FORD’S fastest Focus, the ST, has been given a new look for the new year and, more importantly, a diesel engine option.
The 247bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol motor is carried over from the previous model, but thrifty thrillseekers can spec their ST with a 182bhp two-litre turbodiesel that’s theoretically capable of 67mpg if you resist putting Ford’s claims of an 8.1-second 0-62mph time to the test.
On the outside, there are revisions to the headlights, grille, tail lights and back bumper, and a fetching new Stealth Grey paint. Alloy wheels are 18-inch as standard, or 19-inch if taste and budget allow.
Under the skin, the car’s suspension and steering have been given a series of tweaks with the promise of making the ST an even sharper drive.
Ford’s latest Sync eight-inch touchscreen media interface gets rid of much of the clutter that made the last ST’s dashboard a bit baffling and, in rigorous testing, its voice-activated commands responded well to Scotsman Motoring’s array of dreadful accents: (Connolly, Connery, Cockney and Neighbours-spec Australian).
Available as a five-door hatch or estate, the Focus ST range opens with the £22,195 ST-1 hatchback, but hardly anyone buys that one. The real interest starts with the ST-2, which adds half-leather seats and dual-zone climate control and will set you back £23,695. The £25,995 ST-3 gets full leather upholstery and the touchscreen interface as standard.
There’s no price difference between petrol and diesel STs, but you’ll pay a £1,100 premium for the estate.