The discrepancy between how this car’s cabin looks and how it feels is considerable. Open the doors (now fitted with automatically deploying edge protectors as standard) and you’re met with a monochromatic sea of dark plastics – some supple, others brittle and all too prominent – and a modest amount of leather.
There are red ‘ST’ icons dotted about, a punchy ‘Ford Performance’ is scribed across the door sills and the H-pattern etched into the chromed gearknob is also highlighted in red, but this isn’t the belligerently hardcore cockpit you’ll find in certain hot hatch rivals (Honda, ahem). Some will be disappointed by this, although Ford’s approach with these cars never has been to transform the canvas laid down by the basic Focus, at least so far as visual appeal goes.
Were you to be blindfolded, it would be a different story. The design of the half-cloth Recaro seats is evolved from that of those found in the Fiesta ST, only with a greater emphasis on comfort, which has resulted in broader backs. They’re still heavily bolstered and, if not quite true ‘buckets’, impart very serious vibes indeed, cupping one’s thighs and rib cage firmly but not restrictively. What’s more, and breaking with fast Ford tradition, neither are they set too high.