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Ford Focus ST review - the best all-round hot hatch on sale? - Design

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

With that new nose and general tightening up, the Focus has drastically improved its chances of attracting buyers focused on looks. Where the Golf GTI goes for a subtly fancier plain wrapper, the ST’s gaping mesh grille, 19-inch alloy wheels and wilder colour options - Tangerine Scream orange being perhaps the most retina threatening – sell its performance credentials without ambiguity.

Compared to previous ST generations, the current car has a convincingly lower, broader-shouldered stance with a more obviously sculpted bonnet and sleeker, slimmer headlamps. Other sporty touches include twin-hexagonal centre tailpipes, black lamp bezels, no shortage of ST badging and, if you option the, a set of rather handsome 19-inch ST Design alloy wheels. If pulsatingly orange paintwork is just too much, there’s a dark grey exterior paint colour called Stealth exclusive to the ST.

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The ST is arguably more attractive in estate form. The elongated bodywork balances some of the ST's more awkward details and the simpler rear-end treatment works better too. Our "stealth grey" long-term TDCi Estate certainly looked menacing and the current "deep impact blue" petrol estate is striking, yet both slide under the radar better than a bright orange example might... 

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