The headline news about the new facelifted Ford Focus ST, the performance version of Ford’s dynamically revered family hatchback, might be that you can no longer buy an orange one.
The colour formerly known as Tangerine Scream has made so many generations of this fast Ford stand out, often every bit as clearly as their warbling five-cylinder exhaust notes ever did.
Well, as of the 2022 model year, it won’t any longer. If you want bright, you can now choose from a couple of slightly more pleasant if prosaic shades of red, or you can have Mean Green instead, which is the latest addition to the ST colour palette. Shame. Green is fine, but plenty of performance brands offer it. There was something quite special about an orange Focus ST - in this tester's estimation, at least.
The car has some fresh styling features for the new paint colour to draw your eye to, among them new LED headlights and many of the new exterior details of the regular Focus, the latest version of which we reviewed earlier this year. There’s the usual enlarged radiator and bumper grilles, side sills and spoilers, too, that you expect to find on a hot hatchback.
A couple of new alloy wheel designs finish things off on the outside. However, as a result of a thinning down of the UK model line-up, we get only one of them: the bigger 19in wheel finished in Matt Magnette grey - while there’s now only one ST derivative trim level available on the UK price list, the old ST-2 and ST-3 versions having bitten the dust.
UK-market Focus STs come fairly generously equipped, then, but they’ve also been subject to a near-£3000 price hike, making the regular manual-equipped five-door hatchback a near-£35,000 car and the two-pedal automatic version tested here another £1450 on the top. The Volkswagen Golf GTI is still marginally pricier, but if you like your performance value, the Cupra Leon is considerably cheaper, and so is the Hyundai i30 N.
Have the Focus ST and you get Ford’s latest Sync4 13.2in touchscreen infotainment system as standard (wireless smartphone mirroring and charging included), as well as premium audio by Bang & Olufsen, adaptive LED headlights and Ford’s torque-vectoring e-differential at the front. But you’re still expected to pay £800 extra if you want adaptive dampers and a full suite of driving modes, Ford having added a Track mode to the car’s roster of selectable programmes among few other dynamic changes.