The Washington Times-Herald

Z_CNHI News Service

September 25, 2013

Ford Focus ST brings surprising performance for small domestic car

A sporty small performance car with a domestic name?

Can it be?

The new Ford Focus ST has carved out its niche to compete head on with European imports. It is welcome news for Ford enthusiasts looking for a domestic car with ample power and lots of interior refinements.

Not only does the Focus come out of the gate with a powerful engine and performance package as standard equipment, it accomplishes all this with high end driving dynamics at a budget price. Hard to beat.

The ST comes as a five-door hatchback. No sedan or automatic transmission is offered.

Main competitors for the Focus are the Mazdaspeed 3, Volkswagen GTI and Subaru WRX, all fine cars with a long tradition of performance. Still, the Focus represents the latest technology led by its mind-blowing 252-horsepower inline four-cylinder engine.

Mated with a six-speed manual transmission, driving the test car was all about fun and excitement going through the gears. From the moment you step behind the wheel you are greeted with high-mounted trio gauges providing needle feedback on oil pressure, engine temperature and turbo boost.

Ford says its little racer will reach 60 miles per hour from a stop in 6.2 seconds but it actually comes closer to 6.0 in testing. Know that if your right foot gets a little heavy in some gears, redline will bring a spirited fuel shut down.

Another surprise with all of this boost is miserly fuel usage. The Focus actually delivers on its combined EPA fuel economy of 26 mpg.

The test car included black leatherette Recaro seats with dark blue trim on the bolstered side and back seat panels, and a sporty embroidered ST emblem on each seat back. The bolsters provided excellent support whether on a short trip or during lengthy interstate travel.

Many optional high-end items on the import competition are included with the ST base price including 18-inch aluminum wheels, dual exhaust tips, fog lamps, halogen headlamps and an aggressive looking blackened grille.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Golf turns into snooze-fest without celebrities like Tiger and Phil

    The Masters lumbered on last week without two of pro golf's biggest names, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and fans changed the channel. The PGA needs someone with star power if it's going to lure people back to the game.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014