Ford Focus ST: Driving Review

15th Aug 2019

By Daniel Hitchman

Test Driving the Ford Focus ST

The dust has unofficially settled following the release of the hotly anticipated Ford Focus ST, which has certainly left a positive impression among publications and owners.

With so much buzz surrounding the Focus ST we decided to go and take one for a spin. The friendly team at Evans Halshaw FordStore Lincoln were kind enough to lend us the keys to their demonstrator, where we then headed to Cadwell Park Circuit in Louth.

Read on below to find out what we made of the Focus ST as a car to drive.

Old School Performance

Orange Ford Focus ST driving around Cadwell Park

The Focus ST manages to offer excellent refinement without compromising on the experience.

The Focus ST produces 280bhp and 310lb ft, which gets the car to 62mph from standstill in just 5.8 seconds. Although this is impressive, it's the delivery of the power and how it deploys it that really creates driving enjoyment.

There is minor turbo lag at the very bottom of the rev-range, which other hot hatchbacks don't typically have. However, keep the accelerator planted and a massive surge of power pushes you into the back of the seat.

Furthering the excitement is the enthusiasm in which the Focus ST chases the red-line; a rare trait in turbocharged engines. The noise that accompanies is mighty fine too, which reinforces the Focus ST's remit as an exciting hot hatchback.

Chassis and Suspension

Orange Ford Focus ST driving around Cadwell Park

Typical of any Ford Performance model, the Focus ST offers an abundance of grip and engagement, making for an enjoyable driving experience.

It's equally satisfying to see that the steering rack is quick in its responses to the input of the driver, meaning it doesn't take much effort to get the Focus changing direction down a country road.

Ford have opted to fit something called an eLSD (electronic Limited Slip Differential) as opposed to a traditional mechanical option. A differential essentially distributes torque across the driven wheels to give you optimal grip; they really help reign in the under steer associated with powerful front-wheel drive vehicles.

We were sceptical of the eLSD at first, but we're pleased to report it generates a significant amount of grip mid-corner.

Finishing Touches

Ford Focus ST interior

Potent performance and a capable chassis are expected in this day and age from a hot hatchback, but the rest of the package is what really adds the finishing touches to a top performer.

Recaro seats have been a consistent sight in Ford performance vehicles throughout the generations, and the Focus ST is no different. Interestingly, the Recaros in the ST are wider than you'd expect from a performance vehicle, so it never felt like they were there during normal driving, but there was masses of confidence-inspiring support when we started pushing on.

As you'd expect, the brakes are substantial on the Focus ST. The initial bite is strong, with a progressive feeling that provides plenty of feedback. During some spirited driving, we didn't notice any brake-fade either. Always reassuring on a car of this capability.

Discover the Focus ST through Evans Halshaw Ford

The Focus ST has been a highly rated car throughout each generation it has made an appearance, and we're pleased to see the success continues with this latest model.

However, what really separates the Focus ST from rivals in the same class is its ability to capture what made hot hatchbacks of old so special. Yet, it still feels refined, comfortable, and practical when you want it to settle down.

This is a fantastic all-round hot hatchback that is worthy of a test drive through your nearest Evans Halshaw Ford retailer.