2012 Ford Focus ST First Drive
When we hear the words Ford and hot-hatch it always grabs our attention, the Ford Escort Cosworth was as big a icon as any in the motor industry growing up, so when we were invited to the new 2012 Ford Focus ST First Drive, it was a real no brainer. The new 2012 Focus ST gave us the chance to see what Ford had been up to with new ST, it’s been a while in the pipeline, and with reasonable reviews from the MK II, this ST had quite a lot to live up to.
So was the 2012 Ford Focus ST as good as we hoped?
The ST has retained its good looks and sporty styling, it is not quite aggressive as the previous model, and looks much more nimble on the road. The understated stance, sleek lines and all new twin exhaust in the rear centre helps to create a sporty look that this car deserves. In fact, without that bold rear bumper, ST badge and twin exhaust, from the rear, you could nearly be forgiven for thinking this was just another Focus…
What also surprised was the ‘estate’ and how good it looked. When you think of a sporty hatch, you immediately disregard these tourer editions, but if space is what you want, it is definitely worth a look.
Inside the car you will find a great driving position and an array of gadgets and tech. Recaro sports seats, keyless start and Bluetooth are all found in the entry level Focus ST-1. You also get fully working turbo dials on top of the dash, just above the stereo which are useful (apparently). The one thing that we weren’t overly impressed with was the oversized Sony audio control panel. Far too many buttons in the wrong place for our liking (and yes I did find how to turn the radio on! MT). Maybe more importantly the car is comfortable. There is plenty of room for your passengers to enjoy a comfortable ride and plenty of boot space – that’s the ‘practical’ box ticked then.
On the Road
Although Ford has replaced the previous five-cylinder engine with their own turbocharged two-litre engine it still delivers some serious performance and some quite beautiful engine notes to your ears. The engine produces 247bhp, that is 25bhp more than the previous ST model of 2 years ago. The car works well at both ends of the driving scale. Putting your foot down along some sweeping, winding roads is seriously good fun. The official word from Ford is that you can reach 62mph in 6.5 seconds. Bringing the car back into the real world and it will deliver 39.2mpg which is certainly an improvement on the previous ST and means this car could fit into everyday life as well.
As for handling, the 2013 Ford Focus ST handles very very well. The hot-hatch market has some strong competition with the Golf GTI, Renaultsport Megane, Citroen DS3 Racing and Astra VXR to name but a few, so the ST had to deliver something special – and it did. Not only the hatchback but the estate is equally as good. The superb chassis and suspension work in perfect harmony, meaning you don’t realise that you are getting some serious performance from an estate. Ford have worked hard to make the estate perform as well as the hatchback and this will certainly help push the ST more into the family market. Just because you need room for a buggy and nappies in the boot doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get the tyres squealing around the corners. What Ford have managed to achieve with the ST is very impressive. The best handling car in its class? Perhaps…
2012 Ford Focus ST First Drive Verdict
For a car that has to compete with some big competitors it has everything it needs to climb to the top of the food chain. Not only are you getting a car that handles brilliantly, is kitted out with plenty of technology and can be driven everyday – the entry level ST-1 is only £21,995 – just under £4,000 cheaper than the Golf GTI…
Overall we enjoyed driving the Focus ST. We can see why it would appeal to people looking for a car that can perform and deliver great handling as well as being spacious, practical and comfortable.
As for the 2012 Ford Focus ST launch date? Well we are still waiting for the final date, but expect it late in 2012, Nov / Dec.
Let us know what you think of the ST, and don’t forget we have been forced to join Google+ by the search engine giant.