Fun. Fast. Fuel-efficient. Affordable. Not long ago, if you wanted those things in a car, you would need to buy three different cars, perhaps four. Thanks to the Ford Motor Company, you can get all that in one car.Introducing the 2013 Ford Focus ST. This car is all those things and more. This little hatchback rocket is an amazing machine, built for the true car enthusiast, priced for the masses. It features a 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine that produces 252-horses, with the feel of 300 or more. The six-speed manual transmission shifts easily and smoothly, whether upshifting or downshifting. When you sit down in the comfortable but snug two-tone Recaro seats and hit the push button start, you immediately notice a remarkable, deep sounding exhaust system that makes your heart race a little. Ford intentionally tempts you with an active sound symposer system that pipes the sound of the exhaust into the car on heavy acceleration. Drive the Focus ST normally, and you don’t get the sound enabling you to use your cell phone easily. On top of the dash is a trio of gauges that give you oil temperature, oil pressure, and turbo boost. Below that in the center of the dash is an 8” color touchscreen monitor that operates everything including climate, sound system, the Sync Bluetooth, and the navigation system. Everything is easy to reach and understand. My tester has the My Ford Touch system, which worked flawlessly. My Ford Touch enables drivers to seamlessly integrate nearly all mobile phones, PDAs and digital media players into the car. Operation of these devices, utilizing advanced Ford Sync functionality, is performed using voice commands, touch-screen inputs, the vehicle’s steering wheel, radio controls, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. My Ford Touch is also capable of receiving text messages and reading these text messages aloud to occupants of the car. You get real-time sports scores, movie times and choices, weather, traffic, and it will even tell you where the cheapest gas is near you.
The exterior of the Focus ST is stunning, with 18” aluminum wheels, sleek but aggressive lines, and a roof-mounted spoiler. Muscular extended rocker panels emphasize a lowered chassis, and the wheels fill the entire wheel well space. The front end is emphasized by details like the optional HID headlamps, prominent one-piece trapezoidal grille with hexagonal mesh and the bold red ST badge. Driving this turbocharged hatchback is a hoot. Impressive is the suspension, which handles bumps with a single up-down motion. It’s stiff enough to feel like you are in a sports car. Ford has added larger brakes, and electric steering with torque steer compensation to reduce steering wheel jerk when accelerating. The system certainly helps, but the sensation of torque steer is still there. To be fair, you would expect this with a car that has 270-pound feet of torque. It is not annoying, but hold the wheel tight when speed shifting through the gears. There have not been a lot of daily driver performance sports cars that get anywhere near 32-miles per gallon. The VW GTI, the Mazda3 Speed, and the Subaru WRX are all great cars. As you know, I rate cars for value as well as performance, and the Focus ST at $27,675 MSRP, fully loaded, deserves to be at the top of the list. What I liked most: The feel of power, exhaust sound, and interior/exterior looks. What I would change: Would like them to continue to reduce torque steer. MSRP: $27,675 Fuel Economy: 23 City/32 Highway Warranty: 3 years/36,000 mile bumper to bumper. 5 years/60,000 miles on the powertrain, and roadside assistance. 2013 Focus ST in a few words: A true car enthusiast’s machine that won’t break the bank.