2014 Ford Focus ST Review

today we’re taking a look at the 2014 Ford Focus ST this is Ford’s hot hatchback designed to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI as well as the forthcoming and rumored at this point mazdaspeed3 Mazda hasn’t confirmed that there is going to be a mazdaspeed3 but they haven’t been denying it either one thing to keep in mind is that 2015 brings an all new Volkswagen GTI so
they’ll be talking mostly about the

current 2013 volkswagen GTI but we will
comment when applicable about that new 2015 model hot hatches are about looking fast as well as going fast so what Ford did up front was they put an entirely new front end on the ST model it has this enormous large black egg-crate grille with an ST badge right here we have HID headlamps available in the top-end Focus ST trim and overall I think this front end looks very aggressive and very attractive I have met a decent number of people that don’t like this front end however so if that’s you then be sure and comment in the
comment section down below would love to

hear what you think about this but
overall I think that this design is very attractive one thing that I found a little bit odd however is the fitment of this hood and this front bumper this quite a large gap there I think that’s intentional for cooling because all the other lines match correctly on the hood of the Ford Focus but it’s just a little bit interesting right there powering the Ford Focus ST is a 2-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder turbo engine this engine produces 247 horsepower and 266 pounds feet of torque from 1570 rpm so it’s a fairly low rpm where the torque starts this engine continues well up into the 5,000 rpm range that’s 50 more horsepower approximately than the current generation Volkswagen GTI now the 2015 GT I gets a torque as well as a
horsepower boost but it doesn’t really

increase the horsepower to be
competitive with this it’s still going to be about 230 horsepower shy and still about 10 pound feet of torque less power is right into the front wheels only via close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission very much like the Volkswagen GTI instead of a limited slip differential or a Revo knuckle which is what Ford uses in their large sedans to help reduce torque steer Ford has instead programmed the power steering system to basically remove some of the assists in the direction that the steering wheel is turning when you experience torque steer in this car it’s not quite as effective as some other methods of limiting torque steer but it is an awful lot lighter so do keep that in mind the GTI does torque steer just a little

bit less out on the road than this Focus

ST – my eye the focus has always had a very attractive side profile and that continues with the Focus ST because there haven’t been many substantive changes for ST duty we do get these unique 18-inch wheels on our particular model shod in eagle f1 asymmetric tires which are a perennial favorite of mine we do get a ride height that’s lowered about 4/10 of an inch versus that standard focus outback the changes are relatively subtle we have an ST badge right here indicating that something wicked this way comes we have a new lower bumper with this very attractive infinity shaped exhaust tip I really think that’s one of the better touches on the Ford Focus ST and then up here we have a different kind of spoiler hatchback focuses can have a spoiler but this one actually has two vents on it right here to help increase downforce in the rear very much like the Volkswagen

GTI the Ford Focus ST is full of very
nice little touches one of them is this fuel door strangely enough it’s variable integrated into the bodywork in the back instead of having a square hatch or a round hatch on the side of the focus front seat comfort in the Focus ST is excellent thanks to these Recaro sport seats that are part of the esti package they aren’t powered but we do have a multi-way manual adjustability the adjuster recline height via this lever and then we can slide them forward and backward via that lever right there we also get this tilt telescoping steering wheel with a decent range of motion one thing to keep in mind is that these Recaro seats don’t have any adjustable lumbar support it is fairly exaggerated but it is fixed that’s good for my back but it may not be good for yours I found these seats to

be very comfortable for long car trips

but one thing to keep in mind is that because they are severely bolstered both on the seat bottom as well as the seat back they may not be suitable for larger drivers the focus is not a terribly big vehicle so you shouldn’t expect a lot of leg room in the back and definitely we’re not getting a whole lot this front seats adjusted for me at 6 feet tall and I do tend to like to sit in a fairly upright and fairly far forward position especially when I’m driving a manual transmission vehicle I still have a few inches of legroom left there but if I try and move over to this right seat well not only does my shoe get stuck there but this front seat was adjusted for a six foot five passenger I had in the vehicle so you can see my knees are digging well into that seat back still these rear seats are very comfortable and the seat bottom cushion is not terribly close to the floor which I do really care for because it’s an awful
lot more comfortable for adults

the rear seats in the focus fold but
they don’t fold completely flat with the load floor that is one thing to keep in mind also another thing to keep in mind is that this middle seat is fairly small the car isn’t terribly wide but I still have a decent amount of headroom left thanks to the hatchback form of the Focus we scored 7 out of 10 points in our exclusive trunk comfort index because things are finished very nicely back here it’s also fairly large for a vehicle of this type one thing to note is that if you opt for this optional sony audio system it does remove a little bit of trunk space because the subwoofer has to go somewhere underneath this hatch we get a little bit of additional storage as well as the
amplifier for that sony audio system and

a doughnut spare tire we have this fixed
tonneau cover right here but one additional nice touch about this trunk lid is that there’s a handle on both the right and the left side let’s take a quick spin around the interior we do have height adjustable seat belts there for the front passenger as well as the driver these Recaro seats are very comfortable but these headrests are not adjustable forward and backward they’re only adjustable up and down so they may hit your head in kind of a strange position do spend a decent amount of time there as you can see as I said before they are fairly severely bolstered there on the sides as well as the bottom you can get these seats in either a single color or in this dual tone effect I do like the 2 color look it is very attractive like the regular focus we do have a decent amount of hard plastics going on hard plastics surround the door handle right there leaving the soft touch plastics really – just the door upper as well as the armrest portion of the door over on the dashboard we have a soft touch dashboard right here with a fairly decently sized glovebox below it now these side air vents don’t open and close but these Center air vents do with this little knob right here and another nice touch with the Ford Focus all Ford Focus models is that if you move this air vent
down to its lowest position like that

then it sends air through these little
vents right here under this portion of the dashboard down towards your legs part of the Focus ST package are these three additional gauges right in the center of the vehicle we have oil temperature boost pressure as well as oil pressure we zoom out and then move down the dashboard we have our touchscreen MyFord Touch infotainment system if you want to know more about that then go ahead and click the infotainment link right down there at the bottom of your video and we’ll send you off to our infotainment video these are the controls for that Sony infotainment system if you don’t on for the touchscreen navigation system we get a standard radio system with regular old push buttons down here we have dual zone climate control we have our six-speed manual transmission shifter parking brake two large cup holders and a fairly decently sized center armrest this Armus has a lot of receipts in it right now but it is where you’ll find your my Ford touch two USB input there behind the steering wheel we have the basic four dials over here tachometer fuel level engine temperature as well as our speed over there and we have this for point to

edge information screen does our trip
odometer our trip computer information this little slide shows you if your lights are on on the vehicle or any doors are open and it also displays some navigation directions if you have a navigation destination entered into that MyFord Touch navigation system if we move out to the steering wheel you’ll notice that the steering wheel is not as luxurious as something like a Volkswagen GTI a lot of cars in this class you know Honda’s as well as Volkswagens tend to go with split grain leather and we aren’t getting that in the Ford we’re getting full grain leather one thing to note is this is probably going to be more durable than a split grain leather steering wheel just doesn’t feel quite as nice these little buttons over here control that multi-information display in the center of the instrument cluster we have our cruise control buttons over here we have our my Ford touch control buttons down here these are programmable shortcut buttons phone buttons voice command button track forward backward mute and volume up and down the first thing you need to know about hot hatches

on the road is that they’re not fast and

I know that’s gonna offend a number of people but in the American market zero to 60 in around six seconds is not fast it is however quick if you want something fast you’re going to get something like an m3 or an m5 or anything in that five two second five to four second range or so six seconds is acceptable it’s definitely quick however it’s right in line with something like a Volkswagen GTI as well as the old mazdaspeed3 the next thing you need to know about these is that they are front-wheel drive and that means there’s a decent amount of torque steer going on if you like that then that’s great and I actually happen to find torque steer fairly amusing but if you dislike torque steer then again you’re going to need to spend your thirty thousand dollars on something like a entry-level BMW something like an X 1 that’s rear-wheel drive or BMW 1-series which have now renamed the two series now about that torque steer as I said Ford did not include a limited slip differential or their Revo knuckle in the Ford Focus s team the Revo knuckle is not here because of weight it adds weight it also

reduces steering feel although it does

have the effect of counteracting torque steer so instead they’ve just done that electric power steering tweak so it reduces boost when it feels the car pulling one direction or another does it work no not really we still have a decent amount of torques to here this thing still torque steers like a banshee around corners but it is an awful lot of fun and I actually like torque steer not that I wanted all the time but I do find it entertaining I do find it a little bit challenging to control and so it’s sort of a technical exercise I do find it quite amusing in a vehicle like this the Focus ST does torque steer more than something like a Volkswagen GTI but a little bit less than the previous generation mazdaspeed3 quite similarly the manners of the Ford Focus ST are kind of in between the mazdaspeed3 and the Volkswagen GTI this doesn’t feel quite as civilised out on the road as the GTI I think that’s something that I kind of like it feels just a slightly rough around the edges the steering is incredibly precise this thing handles very well but when you lose grip you do

so with the rear end swinging out just a
little bit more than something like a Volkswagen GTI which just is very neutral in its handling characteristics and corners so it just takes a little bit more skill to handle the Focus ST around a track but on the flipside you get a little bit more enjoyment out of it than you would in something like a GTI there’s also an awful lot more power going on here in the Focus ST and that is really something that you notice out on the road versus something like a GTI almost 50 more horsepower out of this engine about 50 pound feet of torque more as well it’s a decent amount of power going through the front wheels and if you’ve ever wondered why front-wheel drive hot hatches don’t have more power the answer is this is about all that you can as you’re accelerating to 60 in the Focus ST you don’t get much Cowell sake and that’s because this chassis is fairly stiff and the suspension is very well designed there really haven’t been very many changes for st duty other than that engine a slightly lowered ride height and a few gentle tweaks the dampers Springs etc and that’s just really testament to how good the regular focus is out on the road so if you have a focus and you want to tweak it up to something like a Focus ST it’s not exactly that hard but it is still a better value of course than tweaking your regular focus it’s just more of a
testament to how good the regular focus

is out on the road then this st in some

ways this close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is a very willing partner out on these winding mountain roads as is this turbocharged engine you can leave this in fifth or sixth gear and because of all this low-end torque you can really drive it around almost like it wasn’t automatic by just leaving it in the gear and just using that torque in the turbocharger to help get you up the hill the clutch pedal has a very nice precise engagement it’s not overly grabby and neither are the brakes that is one thing that I definitely like about this something that I’ve found a little bit of Fault in in the Volkswagen GTI and the Massa speed 3 so I found their brakes to be just a little bit grabby at the beginning of their engagement these are very linear very progressive they do have a decent amount of power behind them so you can get near lockup in these brakes course the ABS is going to take a care of actual lockup but you can get there at the very end of the travel with a decent amount of effort but it’s very linear and you know where that engagement is going to happen where I’d quality in the Focus ST is obviously a slight downside if you’re looking for something a little bit more comfortable out on the road but it’s not as bad as it could be it’s right in there with the rest of the competition we have fairly firm springs fairly firm seats as well so if you’re routinely driving on potholed roads or long car trips this could get a little bit tiring Ford did allow me to drive this car down
to the Los Angeles Auto Show you may

have seen some of that coverage earlier

last week but overall this wasn’t that bad of a car for a road trip as long as the road surfaces aren’t terribly rough in terms of cabin quietness we scored 76 to about 77 decibels in this car which makes us among the louder options in this segment one thing that tempers the cabin noise is the engine exhaust note in this car and that’s because it has an active sound system it’s not a digital sound system like you’d find in a current BMW M product instead this just sort of opens up a butterfly valve to allow a little bit more engine noise to come through the cabin and it does so at very opportune moments mostly when it’s at or near full throttle rather than all the time across the RPM range it’s a very good thing because for the most part the Focus ST sounds very grown-up very adult not at all like a Fiat 500 Abarth which I found to be just a little bit too boyracer all the time and this only has that sort of four-cylinder growl going on when you floor the car when you want to in terms of grip the Focus ST is very similar to the Volkswagen GTI just with that slightly different character as I said we can thank the rubber choice for that mostly these eagle f1 asymmetric tires are pretty good tires I’ve actually owned them on my own cars several times and I do like the way that they wear all the way around as well as the way that they perform they were a
very good tire choice by Ford and they

really helped in the Focus ST is

handling it’s difficult for us to really compare this with the Volkswagen GTI perfectly directly for the 2014 model year because the GTI is coming back as a 2015 model with a little bit more power and a little bit of additional refinement there are a few things we can guesstimate however I’m going to assume that the Volkswagen GTI is still a fairly civilized ride because it would be very unfocused wegen to create a more hardcore unrefined vehicle that’s just not what Volkswagen seems to do the other thing we can assume is that it’s going to be a little bit closer to this Focus ST in terms of performance because it does get a power bump as well as a significant torque bump for this year putting it a little bit closer to the engine in this Focus ST it’s not any lighter than the focus however so absolute performance numbers will probably still be down to this Focus ST in terms of straight line performance 0 to 60 the GTI has always had it very well tuned chassis and I expect that to definitely continue up I’m probably going to rank that a little bit more civilized than this Focus ST in terms of ride quality also that wind will probably go to the Volkswagen GTI it has historically been just a little bit more civilised a little bit softer a little bit smoother out on the road than the Focus ST so it really just depends on how you like to have your fun although I normally would come down on the side of

greater refinement I find the Focus ST

z’ charms to be it’s rough around the
edges driving nature the way this engine behaves the fact that there’s a little bit of turbo delay in this car is a little bit of turbo lag but then the power comes on really strong and sort of sets you back in your seat and sometimes upsets the ride just a little bit especially in corners but I find that very predictable and in kind of a in sort of a you know rough charm kind of way small turbocharged engines are usually good for fuel economy that’s definitely true in this car as well we’ve been averaging about 26 miles per gallon in 1,200 miles of very mixed driving although I’m not sure that I would compare the Focus ST or the GTI directly with something like a Hyundai Veloster I know that a lot of shoppers will probably do that I have received a number of comments on that on our Facebook page but I’m not sure that they’re really in the same vein the velociter doesn’t feel quite as grown-up as either the GTI or the Focus ST it feels a lot more rough around the edges the chassis is not as stiff either it feels more like a wet noodle out on the road I don’t think it’s bad overall but it just doesn’t seem quite as refined or quite as well thought-out as either the focus or the Volkswagen GTI pricing for the Focus ST starts at 23 thousand seven hundred dollars and if you load your focus all the way up with things like the navigation system HID headlamps etc as well as this tangerine screen paint job which is a $600 option you end up at twenty eight thousand four hundred thirty dollars our model as tested right here is twenty seven thousand one hundred seventy five dollars because there are a few option

boxes that were not checked that’s
thirteen hundred dollars less than a Volkswagen GTI starting price and when fully optioned twenty-eight thousand four thirty is still less than a completely loaded Volkswagen GTI that means that the Ford Focus ST represents a good value when you compare it to something like a Volkswagen GTI and I expect that to continue through 2015 with the new GTI coming out I don’t expect it to be priced any less than this Ford Focus ST I normally love the good deal so does that mean that this Ford Focus ST is my preference in this particular segment it is but it’s not necessarily just because of value I actually like the fact that the Ford Focus is a little rough around the edges when you compare it to the Volkswagen GTI it’s a little bit more fun out on the road it’s a little bit more lively just slightly less predictable it also has a decent amount more power than that Volkswagen GTI which is really obvious out on the road I’m not exactly sure what 2015 will bring with the Volkswagen GTI so there is a possibility that 2015 may sway my opinion back in favor of that Volkswagen because I do tend to like softer more luxurious vehicles rather than harder vehicles especially slightly less civilized vehicles but at the moment there’s just something about the Ford Focus ST that makes me smile when I Drive it something that doesn’t quite happen with the Volkswagen GTI my bottom line with the Ford Focus ST is that this is definitely a car that I would buy it’s also kind of in my price range thanks for watching this video be sure and comment in the comment section down below and click that subscribe banner so you can be updated on all of our latest reviews including the upcoming Cadillac CTS which we’ll have for you next week

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