7th June 2021
Fast Ford, especially ones in metallic red, hold a very dear place in my heart as my Dad had a Granada Ghia Mk1 and I fondly remember the noise of its 3.0-litre V6 engine. A school friend’s Dad also had a Capri 3.0 S with the same engine, so it’s deeply ingrained in my brain and this arrival of this Focus ST triggered all the right buttons deep in the Suttie psyche. A good week seemed inevitable.
With 280hp on tap from its 2.3-litre turbocharged engine, 0-62mph comes up in 6.0 seconds flat in the ST. This one is fitted with the seven-speed automatic gearbox, so it takes care of swapping gears with slick precision whether you’re making the most of the performance or drawling through town. Even so, there is a bit of me that hankers after the six-speed manual for that greater degree of engagement that a hot hatch demands.
A trip up to Perth this morning and a collision on the A9 means sitting in traffic for much longer than expected. Not an issue in the ST thanks to the superb Recaro seats. In some hot hatches, the bolsters can be intrusive or just plain uncomfortable, but Ford has got it spot on with the balance between support and all-day cushioning. Thankfully, the delay was soon sorted and nothing more than a fender bender.
Strewth, this engine likes a drink. It’s averaging 34.7mpg so far this week according to the trip meter, which I don’t think is too bad for a hot hatch of this grunt and given the way I’ve been enjoying it. Even so, a fuel stopped was required this morning to top up the tank, which at 52-litres is the culprit for the reduced range compared to other models in the Ford Focus line-up.
Off to meet a Suzuki Cappuccino owner this morning for a feature and photo shoot. He’s owned the car for 25 years and sees no reason to change it as it delivers all the thrills and fun he wants. It’s tiny, yet the turbocharged 657cc three-cylinder engine gives it a surprising turn of acceleration. On a sunny day like this, it makes a very strong case for having one tucked up in the garage.
It’s the weekend and the now back to usual routine of kids’ sport activities requires me on taxi service. Both kids have ample room in the back of the ST and the boot has no bother holding their rugby, hockey, ballet and football kit. The only gripe comes as we head over the usual mix of cratered roads as the ST’s suspension and 19-inch alloy wheels make it too firm for the kids. I also wince at every pothole in the road.
I should be the absolute target buyer for the Ford Focus ST. After all, I have a family and need practicality, yet I also want something subtle but swift. However, after a week, I’m unmoved by this hot hatch, largely due to the abysmal ride quality and auto ’box’s lack of driver involvement. Not even a fast Ford in metallic red can overcome that lot. Perhaps next week’s Fiesta ST will triumph where the Focus failed?