Looks – 10/10
The facelift on the Focus has given it a much more premium image. The more angular grille and sleeker tailgate go a long way. On the ST Ford have got the styling just right. The honeycomb grille gives a sporty feel. The daytime running lights are small but effective, and the centre exhaust still looks good. For the new model the optional style pack has been re-defined. For a mere £750 you get red brake callipers, rear privacy glass, illuminated kick plates and alternative 19-inch alloy wheels. I think this is definitely worth the money, especially considering all this costs the same as the Tangerine Scream paint (£745). I’m still not sure how I feel about the colour. It’s really nice on a press vehicle that you drive around in for a week. It turns heads; there’s no doubt about it. But should I be walking into a showroom to part with my own money, would I tick the Tangerine box? I just don’t know.
Inside there have been a few minor tweaks, but the cabin was already a wonderful place to be. You get big body-hugging Recaro seats, and in the ST-2 these are half-leather, two-tone. I’d personally go for the ST-3 with its full leather trim. The new SYNC 2 media system sits pride of place with an 8-inch touch screen, and there’s a new flat-bottomed steering wheel which looks a lot better than the previous model. The gear stick is short and stubby for faster changes, and you get aluminium pedals too. The dials are simple in white and red, and the multifunction display brandishes the ST logo when you switch the car on. The build quality is as you would expect from Ford, and nice plastics are used throughout.
The Ford Focus is one of the best selling cars in the country, with good reason. As a family car there aren’t many better. It’s 5-door only now, and has a spacious cabin front and back. The boot is extremely large, and the depth is surprising. For £85 you can have door edge protectors too, which retract mechanically (and very cleverly I might add) when you close the door. Useful for if the kids get over excited when getting out of the car. The new SYNC 2 system is brilliant, and the optional nav for £500 and reversing camera for £165 are reasonably priced extras. Ford now offer a Blind Spot Information System (£525) and heated steering wheel (£95).
There is an underlying expectation that a car such as the Focus ST will be fun. In many respects the car doesn’t disappoint. Ford has redesigned the ‘symposer’ system on the new Focus ST, opting for a digital system in favour of the old mechanical one. So the engine note is now fed into the cabin through speakers, and although in principle that doesn’t sound as good (pardon the pun) in reality you really can’t tell the difference. Where I take slight issue with the Focus ST is in the safety gadgets. Take the “Driver Assistance Pack”. Yes, it’s an optional extra. And yes, at £450 it’s inexpensive. But Active City Stop, Lane Departure warning, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert and Auto High Beam? I mean really. The driver should be alert with 250PS at his right foot. And how can you take the racing line on an open country lane if the computer wants you to stay between the white lines. It’s all a bit sensible for me, and I don’t like it. I’d much prefer a ‘Hoonigan’ pack…