Ford’s much applauded Focus ST will arrive on Australian soil from October with a razor sharp pricing to take on perennial hot hatch favourite, the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
Available exclusively as a five-door hatch at this stage, the latest hot Focus has dropped its Australian XR5 badge and adopted the European moniker of ST – in-line with Ford’s ‘One Ford’ approach.
Priced from A$38,290, it undercuts the 3-door Golf GTI by A$700.
The new Focus ST is equipped with a 184kW 2.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine that delivers 360Nm of torque while returning 7.4/100km. CO2 emissions are rated at 172g/km. It is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
A suit of new technology has been developed for the ST to provide better drivability and enjoyment, including a new Sport Steering System with variable ratio steering rack that helps reduce steering sensitivity in a straight line but increases sensitivity when cornering. Torque steer, a bug bear of many front wheel drive hot hatches, is managed by the Electronic Power Assisted Steering that is specially calibrated for the new Focus ST. It detects and counters torque steer via a more aggressively pitched version of Ford’s Torque Steer Compensation (TSC).
The car’s Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) comes in three settings – normal, traction control off with DSC activating only when absolutely necessary, and finally, DSC off.
Like its archrival, the Golf GTI, the Focus ST also features Torque Vectoring Control (TVC). The system applies brake torque to the inner wheel through a corner to help reduce understeer. Another electronic trickery to aid traction is the Cornering Under Steer Control (CUSC). It applies torque to create yaw torque based on the vehicle’s understeer behaviour prior to DSC, both in power-on and power-off conditions.
The Focus ST sits 10mm lower compared to other Focus in the range and rites on 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in specially developed Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres. The uprated suspension knuckles and an all-new anti-roll bar design aims to provide better feedback and control.
Standard features on the latest ST include dual zone climate control with cabin filter, Thatcham alarm, ST spoiler, automatic Bi-Xenon headlights, auto-dimming rear view mirror and rain sensing wipers.
Inside, the hot hatch cacoons the driver and front passenger with a pair of partial leather Recaro seats with cloth inserts matched to the exterior colour.