Ford Focus ST 2.5 Review
Focusing and getting it all right

Andy Hum, Jon Ho, Zach Lee
7 Sep 2006
 

At first glance, one would hardly notice the subtle differences of the Focus ST, unless perhaps it’s coloured in Lamborghini Gallardo’s Orange. And although it also comes with Gallardo look-alike rims, its brakes and calipers don’t scream for your attention. Pop the bonnet open and you will see that it’s tightly packed with a lot of engine, but that’s because it IS a lot of engine for a car of its size.

Ford’s engineers have stuffed in the 2.5 litre turbocharged power plant from the S40, giving it a whopping 225 PS at 6000 rpm. But that’s not the point, because you won’t need 6000 rpm. Its inline-5 engine sends 320 Nm of torque, from 1600 – 4000 rpm, to its front wheels. And that might get the uninformed a tad bit worried. “Oh no! Front wheel drive! Understeer!” Yes, but only if you drive like a twit on the roads. Thankfully, they did not just throw in some “good ol’American Muscle” and then go on to market its quarter-mile timing. They also lowered the ride height by 15 mm, stiffened the spring rate by 30 percent, added an extra cross-member and also some more other technical specifications which I’m sure you can find in other sections on our website. The thing is, we want to tell you how good the car is to drive and not so much of how fast it gets to 100 km/h.

The ST’s handling is astoundingly impressive, so much that even in the wet and with five adult-little-boys in it, it gripped round the bends like a cat by the bathtub. As its operator, you will come to realise that this magnificent piece of machinery understands so well that the meat-sack driving it is to be pitied. Hence its superb traction control system, that gladly forgives your trespasses and prohibits you from getting into danger, its spot-on handling and a driving position which Oneshift’s G8 all agreed as being excellent. You really need not worry about understeering into a tree.

On the contrary, it is rather difficult to sum up the driving experience. Very agreeably, the steering is sharp and responsive, and there’s hardly any body roll. The feedback from the wheel is also adequate for you to sense some of the most minor anomalies on the road surface. And that is worlds apart from the driver’s seat, where the bumps are so well-absorbed; you won’t be suffering from an injured tailbone after a drive to the shops. In essence though, it actually means you can live with such a car – blitzing the roads on Saturdays (or whenever the wife is not in the car with you) and taking the family out on Sundays. And that brings me on to my next point - The Family.

The Focus is supposed to be a family car and the ST is, afterall, still a Focus. So one important factor, of course, would be whether your family likes it. At the moment, we can’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t. The clutch is not going to fight with your foot, so it’s remarkably simple to drive. Your children, if old enough, would also know what a cool dad they have. Seating space at the back is a little tight for three adults - there honestly isn’t very much leg room, which means long trips up north might get slightly uncomfortable for even the little ones.

One of the things this car is very good at is getting in the way. Don’t be confused, it’s because this car has got such a marvelous torque range, it lets you get in the way of people who are trying to block yours. Let me explain, almost all of us, whilst driving in Singapore, have encountered the problem of others not having enough courtesy to let us in their lane, despite having signaled. So what’s our solution? Well in the Focus ST, you could be cruising in third gear, at perhaps 50 km/h, and all you’d need to do is push your right foot a little harder to fit right in the available space. The first thing is, because the ST is a hatchback, it has no boot, and that means you could move straight in to a shorter gap. The second thing is, because it does not have any turbo-lag, and it has a colossal amount of torque for its weight, Toyota Crowns won’t be able to cause you to miss your turn-off.

And that brings me on to my next though - the colour. Honestly, when you are coming up behind someone, quite quickly, you would want that person to notice so as to not get in the way. So what better solution than to the get it in orange? One might think, “Oh it’s too flashy and bright, attracts too much attention.” Well, trust us, you’d be wrong. Having driven for an entire day, we were left somewhat disheartened from not receiving much envious stares from the male population, much less from their female counterparts, despite traversing almost all of Singapore. Even the valets at a certain prominent hotel in Orchard could not figure out why a few pesky men were trying to park their fat, orange car in their driveway for a few photos.

At the end of the day, this car really will leave a smile on your face, and that’s the most important thing. Ford has inevitably fitted this car with a standard spec – “impeccable driving experience”. The “Focus” on it is not so much of the model name as it is an instruction from Ford to what you should be doing – concentrating on the drive. This is a car that I would not hand over to a valet to park, simply because I would rather drive it that extra little bit more. Secondly, valets here would probably wet themselves after finding out for themselves what it’s capable of.


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Engine

Engine Capacity 2522cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 5
Power 220bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 320Nm @ 1600rpm
Power to Weight 158 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 6.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 243 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.8 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF

Measurements

Body Type 5 Door Hatch
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4362 x 1991 x 1497) mm
Wheelbase 2640 mm
Turning Circle 5.84 metres
Kerb Weight 1392 kg
Boot Capacity 385 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 55 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs