The hot hatch variant of the Ford Focus, the Focus ST, has previously been available in Europe, though Ford announced a while ago that it would go on sale in the U.S. The car will be at dealerships by June, starting at $24,495 before destination charges.
Domestic hot hatch
Hot hatchbacks are cool, because they allow the driver to be irresponsible and responsible at the same time. The standard formula is to give a typical family hatchback enough power to make it fun to drive, while retaining the utility of a family car. That way, the driver can totally blow past minivans while making the school run.
Plenty of hot hatches have been made by Japanese and European car makers, but domestic car companies have been lacking. Ford has been making hot hatch versions of the Fiesta and Focus for years in Europe, but never sold them in the U.S. However, Ford announced the Focus ST was coming home last year.
The Focus ST, according to Inside Line, will be at Ford dealerships before June. It starts at $24,495 after a $795 destination charge.
Plenty of zip
The Focus ST gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost motor, good for 252 horsepower, according to Car and Driver. It had previously been estimated at 247 horsepower by Ford, but the Society of Automotive Engineers rating procedure found an additional five. It also produces 270 foot-pounds of torque, so acceleration will be lively.
The transmission is a six-speed manual, period. Ford is not offering it with an automatic, according to Ford’s website.
Standard amenities include remote keyless entry with push-button start, auxiliary dash gauges and sport seats. All models include a different grille and body molding than the regular Focus. It also, according to AutoBlog, sits 1 centimeter lower and has a torque-steer prevention system and a sportier suspension.
There are optional ST2 and ST3 packages, available for $2,385 and $4,435, respectively. Both packages add Recaro seats, though the ST2 seats are partial-leather and ST3 seats are fully leather and heated. The ST2 package also adds Sony audio, HD radio and the MyFord Touch system. The ST3 trim adds sat-nav, HID lights and ambient lighting effects.
Ford is also throwing in a GoPro HD Hero 2 Motorsports camera for free.
A great buy
Compared to other hot hatches, the Focus ST is highly competitive on both power and price. The five-door Volkswagen GTI, the standard by which hot hatches are judged, is $870 more and has 52 fewer horsepower, according to Car and Driver. There is also the Golf R with 4 more horsepower but at $9,000 more and with two fewer doors, according to Volkswagen. Honda has the slightly tarted up Civic SI sedan, which is cheaper at $22,555, but only has 200 horsepower.
The Mazda Speed3 costs the same and has 11 more horsepower. There Subaru WRX is a serious contender. Despite costing $1,100 more, it has 13 more horsepower, all-wheel-drive and comes as a five-door hatch or sedan.