ST bests GTI on performance/price
Ford’s Focus ST. It’s a four-cylinder, 2-litre turbo now, like all the others.
Whilst many enthusiasts will lament the passing of its characteristic Volvo five-cylinder burble, the new car is more powerful than its predecessor.
Good for 184kW and 360Nm, it’s as fast as anything in class. Dynamic fluidity is stellar too, as expected for Ford’s Focus range – the FWD hatchback which pioneered independent rear-suspension for the masses.
The new ST features a trick front differential torque vectoring control system which works both under power and during throttle lift to ensure yaw torque between the front wheels. Essentially, whether you power-on or lift-off mid corner, ST will help keep things neat.
ST forged a reputation as the peoples’ hot hatch, a proletarian performance car hero: spacious, fast, and characterful.
It’s a void left by VW going decidedly upmarket with its GTI range. The new car retains much of its STness (the spoilers, 18-inch alloys, lurid yellow colour option) but also has Ford’s SYNC infotainment convergence/connectivity system and boasts 20% better fuel economy.
Best bit is the price. Entry level ST is R309 530, which is a terrific bargain compared to offerings from Renault and VW. Fully loaded it balloons to R353 700. Power to the people.