Packed with high performance features and with plenty of va-va-vroom under the bonnet, this Ford Focus demands attention, says Kate Ginn
It has taken some time for the Ford Focus ST to make it to the Middle East. Teasingly released in car showrooms and forecourts elsewhere in the world, now it’s here and the wait has definitely been worth it.
To use motoring parlance, this car looks the business. Slip behind the wheel and you realise the promise is reached and exceeded, leaving similar cars in its class standing.
As you’d expected from a car in this category, the ST bristles with energy and growls like a big cat when in the mood to show off. My first proper grown-up car, when I could afford one, was a navy blue Ford Focus 1.8 Zetec, which went like a rocket and hugged corners like no other car I’ve driven since.
The ST is a more superior breed altogether, imbuing the driver with confidence on even the tightest of cornering.
Put it this way, this mean machine will take you up on the winding roads of Jebel Shams, for instance, without pausing for breath.
A lowered chassis, high performance brakes and unique suspension puts the driver in control with exceptional handling.
For extra reassurance, electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) allows acceleration while still maintaining grip on roads with uneven surfaces.
Ford says the precision steering allows you to ‘feel at one with the car’s mechanical soul.’ Put bluntly, this car likes to be driven hard and wants you to come along for the ride.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s fast? Very fast, in fact, roaring to 100kph in 6.5 seconds.
With a gaping mesh grille, dual-pipe exhaust, integrated roof spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels with a unique Y-design (we love the Y part!) and flared wheel arches, it looks mean, moody and beautiful.
If you want to make an even bolder statement and stand out from the crowd, go for the Tangerine Scream body colour. You can also choose to have this as an accent colour on your partial leather Recaro sports seats inside. The cockpit styling continues with the gauges and red needle pointers.
The voice-activated SYNC® system with a 4.2-inch screen keeps you informed while allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road – and concentrating on the serious pursuit of driving the ST.
MyFord Touch® makes it easy to ask for and get directions, make a call or listen to a text message. You can even ‘thumb’ through your music collection on the go. There’s a decent nine-speaker Sony audio system to play your favourite tunes, along with Bluetooth and iPod connectivity.
No car is perfect, of course, and the ST has a few minor niggles. Automatic transmission is not offered and the back is a little short on legroom, while the infotainment controls can take time to master.
But what are a few inches, shift gearstick and fiddly controls between friends? Buy the ST and you’ll be impressing old friends and making new ones faster than the acceleration.
Engine: 2.0L, four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed manual
0-100kph in 6.5 seconds
Price in UAE: AED99,000