Ford Focus ST Estate - First Drive

A family car that’s fit for the fast-lane

Price: from £22,740
Engine capacity: 2.0 litres
Power output (PS): 250
Top speed (mph): 154
0-62 mph (seconds): 6.5
Fuel economy (mpg): 39.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 169

It’s not without reason that the Focus is a fixture at the top of the annual bestsellers lists. And it looks set to be the third-biggest car of 2012 with over 75,000 sold here (the Fiesta tops the list).

The Focus, especially the current third generation model, is a winner not just because of the sturdiness and functionability you’d expect of America’s most famous marque, but because, darn it, it’s pretty cool.

This may be the car from the Super Sunday idents and supermarket car parks from Aberdeen to , but the Focus just looks very good for a practical family motor.

The sportier ST is at the top end of the Focus range and, even as a daddish estate, it looks great. That’s helped by the subtle spoiler, the 18” alloys and the blacked-out back windows, but even without them  it’s a lovely car. 

The ST’s interior is immediately Ford-like when you first sit in the cabin and then you notice the sporty seats and metal pedals and think, “Hmm”. Then you press the ignition button and put your foot down and, whoosh, we’re almost in Cosworth territory. (Incidentally, Focus drivers could soon actually be in Cosworth territory. The famous high-performance engine-makers recently announced that their latest collaboration with Ford would be on a concept model for a new ST.) 

This is no racer, of course, but the ST is the sports-tuned, higher-performance member of the Focus family, the kind of car you can pretend to be respectable in and then find yourself quickly invited to a Speed Awareness Course.

Unlike a pricey saloon with soundproofed windows, it’s unlikely you could get up into the hundreds without realising it. The two-litre, 250 PS engine makes an absolutely glorious racket as you put your foot down. I took it down the M1 at two in the morning (don’t ask) and was thankful for the overnight roadworks and my fears of unmarked police cars for stopping me from seeing just how much of a snarl the car could produce.

The ST handles nimbly too,  both on country roads and in the city, where it felt lithe enough even in the most traumatic of London’s main roads.

On more prosaic matters, the ST hits all the buttons. This new estate version has a big, 1,500-litre boot – but that does eat into the back seats’ legroom a tad. Fine for kids but possibly not for five adults. 

As well as the usual smart armoury of gadgets (blind-spot alert lights; lane warning systems and an easy-to-use Sony DAB/media system) there are a couple of other neat touches. I was also taken, superfluous though they are, with the little LED lights hidden behind the interior door handles and the sporty “8”-shaped exhaust. The sporty metal pedals are neat, too.

If you don’t get too giddy on the motorway, you can get decent mileage too at 39.2mpg combined.

The ST estate is a slightly unique car – a hot estate, rather than a hot hatch – but feels more valuable than its middish-range price suggests. If you’re in the market for a new family car with a little bit of va-va voom (though not that va-va voom) you could do much, much worse than take it for a test drive.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Cover Supervisor

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienced Cover Super...

    Cover Supervisor

    £50 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Randstad Education is looking to e...

    Science Teacher

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - Maternit...

    Systems and Network Administrator

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: We are recruiting for a Systems and ...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album