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In-depth reviews

Ford Focus ST review – design

Slick new headlights make for a more aggressive face, the rest is largely unchanged

Evo rating
Price
from £30,250
  • Torquey and responsive powertrain; balanced and neutral chassis
  • Doesn’t have the precision or focus of its most talented rivals

Focus STs have always been a relatively subtle foil to the more extravagant Focus RS, yet even without a range-topper this time around the current ST is very nondescript. It shares all its body panels with the base Focus, only differing with new inserts around the lower grilles, larger wheels and a different rear bumper insert that integrates the dual-exhaust outlets.

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Its 19-inch wheels do help the stance, and together with dark headlight inserts and the red ST badging might be just about enough for the average buyer. The Track Pack has its own design of flow-formed 19-inch wheel, painted black just like its roof, bumper inserts, mirror caps and badge surrounds.

As for the Focus’s facelift itself, where the new blockiness hasn’t really worked on the Fiesta, the Focus’s new slimmer lighting and bluff grille have helped what was an awkward-looking generation of Focus. Other than the front bumper and lights, the Focus is essentially identical to the previous model.

Compared to rivals it’s all very sensible. Hyundai’s i30 N might share a body in white with lesser variants, but its aggressive detailing, forged wheels and huge new exhaust pipes have certainly given it a big uptick in visual aggression. The new Honda Civic Type R takes this to a whole new level, with a completely bespoke body with wide arches, real aero including a stacked rear wing and more. It looks like a touring car in miniature, and comes with none of the visual frippery of the previous model.

So the ST might be your pick for someone looking for a stealthier hot hatchback. Debadge it, keep it a sensible colour and it could pass for just about any other Focus hatchback, and to some there’s desirability in that.

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