• Welcome to SVT Performance!

SVTP Reviews The Ford Focus ST : EcoBoost Power For All

Discussion in 'Front Page Articles' started by SID297, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC



    [​IMG]


    While we were in Detroit for the 2013 North American International Auto Show Ford gave us the opportunity to sample their latest offering in the “hot-hatch” compact car market, the Focus ST. I have been anxious to get behind the wheel of an ST since Ford announced its specs (2.0L EcoBoost, [email protected], and [email protected]). Add to that the fact that Detroit is a great setting to test out the new hi-po Focus. Just as the new Focus as brought new life and invigoration to Ford’s car lineup, the city of Detroit has seen somewhat of a resurgence in the past few years due to the strengthening domestic auto industry, young entrepreneurs, and artists willing to take a chance on a blighted area. Detroit offered a great mix of roads and driving conditions to really put the ST through the paces.

    My first glimpse of the ST I would be testing was in a dark, cold, rainy airport parking lot. She was instantly identifiable by her Tangerine Scream yellow paint. The styling is bold, and instantly lets you know this isn’t just an average Focus. Key in hand I sat down into the cloth trimmed Recaro seats where I then took a few minutes to figure out how to start the engine. Embarrassingly, this is my first real experience dealing with a push-to-start button ignition system. After I figured out where the button was located I depressed it (no, not by reading it posts from the politics forum) and the engine fired right up. It’s surprising how tame the car sounds. It’s deceptive considering its true capabilities.

    The deception doesn’t stop there; it also extends to the clutch and transmission. Perhaps I’m just used to the cantankerous MT-82 tranny in the SVTP 2012 GT, but I was blown away by how easy it is to drive the Focus ST smoothly. In the Mustang I struggle to disengage the clutch and pull out in a smooth manner. I usually end up feeling like a 13-year old just learning how to drive a standard. Behind the wheel of the Focus the experience is the exact opposite. I have never driven a manual tranny car that could be driven that smoothly. It really feels like a person who has never driven a manual could just get in and go. The clutch engages perfectly every time. I even tried to “greenhorn” the car on purpose and had to drive like a complete idiot to get it to stall. The ST’s shifter for its 6-speed tranny is a bit vague (sloppy and with no notice that you're in gear until you hit the wall) and the throw is longer than I care for, but it is extremely precise and I never had the least worry of missing a gear. An aftermarket shifter would likely shorten the throws and make the shifts fill much more crisp.

    I had a bit of trouble getting used to the brakes. They feel great and stop the small car very well, but they are very touchy at low speeds. I had to drive the car for a while before I ceased making unintentional abrupt stops while navigating parking lots. Once I became accustomed to the ST’s binders I couldn’t imagine having to deal with the spongy brakes in my old Jeep again. The braking system is robust enough to bring the ST’s ~3,200lb body to a stop in a short distance with excellent repeatability. I would be really interested in getting this Focus out on a track like VIR with some nice sticky tires. I believe it would feel right at home there.

    Probably the most surprising aspect of the ST driving experience is the shear abundance of torque from the little 2.0L engine. I knew that with 270lbft bone stock the car was going to feel pretty stout, what I wasn’t expecting was how strong the 4-banger felt when out of the boost. Even at low engine speeds with low boost I was never left disappointed in torque production like I often am with smaller engined cars. The combination of an advanced Borg-Warner turbo, high-pressure direct fuel injection, and a healthy 9.3:1 compression ratio adds up to make an engine that feels much larger than a mere 2.0 liters. The aluminum mill just pulls much harder than a four-cylinder should, and it keeps pulling throughout the entire RPM range. I really want to experience one of these cars with some mods, especially a tune.

    Another pleasant surprise was the lack of torque steer. Even with the ST’s engine making peak torque at an extremely low (for a four-cylinder) 2500RPM there we really didn’t have to contend with very much torque steer. What I did experience was a bit of wheel hop, but Ford had equipped our test car with snow tires so I can’t really say how the car would react with the stock tires. Also, for a performance oriented car the ST has very little road noise. Wind, tire, and exhaust noise are all very tame. The exhaust only makes its presence known when you’re feeding in a bit of throttle. Thankfully, the exhaust has a pleasantly deep tone (as deep as can be expected from a 2.0L engine) that manages to avoid the typical 4-cylinder pissed-off weed eater sound.

    The steering is so quick and precise you’d swear that you were driving the car with telepathy. It has an excellent heavy feel to it that lets you know this is a serious performance car. Couple that with the extra thick steering wheel and you get one of the best driving experiences for the money anywhere. Even with the snow tires Ford installed on the car the ST is incredibly nimble. The lightning quick steering and the prodigious grip from the sport tuned suspension combine to give a fantastic driving experience. The car is much lighter on its feet and sorted around turns, especially those with bumps, than the SVTP 2012 GT. No one could have been more surprised than me to discover just how far superior the Focus ST’s handling feels compared to a Brembo package equipped Mustang GT. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the ST on-road (daily) driving experience surpasses a Mustang GT in every way except for one, power. While the ST powertrain is stout it is no match for 5.0L V8 torque.

    Another thing that I’m highly pleased by is Ford’s decision to give the ST actual functional gauges for oil temperature, oil pressure, and boost pressure. It’s nice to have gauges that actually move and represent the factors they are intended to measure than the ubiquitous dummy gauges we have sadly become accustomed to over the past several years.

    The Focus ST must have been built with cold weather in mind, because it excels in it. The small all aluminum engine heats up very quickly to help prevent the car’s occupants from contracting hypothermia on cold Detroit winter mornings. Ford packed the ST with cold weather combating goodies like optional heated seats and a nifty “Max Heat Button.” With one press of that button the temperature is set to maximum heat, the fan speed is set to maximum, and I believe the zone is set to defrost. It’s a handy feature than makes things a bit simpler when starting your morning commute.

    Our test car was equipped with the ST2 package and came nicely equipped, but for the bit of added cost I would definitely go for the ST3 package. I’m a big fan of HID headlamps and you have to tic of the ST3 option box to get that upgrade. To me, that feature alone is worth the price of the package upgrade. During our time with the car we managed to average about 28 MPG, which including lots of “spirited” driving. In total we had the ST for five days and by the time we had turn it back in I was already contacting dealers and shopping for one for SVTP. If that’s not a vote of confidence in a car I don’t know what is. To those who think “It’s just a Focus.”, or “No one will buy a $30,000 Focus” I’m here to tell you that you should rethink that position. It’s akin to saying that a GT500 and a V6 Mustang are the same thing. You really need to get behind the wheel of an ST and give it a proper test drive, it’s an amazing car. Here’s to hoping we see a lot more of the Focus ST on SVTP in the very near future. Until then, enjoy these pics from our journey:



    We made a stop by The Henry Ford Museum on our journey. The ST's stance is sporty, but with a set of Ford Racing springs it could probably be made even better.

    [​IMG]


    If I were buying an ST I would spring for the ST3 package just to get the HID headlamps.

    [​IMG]


    Remember what I said about cold Detroit mornings?

    [​IMG]


    This is one of them.

    [​IMG]


    Here's the proof.

    [​IMG]


    The center display screen in the ST monitors lots of parameters, and even interfaces with the navigation system to let you know the next turn to take.

    [​IMG]


    Accurate engine info at a glance. Ford should put a gauge set like this in every car they make. A few more numbers on them would be appreciated though.

    [​IMG]


    The center stack in our ST2 package equipped car was very cleanly designed and easy to use.

    [​IMG]


    The interior panels are well put together and made of quality materials.

    [​IMG]


    One touch up and down buttons are one of my favorite additions to Ford vehicles over the past few years.

    [​IMG]


    The leather and cloth trimmed seats found in the ST2 package are both comfortable and stylish. They really hold you in place during high-speed cornering.

    [​IMG]


    The rear seat has enough room to haul two adults around for a reasonable period of time with a minimum of complaints.

    [​IMG]


    The Focus ST has little cubbyholes all over the place to store random things, such as worthless shares of old GM stock. We may have gotten the seat a little dirty with some luggage....:uh oh:

    [​IMG]


    How does the clutch on the ST work so well while the stock one in an MT-82 feels like it came out of a 1982 Datsun truck.

    [​IMG]


    I like the trend I'm seeing of adding more media ports. The navigation files are store on the sd card in the canter. I hope Ford adds an A/C outlet sometime soon.

    [​IMG]


    The unique ST exhaust tip is a great looking piece.

    [​IMG]


    It looks sort of sinister with white smoke pouring out of it.

    [​IMG]


    Fearing a winter storm, Ford was nice enough to equip our test ST with this set of snow tires.

    [​IMG]


    Ford equips the ST with 18" aluminum wheels and 12.6" front brakes.

    [​IMG]


    As with most modern engines, the ST engine is not all that pretty. However, I do like the engine cover they have in place.

    [​IMG]


    In case you forget what kind of car you're driving Ford sprinkled these handsome "ST" badges about the car.

    [​IMG]


    If you look in just the right spot you can see the ST"s high pressure fuel pump. If you listen closely with the hood up and engine running you'll notice a very slight diesel engine ticking sound from the injection system.

    [​IMG]


    I'm glad to see Ford using these high quality o-ring sealed snap-ring fastened coolant hoses. These are the type of heavy-duty hoses used on the Powerstroke diesel.

    [​IMG]


    Another welcome sight is the switch to Ford's new Orange/Red coolant. The Ford Gold Coolant can have its additive pack precipitate out of the solution as a solid and can cause many engine problems. The new coolant does not contain the silicates that have a tendency to precipitate out.

    [​IMG]


    The cowl air intakes look like speaker grilles.

    [​IMG]


    The ST's front fascia is aggressive and sporty. It looks a lot like Ford's rally cars.

    [​IMG]


    This ST badge has become an icon of performance in Europe. I feel it will gain the same notoriety in the US.

    [​IMG]


    The cargo area is spacious and the rear seats fold flat for even more cargo capacity.

    [​IMG]


    The 10-speaker Sony stereo in our test car sounded great. Over the past decade the OEMs increasing audio quality has decimated the stereo aftermarket industry. The quality of the ST's audio system is superb.

    [​IMG]


    Amplifier for the stereo?

    [​IMG]


    Ford gives you actual spare tire, not a cheap "may-pop".

    [​IMG]


    The ST cockpit is well designed and handsomely appointed. The build quality is much better than most, if not all, other cars in its class. I love the feel of the steering wheel.

    [​IMG]


    The Focus has surprisingly little road noise. I love the aggressive front fascia.

    [​IMG]


    The sporty styling continues to the rear of the car. I really like the spoiler.

    [​IMG]


    The ST has very little turbo lag, and pulls great even when out of boost.

    [​IMG]


    An optional sun roof is available on the ST. I want to see the aerodynamic data from the testing of this spoiler.

    [​IMG]


    The panel gaps are very tight, and the car has a quality feel to it. However, much like the SVTP GT the ST's 3-stage paint does not match 100% from the urethane parts to the metal panels under certain lighting conditions.

    [​IMG]


    You owe it to yourself to test drive one of these cars.

    [​IMG]


    The fuel filler door is cleverly blended into the Focus's styling.

    [​IMG]


    The lower fascia offers a few opportunities to add some aftermarket brake cooling ducts.

    [​IMG]


    There's no more appropriate place to take a few pics of a car this fun than in a playground. It'll make you feel like a kid again.

    [​IMG]


    Not every hole in the mesh grille is open. Styling and engineering have to compromise over just which holes will be open.

    [​IMG]


    Time to go have more fun.

    [​IMG]


    Breaking the law.

    [​IMG]


    Action shots, not fun for the photographer when it's 15 degrees outside and the wind is blowing.

    [​IMG]


    Hopefully this won't be the last time you see us working with an ST here on SVTP.

    [​IMG]


    Photos by StacyStangz and SID297



    You can view the Window Sticker of our test Focus ST by clicking HERE.



    Special Thanks To:

    Ford Motor Company


    -SID297:beer:
     
  2. bmore1186

    bmore1186 New Member Established Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    San Diego
    Soo tempted to get this for a daily driver..
     
  3. nckissfan

    nckissfan Nevermore Established Member

    Messages:
    4,621
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Browns Summit, NC
    nice review. $28k, though. wow. Looks like a great car, will have to go look at one in person
     
  4. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    If I could only have one reasonably priced car, not truck, to do everything I would have to seriously consider the Focus ST. It's a great all around car.

    Thanks:beer:

    Go drive one. I think the price is well inline with what you're getting. For the money it's much more car (except for power) than the 2012 SVTP GT. Check out both window stickers:

    Focus ST

    SVTP Mustang GT


    With everything Ford added (leather wrapped steering wheel, small screen in the dash, HID lamps, etc) to the base GT in 2013 the story changes a bit. Still, I feel that the ST is really priced well for how it is equipped.
     
  5. Snagged

    Snagged Shenanigans!!! Established Member

    Messages:
    8,264
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    Those are great looking cars. I wouldn't mind one as a DD. That is pretty cool the snow tires were put on there for you guys.
     
  6. 2004Droptop

    2004Droptop Member Established Member

    Messages:
    835
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Location:
    Holly Springs, North Cackalacky
    Nice write up... I agree totally. I am so glad I took the hit and traded my 2012 SEL on the ST. To enjoy the daily commute is an important thing!
     
  7. Sn95Snake

    Sn95Snake Active Member Established Member

    Messages:
    4,379
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Location:
    California
    Very nice write up! Ford just keeps stepping there game up!
     
  8. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    It was nice of them, but I'm glad we didn't need them.

    Thanks. A fun relaxing drive can totally change your mood and improve the rest of your day.

    Thanks:beer:
     
  9. Stanley

    Stanley Premium Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    2,873
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Deer Park, Texas, United States
    The car looks better in person than it does in the pictures for anyone that hasn't seen one in person.


    Good review btw, makes me want one even more!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  10. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Thanks:beer:
     
  11. steeltoe

    steeltoe Premium Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,952
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I'll be honest I'm considering get one of these over a used S-197 Mustang.
     
  12. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Go drive one.
     
  13. CobraBob

    CobraBob Authorized Vendor Premium Member

    Messages:
    81,792
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Location:
    Cheshire, CT
    Great review Travis. I really like that ST. What a great DD that would make. And one that offers up exceptional fun behind the wheel, too.
     
  14. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    Thanks Bob. I'm hoping we'll get to review a few more Fords soon.:beer:
     
  15. CobraBob

    CobraBob Authorized Vendor Premium Member

    Messages:
    81,792
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Location:
    Cheshire, CT
    Travis, any thought of doing video reviews? A lot more work, of course. But I could see SVTP doing it. More than a view capable drivers here, too, including yourself. Ford, take notice. :)
     
  16. whitevenum

    whitevenum Auto 1000whp= Insanity Established Member

    Messages:
    1,805
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Beautiful car! I'd really like to get one for a dd, you cant beat it
     
  17. CobRoush-00

    CobRoush-00 Active Member Established Member

    Messages:
    1,422
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Great review, sir! The quality of the pictures makes it feel the car is within reach and want to take it for a drive. Beautiful car indeed!
     
  18. SID297

    SID297 OWNER/ADMIN Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    41,094
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    Location:
    Myrtle Beach, SC
    I'd like to move in that direction Bob. We have a good amount of video equipment and will be doing more vids in the future. I'd like to find a good videographer to put things together for us.

    Thanks:beer:
     
  19. CobraBob

    CobraBob Authorized Vendor Premium Member

    Messages:
    81,792
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2002
    Location:
    Cheshire, CT
    Travis, I have a good feeling about this video venture if it materializes. REALLY good feeling.
     
  20. steeltoe

    steeltoe Premium Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    3,952
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I plan on it and the ST3 package is worth the few extra bucks.
     

Share This Page