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Last 7 Days
  • Turbocharged 2.0-litre engine still impressive; six-speed manual welcomed and appreciated by most; firm ride adds to 'experience'; sharper look a win
  • Manic torque steer enough to lose fans; tight bucket seats questionable if not outright restrictive; high-mounted indicator and wiper stalks a nuisance; occasional rough idle when cold

OUR RATING
7.5 / 10



2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two

The Melbourne team’s affair with the 2015 Ford Focus ST long-termer continues, but the relationship isn’t without its troubles.

A good part of any long-term test car’s role is being the office patsy.

Anyone who needs wheels for a night or a weekend is often thrown the keys, and any last minute airport drop-offs or pick-ups are usually carried out with the help of a long-term garage resident. And the situation has been no different with our Stealth Grey Ford Focus ST.

As such, most, if not all the team has spent some time with the $38,990 five-door manual-only hot-hatch. Here’s a breakdown of the biggest likes and dislikes encountered to date.

Likes

Most who have driven the flagship Ford Focus, have initially found it extraordinarily fun to drive. “Raw and exciting” has been some of the feedback, with others being impressed by the 184kW/345Nm (360Nm with ‘overboost’) 2.0-litre turbo-four despite barely getting the car out of third gear.

Gutsy, fast and powerful, most love the sound of the engine when giving it beans, however, some feel, while the engine note itself isn’t bad overall, the ST lacks some of the theatre – the spool, pops and burbles for example – offered up by other turbocharged models doing the rounds.

Good torque from down low in the revs means there’s little need to rifle up and down through the gears when gingerly putting around town, but that said, the six-speed-manual transmission has received plenty of praise too.

2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two

“It’s great to have a manual gearbox in a car such as this,” some have said, with others adding, “It gives the full experience of driving a hot-hatch.” The Focus ST’s forgiving clutch uptake has also been appreciated, though some note that, despite the hot hatchback’s ability to genuinely shift along once on the move, a little turbo lag is still present (though far from deal breaking).

Clearly an office dominated by revheads, the overall vote is that while the Ford’s ride is indeed firm, it adds to the experience of the car rather than takes away from it. Further, the majority feel it’s largely controlled and rarely unpleasant.

With a visually sharper exterior look compared with the pre-facelifted Focus ST, the 2015 car’s styling has received a unanimous big tick. The consensus is that it not only looks fast, but that its more aggressive lines and angles are a definite step up from the rest of the more conservative Focus range.

A key element of the 2015 update, the ST’s newly added 8.0-inch colour touchscreen-based infotainment system with Ford’s voice-activated SYNC2 has won most over.

Undeniably cleaner and clearer than the previous car’s button-happy setup, responses have ranged from “great to use” and “very intuitive”, to “it all just makes sense”.

2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two

The ST’s overall interior fit and finish has also been winning points, with the flat-bottomed multi-function leather steering wheel getting particular attention for its nice feel and good shape. You can’t please everyone though…

Dislikes

Fun at first, just as many people have consistently found the initial novelty of the car wears off after a while behind the wheel. Several reasons have been behind this but one of the main ones is torque steer.

If ever there was a car to best demonstrate the effect of having one front wheel pull harder than the other, it’s the Focus ST.

“You can’t actually steer the car in a straight line when accelerating fast off the line,” said one of the team. “After a bit more time with the car, what at first felt like a mad, fun car, just feels like a mad car,” said another. And finally, “It makes me feel like I’m on the verge of mounting a kerb at times,” another added.

Another major gripe has been with the ST’s heavily bolstered partial leather Recaro bucket seats. Sure, more slender individuals say they find the seats extremely supportive and “perfect for dynamic driving”, but the majority view things differently.

“If the target market for the vehicle is 16-year-old Russian ballet dancers, then the seats are just fine. Myself though, I have trouble actually breathing when sat in them.”

2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two

“I’m a wide load, but still. I’ve never been that uncomfortable in a car that wasn’t also significantly smaller,” another shared, while someone else said, “Personally, I love the seats, but they’d be a proper squeeze to get in to for ‘larger’ individuals.”

On top of the seats themselves losing favour with several members of the team, some have felt that they also make the Ford’s cabin feel cramped, with one individual saying, “Which I don’t think the Focus otherwise deserves – the standard Focus feeling much more spacious with just the regular seats in it”.

More minor issues have included oddly high-mounted indicator and wiper stalks that require a fair reach of the fingers to get to and the occasional rough idle – the latter noted particularly on cold startups.

And despite the new infotainment system vastly tidying up the Focus ST’s centre stack, one team member felt there was now too much emphasis on the touchscreen and not enough buttons. “Several key bits of navigation, namely at the bottom of the touchscreen, are also hard to accurately select without staring at the screen,” they said.

A big strike against the ST though, is the hot-hatch’s 12.0-metre turning circle – mentioned previously in the car’s first long-term report. Proving to be a problem on more than one occasion, across the board, the team feels that apart from being simply annoying, the issue is especially poor given the traditional maneuverability of a small hatchback.

2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two

Stay tuned for our upcoming final report on the 2015 Ford Focus ST. And in the meantime, let us know, has the Melbourne team got it right or wrong? Are we spot on, or have we missed the point? Tell us in the comments section below.

Read our 2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report one here.

Click on the Photos tab for more 2015 Ford Focus ST images by Tom Fraser.

2015 Ford Focus ST
Date acquired: August 2015
Odometer reading: 9172km
Travel since previous update: 2524km
Consumption since previous update: 10.0L/100km


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FORD FOCUS BREAKDOWN

2015 Ford Focus ST Review : Long-term report two
  • 7.5
  • 7.5
  • 6.5
  • 8
  • 8
  • 7.5
  Submit an Owner Car Review


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Ford Focus Specs

ST : LW MK2 MY14 : 2.0L TURBO MPFI - 6 SP MANUAL - PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL - 5D HATCHBACK
Car Details
Make
FORD
Model
FOCUS
Variant
ST
Series
LW MK2 MY14
Year
2015
Body Type
5D HATCHBACK
Seats
5
Pricing
New Price
N/A
Private Sale
$27,500 - $31,250
Dealer Retail
$27,840 - $33,110
Dealer Trade
$21,400 - $25,000
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
TURBO MPFI
Engine Size
2.0L
Cylinders
TURBO 4
Max. Torque
360Nm @  2000rpm
Max. Power
184kW @  5500rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
128.2W/kg
Bore & Stroke
87.5x83.1mm
Compression Ratio
10
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
6 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
62Litres
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
7.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1435
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1484mm
Length
4358mm
Width
1823mm
Ground Clearance
100mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
8.0x18
Rear Rim Size
8.0x18
Front Tyres
235/40 R18
Rear Tyres
235/40 R18
Wheel Base
2648
Front Track
1554
Rear Track
1544
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Front Suspension
MacPherson strut, Coil Spring, Lower control arm, Gas damper, Anti roll bar
Rear Suspension
Control Blade, Multi-link system, Hydraulic double acting shock absorber, Anti roll bar
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Heated Front Seats, Racing Sports Seats
Control & Handling
18 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Hill Holder, Performance Suspension, Traction Control System
Driver
Adjustable Steering Wheel - Tilt & Telescopic, Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering, Satellite Navigation, Trip Computer, Voice Recognition System
Entertainment
Radio CD with 9 Speakers
Exterior
Body Kit, Fog Lights - Front, Rear Spoiler, Xenon Headlights
Interior
Centre Console Box - Multi-purpose, Leather Trim, Power Windows, Tinted Windows
Safety
Dual Front Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Security
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Pass Side Front Floor
Country of Origin
Germany