The excellent new Ford Focus ST estate marks the first time a true performance Focus has been offered as a load-lugger

Our Verdict

Ford Focus ST

The Ford Focus ST has gained a new four-pot motor, but does it have what it takes to gun for the Golf GTI?

What is it?

This is the Ford Focus ST Wagon, the estate version of the Blue Oval’s latest performance car. Early predictions suggest it will account for around 10 per cent of the anticipated 4000 annual sales of the ST in the UK (of a total of 800 worldwide), although Ford insiders admit that they are “prepared to be surprised” if that ratio is in fact higher.

That’s because the early feedback is that the ST’s overall usability, and particularly the all-round suppleness of the ride, has significantly enhanced its credentials as a fun family car rather than niche enthusiast’s vehicle. The Wagon’s increased boot capacity only adds to that reputation.

The Wagon is 204mm longer than the hatch and 21mm higher, but the same width and wheelbase. Unsurprisingly, the boot is also longer, wider and higher; seats down and with no spare tyre, it’ll take 1516 litres of luggage, as opposed to the hatch’s 1148 litres, thanks in part to redesigned rear suspension over the hatch, with the shock absorbers angled to avoid encroaching on boot space . It also weighs marginally more, at 1386kg, as opposed to the hatch's 1362kg.

Elsewhere, it’s the same story as the Ford Focus ST hatchback which we have also driven: the Wagon is powered by the same four-pot engine as the hatch and records almost identical performance and efficiency figures, running to 62mph from a standstill just 0.1sec slower. 

Prices start from £23,095, a £1100 premium over the hatch.

What's it like?

Very much like the hatch, in almost all respects bar boot space. And that means it is very good indeed.

The first impression when you climb aboard is just how grown up the cabin feels, which could be quite a surprise given some of the fittings in a low spec standard Focus. On our mid-spec ST2 example the Recaro sports seats were supremely comfortable, the seat and steering wheel had plenty of adjustment and the trims and fittings were of a high quality.

The engine fires with an appealing rumble, and the noise projected in to the cabin (with the aid of an "active sound symposer system") as you go up the revs has a meaty, almost five-pot sound. It goes well, too, pulling energetically and smoothly, gathering noise and pace with more revs. There is only the slightest hint of torque steer, and then it only serves to remind you you are in a car that is a little bit special. The six-speed gearshift is also enjoyably slick.

Steering feel is reasonable, and a quick rack gives the car a great sense of agility. This is aided by two electronic systems – a torque-steer compensator, which uses a motor to feed forces back into the electric power steering system to counter disruption and torque vectoring, which uses the ESP system to brake a lightly loaded inside wheel and pass power to the outside. Throw the car in to a corner and you can feel the electronics intervening, but only rarely and then only to help tuck the nose in. The extra weight off the estate hardly comes in to play.

Our test was on largely smooth motorway, town and mountain roads in southern France, and the ride shone. While it undeniably has a firm edge to it, over the worst bits of rough it soaked up the bumps to a surprising degree. Despite this, any roll and pitch (and there is some) is well controlled. The changes to the rear shock angles do little to change the car's character over the hatch. This really is a performance car you could live with every day.

Should I buy one?

So you want an all-in-one car that can entertain on the right roads but lug the family and their luggage around at other times? Then step right this way, because the Focus is quite capable on delivering on both fronts, and at an appealing price.

Ford Focus ST wagon

Price: £23,095; 0-60mph: 6.2sec; Top speed: 154mph; Economy: 39.2mpg (combined); CO2: 169g/km; Kerb weight: 1386kg; Engine: 4 cyls in line, 2000cc, turbo, petrol; Installation: Front, transverse, front-wheel drive; Power: 247bhp at 5000rpm; Torque: 250lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
11

11 June 2012

For some reason this reminds me of the Max-Powered up Ford Escort panel vans of the late 80's early 90's?

11 June 2012

my issue is that its does not look like its got anything special about it exterior wise, which its rivals including the Golf GTI manages with class. 

The part I think Ford have forgetten is that the trick with hot hatches is that they need to look nice to attract people to them and the owners want something different to the normal version. This is not different enough from the normal focus. (I actually think the normal Focus looks in a way better than this).

One thing for certain I won't be swapping in my Peugeot RCZ for a Focus ST anytime soon.

 

11 June 2012

tomy90 wrote:

my issue is that its does not look like its got anything special about it exterior wise, which its rivals including the Golf GTI manages with class.

Is this said with a tinge of sarcasm? The Golf is probably one of the most dull cars aesthetically! Oversized 20-inch alloys aside it makes no visual impact!

11 June 2012

I was not actually being sarcastic I do think the Volkswagen Golf GTI looks much better than the Ford Focus ST because of that horrible nose (makes the Peugeot 407 nose look pleasant) and that funny Focus rear end (granted the estate fixes that issue).

also you cannot have 20 inch alloy's on the GTI the biggest size apart from those new black 19 inch alloys you can now get (which I would not recommend) is 17 inch stock and 18 inch for the alloys I am guessing your talking about. (even the R20 cannot have 20 inch alloy's.

11 June 2012

... precisely because it doesn't look too much like a boy racer's car. I'm too old to be one, but still want to enjoy driving. And this, as my third Focus in a row, looks pretty damned near perfect Smile 

11 June 2012

The Focus ST-range just looks like they are getting a kind of upside-down ugly Peugeot-esque grille.
Yuck is the answer!

The new Astra VXR looks rather plain and the current GTI is just dull.

I got excited by the previous Focus ST and Astra VXR.... these however appear to be more expensive and increasingly boring.

This could have been so much different.

11 June 2012

I would agree with you Big S. Clearly, I'm not to old for a boy-racer car but I think this looks great - not too boring but not over the top. I had mixed opinions of the new Focus when it first came out, but it just seems to look better by the day. This is probably the best looking smaller estate and a stroke of genius by Ford to offer an ST estate.

12 June 2012

The estate body makes the wheels look tiny. Like the idea of this but not the finished look.

DriverVIBE.com

....Celebrating Great Cars & Great Writing....

12 June 2012

Weirdly, it looks better than the hatch?

Peter Cavellini.

12 June 2012

Shame about the tinted rear side windows. Otherwise I like it.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week