A sleek, comfortable addition to Ford lineup

DAVE MOORE
Last updated 16:17 01/11/2012
The Ford Focus ST.
Sleek: The Ford Focus ST.

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Continuing a tradition of sporting front-drive Fords, the Focus ST uses a Falcon engine to get its thrust. DAVE MOORE explains.

The initials GT, XR, RS and ST have suffixed the names of all manner of fast small and midsized family Fords over the past 50 years and they've all had one thing in common: fun.

While further hopped-up models became RSs, the GT badge soldiered on for the merely "warmed-over" models. With the advent of front- drive Fiestas and Escorts in Europe the XR badge came into being.

As the Escort became replaced by the first Focus, the initials ST replaced XR with the Fiesta and Mondeo also including ST versions. Each Fiesta and Focus model also gained an even faster very limited edition ultra high performance RS version, meaning the STs are seen as the more civilised face of Ford performance.

So the third generation Focus ST driven here is seen as essentially a simmeringly warm hatch rather than a boiling-hot one.

The heart of the new ST is an engine that is physically and literally 20 per cent smaller than the preceding model's Volvo-derived 2.5-litre transverse five.

The latest Focus STmay have given up a cylinder and lost some capacity, but the engine produces more than 10 per cent more power and torque, at 184kW and 360Nm, than the previous five-pot while managing to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by more than 20 per cent.

The car uses a pleasingly slick six- speed manual unit only, though there has been discussion about a double-clutch two-pedal 'PowerShift' transmission.

The power unit is of course a version of Ford's ubiquitous EcoBoost 2.0-litre four.

 

THE SPECS

Drivetrain: Transverse FWD 1999cc DOHC EcoBoost turbocharged in-line four. Six-speed manual Durashift transmission.

Outputs: Max 184kW at 5500rpm, 360Nm at 2000-4500rpm. Max 248kmh, 0-100kmh 6.5 secs, 7.1L/100km, 169g/km CO2.

Chassis: Front MacPherson struts, rear control blades; electric variable ratio rack and pinion steering; 18 x 8 rims, 235/40 tyres.

Safety: Vented disc brakes all-round, ABS, EBD and EBA; stability control, front, side and side curtain airbags; 5-star NCAP test. Dimensions: L 4364mm, H 1484mm, W 1823mm, W/base 2648mm, F/track 1554mm, R/track 1544mm, Weight 1437mm, 55L.

Pricing: On sale in November at $52,490.

HOT: Smooth, punchy, flexible engine; well balanced grippy chassis; fine driving position; sharp sticker.

NOT: Wagon and durashift not available in NZ; naff seat colour choices; yellow only decent body colour.

VERDICT: Worthy wearer of the ST badge. Now, Ford how about an even hotter RS Focus.

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- Kapiti Observer

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