Henry Ford should be smiling knowing that Ford, an automaker that he founded in 1903 and bears his name, is still making people smile. Cars for the masses are loosing most of the appeal of driving in favor of being extremely practical and super friendly to the environment. It has become rather a tool to go around places. But petrol-heads need not worry; there’s a new hot people mover in town and it’s the 2013 Ford Focus ST.
2013 Ford Focus ST Review
What we have here is an American interpretation of the VW Golf R and vice versa. We shall get into the nitty-gritty soon enough, but the pièce de résistance is the 2013 Focus ST’s 6 speed manual transmission, to be fair I shall point that the Golf R also comes in a manual tranny, however that option is not available here in the middle east.
The Focus ST is a rare breed for true petrol-heads, the others being the Toyota 86 and the 2012 Renault Clio RS. And by true petrol-heads I meant that it comes with a stick shift. Yes, the stick shift which is slowly making a come back (at least we hope it is). But at its heart in an aluminum EcoBoost engine which produces 250hp and 360Nm of torque and priced at AED 95,000!!!!!! I would be wrong to mention that the examples given are not the only models which comes with a manual tranny, there are others as well, but for this review I am sticking to a price range of below AED 100,000
Ford has gone to great lengths in reducing the torque steer of the ST. But frankly speaking, when the front chassis and tires are dealing with the ‘driving-steering-braking’ and at the same time having to deal with 360Nm of torque, it is pretty much unavoidable. But to give Ford credit, they have substantially reduced the torque steer, it’s noticeable but not much, we would say that the Ford ST’s torque steer pulls slightly more than VW’s MKVII Golf GTI. This is a very impressive engineering feat indeed.
The gearshifts are precise and you can hear the gear engaging with a subtle “clink”. The clutch pedal is light and did not strain our calf muscle in stop and go traffic. The gear ratios are tall, makes sense when you have a lot of torque. But imagine this, in 2nd gear and close to the red line, we were doing close to 100kmph. Basically all you need is three gears. The abundance of torque allowed us to skip gears. As in, you can shift from 1st to 3rd directly and 4th to 6th depending on your driving habits. The engine won’t shudder or vibrate because of lack or torque; the ST just keeps on pulling. Once one the highway, just leave it to 6th gear and you would not need to downshift to 5th or 4th for any overtaking maneuvers.
The Ford Focus ST carries over the same bodywork as a regular Focus. The only distinguishable marks are the body kits, rims and the center exhaust. So moving the car around tight underground parking lots or carrying groceries is a piece of cake. As a daily driver it has all the check marks rightfully ticked. So maybe the readers would be asking us, well what about the suspension? Is it hard? It is firm, yes; but the right balance. We did not feel the road vibrations much, and the ST was extremely compliant over rough roads. All this leads to the actual part of the review, well how does it handle?
The handling of the 2013 Ford Focus ST is awe-inspiring for a car of its size. The Goodyear tyre, which comes in on as standard, was grippy and did not let loose till we went bonkers with the accelerator pedal. As in the case of a front wheel drive vehicle, it tends to under-steer in acceleration. But this was easily sorted out with a slight lift of the accelerator and the nose started pointing to our intended direction of travel. The way it constantly behaved this way along the very rare twisted ribbon of asphalt was confidence inspiring and predictable. The Focus ST never surprised us and urged us to push and push. The brakes were fade free during our moments of insanity and provided for a lot of feel.
The ST’s sits lower than a regular Focus and gains a speed sensitive steering and electronic LSD. All this works in unison is providing a cracker of a drive around the bends.
Inside the ST, we had Recaro seats with red accents. The seats are comfortable, despite looking all-snug. It does hold its driver firmly in place during sharp turns without pinching. Sony provides the audiophile, there’s no complaint on that department. Otherwise the usual bells and whistles, which we expect from any car, are found. USB and AUX slots, dual automatic climate controls. Really the only feature other than the sound system was the A/C unit which kept the inside a cool 23 degrees and prevented us from excessively sweating from having too much fun with the car.
In all reality what we have here is the return of pure driving fun. Don’t we want to take the bull by its horns sometimes? It’s a primeval feel to drive an H-gate gearbox, and the ST was on the top of our list to try out. What it did was left us spell bound. I still cannot get over the ST’s immense grip and its induction noise that filters into the cabin, such intoxicating experience has been carefully drip fed to us over the short weekend. The ease of use and its practicality, not to mention the immense torque and power is enough to make it a hot seller. And with a price is AED 95,000 this four banger should be the bargain of the century.
|2013 Ford Focus ST|
|Displacement||2.0 Litre EcoBoost Turbocharged GTDI Engine|
|Rated Output||252 hp @ 5000 rpm|
|Rated Torque||360Nm @ 2500 rpm|
|Transmission – type of gearshift||6 speed manual transmission FWD|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h||6.5 secs|
|Max Speed||250 kmph|
Images by Brian Donegan :