The Ford Focus ST.. loved by many.. loathed by many. What is so good, and 'bad' about these cars? What was wrong with the Ford Focus RS MK1? Why did they ask Volvo to 'squeeze' their perfectly capable 2.5 T into the Focus chassis?
I am afraid these, and many other questions are ones that will never be answered. While the Ford Focus ST is a great car, good engine, nice power delivery pre/post tuning - we should remember Ford build cars for the common man. Meaning, these cars are generally built to budget (look how popular the new Fiesta Ecoboost are, for example), and most faults will be written off by the manufacturer as bad luck.
Grumbling aside, I do like these cars. Maybe not so much the car but I love the Engine/ECU in these things. You can make ballistic power with some engine mods and upgrades. Personally I will stick to Software Tuning if I had one, and take into account minor modifications like Induction Kit, Downpipe and Sport Exhaust for customers. I am happy doing software modification only to my cars, and have consistently proven good results with software tuning only.
Despite the critics, or dare I say, ' the uneducated', I think these cars sit fine on the road. What we have is a large 2.5 Litre engine which many say unbalances the chassis. Okay - I have heard this a hundred times. The engine is large, and the weight of the ancillaries (turbo etc) make this a front heavy motor. My take on it is... why not 'learn' to drive it? So many people complain about this car, but if they learnt to drive I'm sure they would enjoy the car more. Here is an example - the Porsche 911 is a ridiculous concept. Engine, Gearbox, basically everything in the back and no weight up front. Do you know what Porsche 911 owners do (well.. ones who want to be better drivers) ? They LEARN how to drive the car. Whether you use a track, or do the occasional spirited drive and enjoy a few corners, you should learn to drive whatever vehicle you are in. I hear the same comments about the Vauxhall Astra VXR, so I will get one soon to test (completely standard) and get a review done! Back to this story..
I can't find any real issues with the chassis. Yes they suffer from body roll on corners (should you get the entry/exit balance wrong), but if you learn how to drive this chassis I don't think you'll have a problem. Those of you using a Laptop/PC (preferred method) to read these reviews will see me 'man-handling' the ST on a roundabout somewhere. I don't mind the chassis at all. Not sure if I would own one personally (maybe the three door is lighter) but when you drive the car with some gusto it isn't a terrible drive. The car must be mastered, not just 'driven' in a straight line by mouth-breathing illiterates. Ford have put a really good engine in these, and despite the liner faults and other issues it is a really intuitive machine in the right hands. I have to give the chassis a thumbs up.
Well it isn't a Picasso painting - but it is a functional Sports Hatchback suitable for working families who like a bit of fire under their right foot ;-) The shape of the car isn't too bad, and it definitely isn't an eyesore. Personally I would buy the 3 door model, and bare my pert buttocks to the general public if I had to let the kids in and out. Not enough people squat though, so maybe we should get off my derrière and move onto the next part..
Superb! Seriously impressive! This car has 277hp and 355ft/lbs of sheer ferocity, pounding into the tarmac with the strength of Hades! WTF is this thing! The road seems to 'part' in fear when I request full power - it is an absolute animal! The torque delivery makes me grip the steering wheel until my knuckles hurt - my god this is nuts! When Lewis (the owner) said the power was 277hp I completely ignored him, but asked him continuously for a couple of weeks what the torque figure was. I couldn't comprehend what he kept typing. Even when he showed me the dyno print I questioned it again.. My conscious mind wouldn't take in the numbers - although somewhere in the back of my brain it had registered 355ft/lbs too many times. Its disgusting. I can't tune people's cars this aggressively, and may have to consider being 'gentler' in future. This has to remain a one-off custom job, because I doubt many drivers could handle this raw torque increase in a FWD car.
There is a decat on this car (only modification). I can't stand the noise these things make with exhaust mods and don't actually remember what this particular car sounded like. I think my ears are immune to Ford Focus ST's now. The sound inside the cockpit is pretty sweet in standard form - with exhaust molestation it ruins the 5 Cylinder orchestration/induction note which is a shame. All in all this couldn't have been too offensive or I'd have remembered.
To end - these cars aren't all so bad. I wouldn't have a problem driving a 3 door model but with them coming in Manual Gearbox only, it wouldn't be long before I started complaining to friends about all the 'effort' and 'clutch' and 'oh god when will this journey end' because I am exhausted of Manual Gearboxes. I am old - please forgive me. Many thanks to Lewis Hepburn for letting me borrow his car for the review. I'm getting ready to start the next ;-)
Nicholas Lawrence //ON CARS
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