backroad, the steering is really tight, precise, and has a great feel. Add onto this the practicality of a hatch and you've got one great car. I can't account for the longevity of the vehicle but I'm hoping for the best, so far I've had 0 issues with. Pros: Great bang for the buck given everything that comes with it standard. Great gas mileage for a sport car with a turbocharger (have gotten up to 33mpg on the highway). Hatchback fits a lot, after removing the privacy cover I've fit two 80lb dogs comfortably in the back without lowering the seats. The acceleration. Cons: Only a 60,000 mile warranty through Ford, which is kind of pitiful compared to their competitors. Ford says you can use 87 octane fuel but from what I've researched you'll lose a little bit of fuel economy and 9 horsepower, no change in peak torque though. The backup camera occasionally won't turn on when you put it in reverse, have to pop it into neutral and then shift it back into reverse. Comes with summer tires standard which is great until the winter. Does not do well in the snow at all, but I am cheap and could not justify buying brand new all seasons or winter tires when I've got a new set of tires already on it. It may perform well in the snow with better tires.
4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
At 175 K miles, the A/C coolant leaked out some time ago so no A/C until fixed - very annoying since this never happened to this degree on any other car I've had. This car is a Ford, after all! The car is still a pleasure to drive even without speed-shifting. The acceleration comes on in smaller chunks (wating for the shift to complete) rather than all in a rush. Still fun. The car still handles beautifully, ride is firm but tolerable, and keeps the daily commute fun. Interesting recent anecdote -- I was pulled over last month after weaving through traffic on a 75 MPH speed limit highway to get around slower vehicles. The officer said he knew I was doing at least 95, said I was obviously a careful driver, and that was it (no ticket). Quite sad that Ford is no longer selling cars, particularly this one. There is no other nickel rocket that I would prefer to have compared to keeping this 2015 running. Based on the number of STs I still see on the road -- invariably in excellent condition -- many others feel the same way. _______________________ Fifth and sixth gears went out completely at about 165 K miles. A fork connecting the gearbox to the transmission broke. The Focus ST transmission made by Getrag in Germany can't be repaired. Broken transmissions are sent back to Getrag and you have to buy a rebuilt one for about $4 grand. Worse, the rebuilt transmissions were on backorder when mine broke so a local shop installed one from a wrecked ST and a new clutch for a total of about $5 grand. An expensive repair but considering the car's stellar repair record prior to this I am not disillusioned. A tip, if you buy a used ST, avoid speed-shifting. I did that constantly, gunning the engine before the next gear had fully engaged. It felt great but killed the trans and wore out the clutch. Now I wait for the next gear to fully engage before gunning the engine. All in all, this is still my favorite car ever (I have owned 9 cars through the years). If Ford still made it I would buy another. ___________________________________ Now at 5 yrs old / 160,000 miles the 6th gear syncho has been a problem for the past few months. This is my fault from a blown shift. Merging onto a highway, I saw a huge pickup truck towing a landscaper's trailer speeding up not to let me in. As I merged in the truck continued coming at me and I got flustered and tried to shift from 4th to 5th at the redline. Instead the transmission popped out of gear and the engine momentarily over-revved. Since then the transmission is difficult to shift into 6th. A web search disclosed that this is not uncommon for STs. I have delayed getting it fixed. But now the car is much less fun to drive because once I get it onto 6th I don't want to downshift unless unavoidable. My bad. ____________________________________ At 150,000 (mostly highway) miles the only unscheduled repairs were a battery and rear shocks. It is still on the original brake pads. A new set of Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 all-season tires have smoothed out the ride and greatly reduced NVH. My prior reviews of the Focus ST might have given the impression that I drive it constantly in getaway-car mode. Not true at all -- most of my driving is at 60-75 mph in top gear (3,000 rpm or less) in the middle lane, and the car is a pleasant commuter. But if you need to (or feel like) sudden acceleration another 25+ mph is on tap in a few seconds by mashing the accelerator even if you don't downshift. Furthermore the torquey engine is pleasant at 40 mph in 6th gear at about 1,500 rpm, and the manual transmission is a pleasure to downshift approaching slowdowns or stops. That helps save the brake pads. So a used 2015 Focus ST in good condition would be a good purchase as a daily commuter with fun factor, even if you don't drive it as if you're auditioning for the next "Fast and ..." movie. _________________________________- At 133K miles and four years old, this car is still great fun to drive and excels at "point & squirt." Great car for getting "you're #1" salutes from other drivers (although they tend to use the middle finger). Excellent at slicing through groups of slower-moving cars: plan a path forward (and an alternate in case of unexpected lane changes by other drivers), hit the sport mode button, downshift and badaboom badabing you're in the clear again. If you enjoy such vehicular hooliganism, this is the car for you. On the other hand, if a state trooper clocks you weaving at speeds well above the speed limit, that is an expensive speeding ticket with the potential for reckless driving added in. The ST isn't embarrassingly geeky-looking like certain other cars in the class, and the exhaust is not overtly loud and annoying. Rather than holler "look at me," it probably gets the reaction of "who was that jerk" as you disappear into the distance. I recommend the Focus ST as a used car and a worthy lower-cost alternative to a VW GTI, Subaru WRX, or Honda Civic Sport.
4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I had a 2015 focus st for a year. There was nothing wrong with the car. I only traded it in because I've been wanting to own a mustang since I was a little kid so when I was given a great offer for a 2017 mustang gt new I couldn't reject it. I will say that I will own another focus st as soon as I have room to have it sit next to my mustang in the garage. The car is amazing. I'm not new to high performance cars. Having worked at a dealership and being able to drive cars home and owned fast cars for extended periods of time, I've driven ferraris, Lamborghinis, cámaros, mustangs, corvettes, Porsches, sti's, golf r, mclaren, Nissan GT-R, M bmws like M5, M3, AMG Mercedes, RS audis , SRT cars. To make short I've driven the best of the best. The focus st has amazing steering and steering feel. Supercar like. I haven't driven a car with better steering even a supercar as good but not better. Anyone with a budget who needs 4 doors, trunk space, MPG, hp, reliability should buy this car! The car has plenty of power! And add just a couple upgrades and this car will have 400 torque. More that some v8's. A hatch rocket that gets 32 mpg!! AWD wrx or golf r not always the best. AWD gets worse gas mpg. I drove this car through snowstorms in Buffalo and New England winters. Snow tires and you're all set. What makes this car better than all the cars I've mentioned is that it's a car you can enjoy! You can floor it and take turns fast. Straight line acceleration is very good too. Lots of torque!! Very easy to drive in town. Push a supercar to the limits on the street and you will go to jail. Even the 435 hp mustang gt that I currently own has too much power that I never use. The focus st is the most fun car I've ever driven. This car is super tossable and corners like it's on rails!! When I want to relax it drives like a regular car. I know some people don't buy it because it's a manual but it's European based build in Germany. In Europe they still sell more manuals than autos. Manuals are less costly in the long run! You can run a stock focus st at the racetrack all day without the car even flinching. The quality is very impressive. The best steering I've ever seen and felt. It's a recaro of course. Very easy to drive and very quiet stock. Very easy to park and find parking. I added a flowmaster Super 10 muffler and it really woke up the car. I recommend it only if you don't mind a louder exhaust note. No rattles after a year. Brakes barely wore. Tires plenty of thread. The eagle f1's are amazing. Nothing but oil changes, tire rotations. If you buy a focus st make sure you put a sticky tire during the summer so the car sticks like glue and you can enjoy it to its full potential. The car is very fuel efficient. I would take it out for joy rides for an hour on backroads now and then and it would barely use any gas. I do recommend an intercooler because the car heatsoaks after a couple pulls. The only other ISSUE WITH THIS CAR IS CARBON BUILD UP!! CARBON BUILD UP ON THE VALVES SINCE ITS DIRECT INJECTED. MY VALVES WERE DIRTY AFTER 20,000 MILES. If ignored car will shutter at cold start up and can cause an engine light due to misfire like it happened to me once. Once cleaned it runs like new. Plan to have the valves clean every 20,000 miles or you can use valve cleaner from an auto parts store. Common issue with the direct injected ecoboost. Ford has no approved procedure so the dealership will most likely not touch the car and will want to replace the whole cylinder head which is completely unnecessary. Has to be take to an independent shop that knows how to do the process. Just google intake valve cleaning in your area. Most commonly you will run into a shop that does it regularly on some audis and bmw's. Don't shy way from the car because of this. It happens to any direct injected engine like some audis bmw's, Hyundai, Volkswagen, ford, chevy. Car has nice stereo, Bluetooth, keyless entry, push start, HILL START!! WILL HELP IF YOURE WORRIED ABOUT A MANUAL ON HILLS. Computer will hold rear brakes while you release the clutch so the car doesn't move backwards. Awesome feature!!! Very fun car to drive. Soft clutch. Manual so much fun. Drove it cross country twice!! No problems. Just watch your speed on the highway because this car was build for high speeds on the autobahn since it's based for Europe and you find yourself cruising at 85-100 mph without noticing. The suspension might be a little rough for some people but it's what makes that car handle like a race car! I don't doubt that you can easily put 300,000 miles on this car plus it's a ford at the end of the day. You can find parts everywhere and cheap to maintain. Buy this car. You won't regret it.
4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I purchased a Certified Pre-Owned ST3 roughly two months ago. With about 1200 miles into driving it, my overall impression of this car is that it is fantastic! Here are a few pros and cons in my own experience: Pros: -Great acceleration -Decent fuel economy for this type of car (I'm averaging 23-24 mpg with mostly city driving) -Great sound on Sony Premium Radio -Bright headlights that turn as you turn -Good amount of cargo capacity, especially with the rear seats folded down -Slightly stiff, but still very comfortable, sporty ride -Many reviews don't think the Recaros are comfortable, but I found myself used to them after one day of driving. They've definitely broken in. Cons: -Very limited on interior storage. There are only a small side pocket, a small center console, and a place for keys below the radio. -It can be difficult to get in and out of the Recaro seats. I often have to slide my chair back when getting out. -The navigation menus can be difficult and frustrating to navigate, even using the voice commands. -Rear headrests need to be removed to fold the seats down flat (or you have to slide your front seats way up) Overall, this vehicle has provided exactly what I was looking for: a daily commuter that is tons of fun and affordable. My initial want was a WRX, but I just couldn't pass up the value that this vehicle provides. I hope this review helps you in your car search!