The Ford Focus ST: A Look Back at a Hot Hatch that Changed the Market
The Ford Focus ST was first introduced to North American drivers in late-2012 when enthusiasts clamored for the next exciting compact car. With its aggressive styling, potent engine, and intoxicating exhaust note, this hatchback quickly quenched that thirst. Over the next few years, drivers and critics flocked to the Ford Focus ST, always hoping for the next significant innovation.
A spunky, aggressive, and old-school hot hatch
Hot hatches have always been a sought-after model for drivers who want added excitement but day-to-day practicality. This hatchback was introduced to fit a particular need for a more aggressively styled and driving compact option with the space that more drivers could enjoy.
The Ford Focus ST was an excellent alternative for drivers who didn’t want the reserved styling of competitors like the Volkswagen Golf GTI. This aggressive styling was also found in the interior. Inside, drivers could enjoy unique Recaro seats that would provide much-needed support for aggressive driving on a track.
Another big reason that drivers rushed to get behind the wheel of a Ford Focus ST is that it came equipped solely with three pedals. This hatchback was a welcome addition in an era when more cars were ditching the manual transmission options. Few hatchbacks could match the Ford Focus ST when the stiff suspension and direct steering were added.
Where the Ford Focus ST impressed was with its engine. Underneath the hood laid a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that would create 252 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. This translated into a 0-60 time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 150 MPH. More importantly, this engine would create a heart-racing driving experience that could keep drivers enthralled on any road. The Ford Focus ST came alive on a winding backroad or the track. The suspension was stiff and would help drivers stay firmly planted when going into or coming out of corners. The Ford Focus ST would push drivers to drive hard and reward them accordingly.
As a front-wheel-drive set-up, drivers could enjoy the raucous torque-steer that seemed scary and was exceptionally well-managed. In many ways, the Ford Focus ST was best suited for drivers who wanted a thrilling experience on even the most mundane ride.
The Ford Focus ST was a hatchback; it was a practical daily driver for those who wanted additional control over the car’s feeling. The rear hatch offered plenty of space, 23.3 cu.-ft. of space with the rear seats up and 43.9 cu.-ft. of space when those seats folded down. The 60/40 split-folding seats allowed this hatchback still to carry passengers and cargo simultaneously.
Throughout the interior, drivers and passengers would appreciate several storage cubbies and cup holders, often forgotten on other performance-focused models. Like many other models from this era, the interior could be pretty bare-bones or feature-filled. With just one trim level but three unique packages, ST1, ST2, and ST3, drivers could get what they want. Shoppers who wanted just the necessities would opt for the base model, but the ST3 was a great option as cars became more advanced. Drivers would be able to upgrade to a premium 10-speaker Sony audio system, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto connectivity. Furthermore, the aforementioned Recaro seats could be both leather and heated.
A sad day when the ax swung down
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After just six short years of impressing drivers and critics alike with an engaging and exciting ride, Ford delivered the news that enthusiasts were dreading the Ford Focus ST was no more. After the 2018 model year, Ford decided to eliminate all compacts and sedans from their U.S. line-up. With that, the Ford Focus ST was a thing of the past.
In its place, other automakers have attempted to quench the thirst of enthusiasts pining for an aggressive and alluring hot hatch. Few offerings, if any, can offer everything the Ford Focus ST did. From the great styling, capable powertrain, and rewarding driving experience, this hatchback was indeed in a class all its own.
With many other hot hatchbacks available today, this market is still highly competitive with great options like the Hyundai Veloster N, the upcoming Toyota Corolla GR, and Volkswagen GTI. A new and modern Ford Focus ST would undoubtedly be a welcome addition.
If you missed your chance to own a brand-new Ford Focus ST, don’t worry, there are still plenty of used available throughout the country.
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