- Decent to drive
- A textbook hatchback
But prices and insurance premiums on such a high performance car mean it’s not within the budget of some potential customers.
If you just want the glamour but not the go of the 280bhp EcoBoost ST, then there's now a sensible alternative – the Focus ST-Line Edition.
The ST-Line has the appearance of an ST – you get full body kit, rear spoiler, ST badges, sports suspension, twin exhaust tailpipes, rear privacy glass and dark headlining – but with a much more modest engine and at a much more affordable price.
The Ford Focus received a facelift in 2022, bringing with it a range of updates. A pre-facelift version was tested during this review.
The ST-Line is powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine. And while that might sound a little uninspiring in practice, it’s quite lively and an enjoyable drive – particularly if you slip it into sport mode and wind up the revs.
And not only is it nippy, but its sports car-like handling is good enough to really put a smile on your face as the revs go towards the red zone.
Some of the extra zip is attributable to the fact that this car is a mild hybrid, so the regenerated power that goes into the 48-volt battery gives the car that little bit of extra boost without you having to think about the problems of plugging in anywhere.
And that little bit of electric power means this is a super frugal car. During seven days of driving, my average fuel consumption never dropped below 51mpg.
It’s also pleasantly light to handle and manoeuvre. There’s no reversing camera as standard, but rear sensors and an on-screen illustration showing in red the parts of the car that are getting close to obstacles is the next best thing.
And despite having a small engine, the ST-Line is surprisingly quiet even at speed.
Design and Practicality
As with all Focus models, there’s generous rear legroom – for the size of the car – as passengers can stretch their legs out under the front seats. And it’s pretty good when it comes to luggage too, with some 341 litres available with the seat backs in place and 1,320 litres with them folded down.
Nice little user-friendly touches in the Focus include a handle on both sides of the tailgate and adjustable cup holders to cope with any size of coffee cup.
And just in case someone thinks your car really is an ST rather than an ST-Line car, there’s a full Thatcham Category 1 alarm system.
Technology and Safety
With the ST-Line you get a lot of equipment for your money in addition to the bodykit.
Satellite navigation is standard with an 8-inch TFT touch screen, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a Quickclear heated windscreen – a real boon on icy winter days.
There’s a choice of three driving modes too, eco, normal, and – to liven things up – sport.
And as you would expect from Ford it’s packed with sensible safety features including pedestrian and cyclist detection, pre-collision assist, lane-keeping assist and blind spot warning lights in the exterior mirrors.
It's hard to describe a car as the jack of all trades, but if there's any car that's close, it's the Ford Focus. Hardly surprising this sporty but at the same time sensible car is selling so well.
In ST Line trim, it offers a fairly dynamic driving experience without the expensive running costs that often come with sportier cars. It's practical, good-looking, well-equipped, and very good value.