I bought this car as I wanted to upgrade from my VW Golf TDI 77. The Golf had several issues and I thought it was time to get something a little bit more exciting in my life… at a reasonable cost. The look of the car appealed to me and I was also very impressed with the stock power figures, at the time beating out the VW Golf GTI by around 20kW at the crank! This car also has a large community following online and forums are filled with modification support and knowledge, which was appealing to me because who doesn’t like a little more power? I thought the price was reasonable and there were a lot of small touches that really intrigued me, which I will touch on below.
What did you like about this car?
There are so many things I like/love about this car. This car is a different machine from what it was back in 2016 when I first bunny hopped it out the Ford shop in Campbelltown (it was my first manual don’t judge me). At that time it had 252hp and 366Nm at the crank, and now it has over 300hp and over 400Nm. I love this car because it has become a project for me and I have tried exceptionally hard to make it unique, fast and look amazing. My list of modifications goes on and on, however it is essentially a full bolt-on stage 3 Focus ST. Despite this, the car still has the same kind of feeling as it did when I first got it and still has all the small touches that drew me to it in the first place. The Recaro bucket seats are one of my favourite things about this car. They are either loved or hated (usually dependent on the size of the passenger), but I love them. They hold you in very tightly whenever you go around a corner a little bit faster than you should or even when you change lanes. The car always feels solid and extremely nimble and predictable. I love the red ST-illuminating badging on the door panes when you open the door, and the three gauges - including the boost gauge - which makes you feel like you are driving something cooler than a Ford Focus! I love the noise from the Cobb Turbo back exhaust and the way the car draws attention with the way it looks (definitely just the noise). The colour scheme I have gone with is black on black with touches of red and it really works perfectly on the Focus ST. It makes it look mean yet draws out the sporty lines throughout the car. The car is a blast to drive, however, it does have its setbacks.
What do you dislike about the car?
As the car has been modified quite heavily, there are certain things that make it less enjoyable at times. The drone from the exhaust can be rather annoying on long drives and in situations where you just want to have a normal quiet drive or conversation. The seats, although amazing to be in for short to medium amounts of time, can be quite uncomfortable for long drives. This was evident when I drove the car from Sydney to Canberra the other day. The combination of the hard, tight and unforgiving seats in addition to the drone from the turbo back exhaust really highlighted that this car was not meant for long drives. As the car is lowered, sometimes getting in and out of basic driveways can also be a challenge and can become hard to monitor when you are tired, sometimes resulting in scratching that Maxton front lip that I paid $200 for! The fuel consumption is not what the EcoBoost engines name suggests. When I drive the car like I want to drive the car, the fuel just seems to disappear. Despite these annoyances, the car is still thoroughly enjoyable.
Discuss the technology in the car, how it drives, and the engine and transmission combination.
The car does not feature the tech pack that Ford offers for these cars. As it was priced at $2000, it did not seem necessary for someone who is 25 and is already reaching as far as possible into their bank account to buy a car like the Focus ST. The car has a great reverse camera (which works better than a lot of others I have seen) as well as rear beepers. The car does not have the sensors at the front though, which can sometimes be a bit frustrating! The car features Ford's Sync 2 infotainment screen, which has entertainment, climate, navigation and telephone capabilities. The system is generally quite good, however it is seriously lacking in usability compared to the Focus RS Sync 3. The touchscreen is quite slow and the voice command is basically impossible to use.
On another note, the engine in this car is fantastic and the gearbox it is paired with also works perfectly. Gear shifts are smooth, however when I first got the car I felt like the throw was a bit longer than it needed to be. I fixed this issue with a Cobb short shifter and since then it works like a charm! The engine is very punchy and responsive. The KO3 turbo is great down low in the rpm and this is what makes the Focus so fun. It has that classic hot hatch feel and it is punchy when it needs to be. Yes, that turbo dies out once it gets higher, however hot hatches were never about turbo lag or straight line speed! Sometimes I have asked myself when I should upgrade to a bigger turbo, but I have always come to the same conclusion; NO! Why would you want to lose that punchy feel? The feel that makes you love the car? To me, the Focus ST is exactly what a hot hatch should be; powerful, responsive, agile and manual!
How reliable and practical has your car been for you?
My car has been reliable beyond anything, and has put my previous VW Golf to shame! In three years of ownership and despite all the mods I have done, I have never had one single issue or even a warning light for that matter. The practicality of the car on the other hand is not ideal. Before the mods it was perfect, however since the mods the car - as I have said previously - is too low for many places and too loud for many situations! Despite this, I would not change anything about what I have done to the car and the fact it puts a smile on my face every time I drive it says it all!
What improvements do you think you could be made for the future models?
Definitely an LSD for traction. The car has a decent amount of power going through those front wheels and it needs an LSD to counter this. This seems like the best way of fixing these issues, however, it will never fully fix that torque steer. The infotainment and technology needs to be updated to remain competitive and the dashboard needs to be modernised as it is looked quite dated.
Thank you so much for reading my review! I hope you enjoyed it!