Ford Focus ST review - the best all-round hot hatch on sale? - Engine and gearbox

Quick, affordable and fun, but not perfect

Evo rating
Price
from £25,735
  • Storming performance, price undercuts most rivals
  • Can become unruly with torque steer, cheap-feeling cabin

The new 2.0-litre engine is a developed version of the existing Ecoboost motor that powers petrol-fired Focuses and Mondeos. Peak power - 247bhp - comes in at a relatively low 5500rpm, but it’s backed up by a meaty 265lb ft of torque that’s available from 1750rpm through to 4500rpm.

The ST is also available with a 183bhp diesel engine that, with 295lb ft available from 2000 to 2750rpm, is even torquier than the petrol unit.  The diesel ST sprints to 62 in 8.1 seconds and runs on to a top speed of 135 mph.

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Being diesel powered you do miss out on one of those great hot hatch sensations of buzzing a tweaked petrol engine to its limit and enjoying the spread of power and the performance on offer. On the other hand, the lower output and slightly dulled response from low revs means it isn't quite as much of a torque-steer handful as its petrol counterpart. If your budget, or more than likely your fleet manager, insists on a car that drinks from the black pump, the ST TDCi delivers a performance worthy of the badge

Both engines use a six-speed manual transmission with a sweet - albeit a little notchy - short-throw shift action. The intermediate gear ratios - exclusive to ST and specific to each engine - are closely stacked in the interests of acceleration and paired with a long-striding sixth for refined cruising at speed.

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