SAME FORMULA RE-IMAGINED
There was nothing particularly wrong with the interior on the previous Focus, it was well-built and very ergonomic. However, times have swiftly moved on and now customers want that little extra. Ford took note, and the new Focus boasts an interior design that is bang up-to-date and has comfortably asserted itself as one of the leaders in its class.
Let's first talk about those utterly sublime sports seats that have been bolted in courtesy of Recaro. The support they offer is second-to-none, you can really throw this car into the corners without ending up on the other side of the cabin. It's all very confidence inspiring. Factor in the low-slung driving position and ergonomic controls that fall perfectly to hand and you have a beautiful place to sit.
It isn't all about the driving position, Ford have been busy upgrading the materials throughout the cabin as well. The new materials have a softer touch, while the re-designed central dashboard does an excellent job of bringing a heightened level of quality to the party. At the top of the dashboard is a large screen, but more on that later.
As we're sat here reminiscing about the Focus designs of old, we're struggling to figure out how Ford have never made an ugly one despite the heavy exterior refresh that has been introduced with every generation. The new Focus is certainly a handsome one with its sharp, yet subtle, body lines that are well-proportioned.
The ST adds to the endearing appearance with a series of subtle additions to the body, which all combine to ensure the Focus looks purposeful enough to cause concern for drivers who see it approaching in their rear view mirror.
The front bumper gets sharper lines and a large thick-meshed grille with that distinctive 'ST' badge in the corner, while the rear bumper gets the same sharp lines that curve around the recess for the twin-exhaust exit. A series of alloy wheel designs in 18' and 19' are available too, which reveal the large vented front brakes that boast red calipers.
All of this may be a bit too subtle for you, but Ford have always been on hand to offer some extravagant colours for customers to choose from. Ford Performance Blue, Orange Fury, Frozen White and Race Red all help enhance the drama of the new Focus ST.
Ford knew the latest Focus would have to boast some of their most advanced technology if it was to remain a class-leader. Starting with the interior; owners will benefit from Ford's latest SYNC 3 Infotainment system. SYNC 3 processes inputs rapidly on its touchscreen, while offering the user access to DAB Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a slick satellite-navigation system.
In a first for the brand, Ford have fitted the Focus ST with an electronic limited-slip differential, which is not to be mistaken for Torque Vectoring Control (Although this is what you will get on the diesel ST). The eLSD utilises a series of sensors to preemptively adjust torque distribution, as opposed to reacting when wheel spin occurs. Ford say the eLSD can redistribute up to 100 per cent of available torque to whichever driven wheel has the most traction.
If this wasn't enough for you, then you'll be pleased to learn there are a selection of driving modes to choose from. This is a feature that hasn't been present on previous models and reinforces Ford's commitment to providing the ultimate daily hot hatch. To top it all off, the ST will have automatic rev-matching on the downshifts, regardless of the gearbox you choose.
POWER TO THE MASSES
Ford are going in the right direction with the engine choices for the new ST. Although the engines were very good in the previous generation, many still mourned the loss of the 2.5-litre turbocharged 5 cylinder engine that sounded like a mini V10.
So what does this model get? Well, it gets the same 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol engine that is found in the Mustang (got your attention now, haven't we?). Although the unit has been toned down for the Focus, it still produces a substantial 280bhp and 310lb ft of torque. With power going through the front wheels via that new eLSD, this promises to be a real road weapon.
Those who do long distance commuting, but want performance won't be disappointed by the 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel motor. It will produce 190bhp at 3,500rpm and just under 300lb ft of torque between 2,000rpm and 3,000rpm, making it the most powerful diesel engine ever dropped into a Focus. Regardless of engine choice, customers will be able to select a slick six-speed manual or brand-new seven-speed automatic gearbox.