By: IOL Motoring Staff
Although it will soon be overshadowed by the brutal new Focus RS in Ford's hot hatch hierarchy, the Focus ST continues to provide good bang for the buck in its own corner of the market, where its appeal has just been bolstered by a midlife nip and tuck.
Launched in South Africa this week, the new Focus ST sports a peppered up design, sharpened chassis and new keeping-with-the-times gadgetry inside.
The restyled front end has slimmer headlights, a taller grille and more chiselled bumper design, and the ST3 version is further set apart by HID Bi-Xenon adaptive headlights and LED daytime running lights. You can also order the flagship model with 19-inch 'Rock metallic' dark grey alloys with red brake callipers. Standard versions continue to roll on 18-inch alloys, while also flaunting side skirts, a large roof spoiler and a diffuser that houses twin-hexagonal pipes. As before you can turn heads with the eye popping Tangerine Scream paint or if you're on the run you might appreciate Ford's new Stealth dark grey metallic or Deep Impact Blue.
SAME ENGINE, BETTER CHASSIS
Power comes from the familiar 2-litre direct injection Ecoboost turbopetrol, linked to a six-speed manual gearbox, and the only alteration is the addition of an idle stop system. This allegedly improves economy by six percent, for a claimed combined consumption of 6.8 litres per 100km and we wish you all the best in achieving that. As before this firecracker pushes 184kW and 360Nm, allowing it to sprint to 100km/h in 6.5 seconds and reach 248km/h, according to Ford.
Engineers focused their energy on tinkering with an aspect that doesn't usually make the headlines: road holding. To that end, Ford strengthened the body structure to reduce body flex and honed the sports suspension with new front springs, shocks and stiffer bushes. The Electronic Torque Vectoring Control was also optimised and the ESC gains Ford's new Enhanced Transitional Stability system.
Talking gadgets, the ST3 is now fitted with Ford's Sync2 infotainment system linked to a high-definition 20.3cm colour touch-screen, while the ST1 uses the first-generation Sync system. The ST1 base model also loses the ST3's leather seat trim, dual-zone climate control and high-end Sony audio system but still comes with cloth-covered Recaro buckets and luxuries like cruise control and a less fancy sound system.
Furthermore the ST's interior has a simplified layout with fewer buttons and there's a new flat-base steering wheel to go with all the other unique ST cabin garnishes.
Focus ST1 - R381 900
Focus ST3 - R421 900
Prices include a four-year/120 000km warranty and four-year/80 000km service plan.