Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ford Focus ST 2.0 Reviewed

Ford’s ST range has become an icon in the hot hatch segment, and the new range continues to build on this legacy. I recently drove the 2013 Ford Focus ST.

Exterior - unmistakably Ford Focus

The new 4-door Ford Focus has a bulky, chiseled chassis, and though a hatch, is by no means a small car. This gives the car a very powerful look and instills a feeling of invincibility while driving. My test car came in Tangerine Scream, the newest addition to Ford’s rather ostentatious orange-palette. This is arguably the most unique and eye catching colour on the road and, coupled with the tank-like chassis and the letters “ST” scrawled across the rear of the car, mean that you are guaranteed to be noticed.

An enigmatic interior

The interior space of the Focus is still a conundrum to me, managing to create a somewhat intimate and almost claustrophobic feeling for the driver in what is rather a large space; on attempt, I struggled to place both elbows comfortably on the armrests simultaneously… they were simply too far away. This tight feeling is created by the acute angle of the sloping windscreen and snug bucket seats.

The back seat has ample space, seating three average sized adults comfortably, and the boot can only be described as cavernous. There is then, no shortage of space in the Focus.

Focus on technology

The new Focus ST comes with plenty of gadgetry to enhance the driving experience. The keyless entry and driving system is rather nifty, and is especially helpful when carrying items to and from the car. The interior dashboard is full of buttons and dials, resembling the cock-pit of a fighter plane, and it appears as if there is nothing you cannot do in the car. For the most part I ignored the dash as it felt like there was simply too much on it, which was rather intimidating and ironically, as touched on above, it also felt too far away. There are shortcut buttons on the steering-wheel to access the onboard computer, but these were oddly placed and difficult to use while driving.

Unleashing the Focus ST

The new Ford Focus ST is a beast. With a 2.0 litre engine, 184Kw and a six speed gear box, putting your foot down results in the car jerking forward with such unbridled enthusiasm, that keeping the gears ticking over becomes a challenge. Gear-up too slowly, a rather common occurrence, and the car feels wobbly and uncontrollable. Accelerating in the ST can be likened to taking an excitable Rottweiler for a run, it simply wrenches you along. This feeling passes as you get into the higher gears, and the Focus ST begins to glide.

It’s no secret, the Focus ST is built for speed, and this it handles wonderfully. The braking on this Ford is also phenomenally sharp, and takes a lot of getting used to. On my initial drives, anything left on my leather seats invariably ended up on the floor due to my rather ambitious use of the brake pedal.

All in all, the new Focus is immensely fun to drive, and being an ST, the biggest challenge is trying to stay within the local speed limit.  

Ford Focus ST Conclusion

The Ford Focus ST speaks volumes about its owner and thus targets a very niche market. If you want a big, bold car with immense power and all the latest technology, the new Focus ST is definitely worth considering.

Quickspecs: Ford Focus ST vs Notable Competitors

Ford Focus ST
VW Golf 7 GTI
Opel OPC
Engine size
2.0 Petrol
2.0 Petrol
2.0 Petrol
Power max
Acceleration (0-100km)
Top speed
Fuel consumption
7.2l / 100km
6.0l / 100km
8.1l / 100km
Safety rating

Focus ST Rating

Performance - 5
Style - 3
Drive comfort - 4
Running Costs - 3

First VW Golf GTI crashed in South Africa

The first crash of the new VW Golf 7 GTi has been recorded. The incident happened on a launch in South Africa, where local website editor Ciro De Siena (@CiroDS) was an unfortunate passenger. The journalist produced the following story depicting his ordeal and how the safety features of the new car saved his life.

Closing on him with I'd say less than 80m to go, he just U-turns. No indicator. We didn't stand a chance. My driver moved further right to get around the front of the bakkie, but our options very rapidly narrowed to either running into a big ditch or hitting the vehicle. If we were on anchors for 20m it was a lot.
For the full story: Saved by a car

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Most popular cars in South Africa for June 2013 has compiled and released an infographic depicting the most popular cars in South Africa for the month of June. The infographic focuses on the following sections and presents information is an easy to digest format.:

  • Top 5 motoring brands according to new car sales & used car views
  • Used car popularity based on vehicle type
  • New car market share
  • Most popular new cars in SA
  • Most popular used cars in SA
  • Hot new car release for June
Click here to view the full Motoring report infographic