It’s looking like Ford has built something special with their new Focus ST. All of the reviews I’ve read so far have picked the ST over the standard benchmark of the hot hatch class, the Volkswagen GTI. The new Focus has a 2.0 liter direct injection EcoBoost engine that puts out 250 horsepower and 26 mpg combined. With a base MSRP of $23,700, the new ST achieves a phenomenal balance of sportiness, practicality and frugality that defines all hot hatches. Chris Harris’s latest video puts the Ford Focus ST up against a couple of Europe’s best hot hatch offerings, the Renaultsport Megane RS and the Vauxhall Astra VXR. He mentions that the test is a little unfair to the Focus because the other two cars are halo models more appropriate for the Focus RS. It ultimately works out for the ST because it manages to hold it’s own while punching above its weight class. The review starts out with seeing how the cars perform on British B-Roads and then ends with a lap around a pretty technical track. All of the driving was down in wet conditions.
The most useful bit of footage is watching Harris throw the cars around the track. All three cars dance around the turns without ever pushing into understeer which is a prominent problem with high power front wheel drive cars. The overall chassis balance on all the cars is well done with “mobile rear axles.” The key to great front wheel drive grip is a stiff rear anti-roll bar. This lifts the inside rear wheel on corner entry which drives the outside front wheel into the tarmac giving it a bit more grip and preventing dreaded understeer. You can really see this working in the Focus ST since it has more of a daily driver soft suspension when compared to the other two track focused cars. I’d say the Focus ST is the Ford product that I’d be most likely to buy new until they come out with a Mustang with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6.
Source: DRIVE on YouTube