Ford Motor Company is back at its dirty tactics—breaking hearts and playing favorites. It may have been more than three decades ago, but yes, we’re still jealous of the Sierra RS Cosworth that never made it to our shores.
With each new model debut, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that Ford of Europe has always been the favored subdivision. While they’re given the latest and greatest toys on the market, we’re left with the hand-me-downs from Goodwill. They’ve teased us with hot hatches like the Fiesta ST, Focus ST, and Focus RS for years, only for them to arrive in the U.S. many years later and only for a short stay before given the axe.
But this latest act of injustice is indefensible and has domestic sport wagon enthusiasts in uproar. That’s right, the 2020 Focus ST Wagon will debut exclusively on European soil, leaving U.S. consumers with the courtesy only to admire it from afar.
While the Focus ST finally made its way to the U.S. market, it was offered exclusively in hot hatch form. The ST fared well against foreign competitors like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Si, with its high-output turbo four-cylinder and six-speed manual gearbox.
Focus discontinued in US; lives on in Europe
Unfortunately, the Focus was discontinued in North America after the 2018 model year during Ford’s massive lineup overhaul. Other sibling casualties like the Fiesta ST, Fusion Sport, and Taurus SHO leave the Mustang as the only performance-oriented car remaining in Ford’s lineup.
No, the new Focus ST wagon likely never would have garnered huge sales numbers here in the U.S., but let’s not pretend that it will in Europe either. It’s a niche car in a niche market—not exactly a recipe for high volume sales. But that’s never stopped Ford before. Why the change of heart? The answer to that question is not for me to answer. But perhaps we can dig the knife a little deeper and see what we’re missing out on instead.
The all-new fourth generation Focus was unveiled in 2018, with sleeker styling, a sportier design, and simpler interior. Fortunately, these cues weren’t lost on the ST Wagon. Its large black honeycomb grille and aggressive character lines clearly suggest this isn’t your average grocery getter. Contoured rocker panel extensions, dual exhaust ports, and gunmetal gray twin-spoke wheels further the narrative.
Performance matches its styling
But it’s the driving experience that separates a true sport wagon from ones that merely look the part. With its 276-horsepower turbocharged 2.3-liter turbo EcoBoost engine and optional six-speed manual transmission, the ST Wagon is sure to pass the test in flying colors. Perhaps in “Ford Performance Blue,” or maybe “Tropical Orange” is more your flavor.
For the first time in one of its front-wheel-drive cars, Ford of Europe will also install an electronic limited-slip differential. This will offer a tremendous improvement in grip during launch and hard cornering by balancing the power distribution between the two front wheels. Adaptive dampers with selectable drive modes will allow ST owners to seamlessly transition from commuting comfort to all-out performance at the press of a button, while its body-hugging Recaro seats are sure to keep you firmly planted.
If rowing through the gears in city traffic isn’t an appealing option, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is also available that will still provide many of the same thrills. For the fuel conscious, a 187-horsepower turbo-diesel inline four-cylinder is an alternative powertrain option, though not one we would recommend in high-octane sport wagon like this.
The model is set to go on sale in Europe this summer, along with the ST hatchback. Pricing has yet to be announced, but unfortunately it’s an irrelevant discussion stateside because the 2020 Focus ST Wagon is the forbidden fruit we will never get to taste.