Ford Focus ST

It’s alright, individuals. In a globe of turmoil, we’re not quite seeing the upturning of everything we hold dear. Among the excellent constants is holding steadfast. The Ford warm hatch. Quick, available, useable, fun.

Below’s the brand-new generation of Emphasis ST. It’s practically all-new, however cleaves faithfully to those values.

The heart of the range is a five-door hatch, now moved by a rollicking 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine. Scaling down be damned, this has really been upsized. It begins life with a six-speed manual, although an optional seven-speed vehicle arrives a couple of months into its life. As well as you can have a diesel, and/or an estate. We’ll check out why you might wish to, and also may not, later on in this review.

Serious-minded engineering has gone on under the skin. However the skin itself doesn’t fairly promote the reality. It’s barely different from a regular one-litre Emphasis ST-Line. The optional 19-inch wheels do aid, and the decreased suspension too. However actually the new Focus’s panels are too billowy for the road-sucking stance and also taut objective we want in a hot hatch.

That engineering consists of an actual electronically controlled limited-slip diff on the gasoline version– not merely brake control of a slipping wheel (though it has that also). And adaptive damping is basic on the gas hatch, optional on the diesel. Although it’s not available in the estate, which has a various rear suspension style to liberate a bigger boot.

The brake servo is energised by an electrical pump, so can make up for fade when you’re going all out on a track, or down a mountain pass. Suspension is certainly reduced (-10 mm) and also tensed as well as supported by 18- or 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport four tyres. The guiding is quicker too.

No sporty auto nowadays can have any self-esteem without a mode switch, as well as here it’s installed on the guiding wheel. Choices: ‘slippery/wet’, ‘regular’, ‘sport’ as well as (if you have actually the optional Performance Pack) ‘track’. It influences the normal stuff: strangle map, ESP threshold, audio improvement.

Since the gas’s diff is electrically controlled, you also get more lock-up (as well as for this reason more torque-steer) in the sporting activity and track mode. The new servo also permits sharper brake reaction in the upper settings. And although the dampers are flexible in all the Emphasis ST hatchbacks, they do not have various programmes unless you get the Efficiency Pack, when you obtain a more keenly-damped cars and truck by ramping up the setting.

The 2.3-litre engine is connected to the old Emphasis RS unit. But it gets updates for better reaction– not constantly totally successful. Here it makes 276bhp, which places it right in the meat of the hot hatch market. The torque figure is more striking, a slightly impressive 310lb feet, reached at 1,800 rpm. There continues to be no alternative to cubes.

That torque figure in fact beats even the diesel variation’s 295lb ft. And also if you remain in the diesel you have to content yourself with 187bhp peak power. It’s clear this is certainly the second-string powertrain, even if Ford pleads that this ST diesel is actually much more effective and also two times as torquey as the initial Focus ST170. Incidentally, in line with the spirit of the age, the diesel isn’t called a diesel. It has no external badges, and also the catalog calls it EcoBlue.

” A fantastic day-to-day proposition, a hot hatch that’s very easy to cope with. Mainly completely”
Excellent hot hatches are wonderful cars to have, as well as this shows why. Maybe a Golf is much more satisfying inside, a Megane much more immediate, an i30N much more rumbustious, a Civic Type R simple madder. But this Emphasis rolls a load of long-lasting tourist attraction right into the plan. And it’s well-appointed, both in the important things that make a great hatch, and also the things that make a great warm one (diff, dampers, modes).

Its difficulty, maybe, is that it does the daily points also well– it really feels too normal the majority of the moment. It looks too much like a Focus rep-car, and doesn’t quite open the home window of driving excitement till you’re working it into an appropriate sweat.