TEST DRIVE: Ford Focus ST
THERE’S no doubt about it; the 2019 Ford Focus ST has been one of the most hotly-anticipated cars of the year.
So much so, that one of the two limited edition hot hatchbacks destined for sale in Guernsey was sold even before it reached the showroom floor. The other however, was ours for a couple of stolen hours on a summer afternoon on the north coast.
The Focus ST has been a dominant contender in the hot hatch arena historically, and with its keen, agile drive and cheeky demeanour, it’s easy to see why it’s internationally loved. As soon as you get into those specialist-designed Recaro rally-like seats, you know you’re in for a good time.
The sporty element is intensified in the 2019 model, with plenty of track-ready styling from scarlet red brake pads to ‘performance’-stamped door sills and carbon-esque trimmings. Its partial leather seats are sculpted to cradle the body as it tucks craftily around corners and an ‘ST’-embossed aluminium gearstick sits in the palm of your hand while navigating that 6-speed engine.
And speaking of which, the engine boasts 276bhp and a rival-beating 420Nm of torque, clocking 62mph in a lightning 5.7 seconds. So although it may look only mildly dissimilar from the old ST on looks – save for a new grille, an almost ground-scraping front bumper, a roof-mounted spoiler and two dual exhausts at the back – it’s almost a full second quicker and handles noticeably better.
There’s some oh-so-satisfying pops and bangs as you alleviate the accelerator and a continual throaty roar as it cruises up to – but not as far as, if you have any plans to keep your licence – a top speed of 155mph. Luckily, a clear and precise head-up display of your speed and the limit for the area helps you keep a handle on that.
In sport mode, the suspension tightens, the already super-responsive steering gets heavier and that already boisterous engine goes from angry to enraged. It took to straights and corners alike like a turbocharged knife through butter, even at the slightest pressure on the accelerator.
But it’s not all Fast and Furious, as a smattering of premium features make the Focus ST a versatile family car as well as a boy racer’s dream. A dazzling hi-resolution 8-inch colour touchscreen comes complete with Ford’s latest Sync 3 technology, delivering satnav, smartphone connectivity and crystal clear sound through a 10-speaker strong Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Everything is conveniently electrically-controlled, visibility is fantastic thanks to relatively thin windscreen pillars and parking is a doddle thanks to a 180-degree reversing camera and parking sensors at the front and rear. There’s also comfortable headroom throughout and a generous amount of space for rear passengers and plenty of space for shopping, sports kits or suitcases in the boot.
Then there’s all the other little well-executed luxuries we’ve come to take for granted from Ford; keyless entry, climate control, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and 19-inch alloys as standard and a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating to name but a few.
FACTS & FIGURES
Model tested: Ford Focus ST
Engine: 2.3-litre Ecoboost 6-pseed manual
Drive train: FWD
Power: 276bhp, 420Nm torque
Top speed: 155mph
Price: £28,854 - range starts from £27,562
To book your test drive, call 01481 724774 or visit www.trustfordguernsey.co.uk