9 months ago

Selwyn Times: July 19, 2016 My My Kaywa QR-Code 36 Tuesday July 19 2016 Motoring SELWYN TIMES Ford Focus ST a worthy compromise • By Ross Kiddie I’VE LONG desired a 70s two-door Ford Escort, it’s a car I thought would be a good retirement project, but I’m a victim of skyrocketing classic car prices and decreased availability. The latter could be true of other fast Ford fans, New Zealand’s quota of the recently-released Focus RS has been exhausted, the 257kW, four-wheel-drive model is hot property and, by all accounts, deservedly so, as it is a true performance machine. However, Ford has another hot Focus, it is the ST and would suffice for those who want good performance at a price that is considerably more favourable than that of the RS. At $52,840 the Focus ST is affordable, and although its performance isn’t as great as the RS, it equips itself well with 184kW, and 360Nm providing the power for a 6.6sec standstill to 100km/h time. Power is directed through a sixspeed manual transmission and is a front-wheel-drive model only, and while it certainly fits into the hot hatchback category, it has four-doors offering the practicality the Focus has as a series. The ST gets a turbocharged, twin-camshaft engine which gets about its job with strong engine sound and character. I’m not saying it is noisy, it’s not, the sound is well isolated but it is there to be heard, the engine is angry under load and it is a sound that encourages throttle use, it is pleasant to listen to. The Focus ST is quick through a corner, grippy tyres (Good Year Eagle F1, 225/40 x 18in) turn in precisely with little steering effort. If more lock is required you can rely on the tyres to bite and maintain direction. Sitting low, the Focus doesn’t move around on the suspension, therefore gravitational changes don’t load the tyres, nor does it affect the way the suspension operates in a corner; if uneven surfaces are encountered there is composure and certainty within the steering process. I took the test car on a Summit Rd loop, they are perfect roads for a performance car. English Fords have generally been regarded as having supple chassis balance and the ST doesn’t disappoint. It also rockets between corners with a powerful surge and swift retardation thanks to a performance brake package, through the corners it has balance and accuracy akin to a true sports hatchback. There is a bit of torque steer under load, it’s not dramatic but it is there to remind there is a lot of power heading out the front FORD FOCUS ST: High power engine. end. It doesn’t bother me, I like to be reminded there is something special under the bonnet and the high power flows are there to entice the driver, everything about the Focus ST is structured for performance. The hatchback also embodies the spirit of Ford’s Focus, the ST is still the handy five-seater which pleases in the everyday role as well, but any prospective buyer should be prepared to be noticed. The ST stands out with its bold wheels, body kit and spoiler, while on the inside Recaro seats not only support the driver around the mid-riff, but they are visual. The test car was painted bright yellow, well, Ford call it tangerine, and the inside detailing incorporated splashes of yellow as well. The Focus ST is a fun package and it comes extensively equipped with all of the items you’d expect today for comfort and convenience, and safety. Ford claim a 6.7l/100km (42mpg) combined cycle fuel usage average for the ST. Obviously, I didn’t push as hard as I could have done because the trip computer was showing around 8l/100km (35mpg), when I took the car back to the dealership. It will also return a 5.6l/100kmn (50mpg) instantaneous reading at 100km/h (engine speed 2200rpm), • Price – Ford Focus ST, $52,840 • Dimensions – Length, 4362mm; width, 1823mm; height, 1471mm • Configuration: Fourcylinder, front-wheel-drive, 2000cc, 184kW, 360Nm, six-speed manual. • Performance – 0-100km/h, 6.2sec • Fuel usage– 6.7l/100km which means you can have some fun without scoffing vast amounts of fuel. I’ve long appreciated Ford’s sporty cars which aren’t out of reach for buyers who want a little bit of performance with their purchase. I also relate well to the Volvo-powered five-cylinder Focus Turbo which, for a long period, was one of my favourite fast Fords. Sadly, Ford don’t use that engine any more, however, that aside, the Ecoboost series that makes up a large part of the Ford power plants today is widely recognised for its efficiency and performance. I guess I’ll always mourn parting with my old Escort Sport and envy those who I know have one parked in their garage today. 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