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2013 Ford Focus ST Review By John Heilig

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2013 Ford Focus ST

The Auto Page
By John Heilig

Model: 2013 Ford Focus ST
Engine: 2.o-liter EcoBoost I4
Horsepower/Torque: 252 hp @ 5,500 rpm/270 lb.-ft. @ 2,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
Length x Width x Height: 171.7 x 71.8 x 58.4 in.
Tires: P235/40R18
Cargo: 23.8/44.8 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
Economy:23 mpg city/32 mpg highway/24.3 mpg test
Fuel tank: 12.4 gal.
Curb Weight: 3,223 lbs.
Sticker: $27,675 (includes $795 destination and delivery charge, $2,300 in options)

Bottom Line: The Ford Focus ST is not your standard little compact econobox. From the moment you first set your eyes on it, you realize that the ST is designed for performance, from its "performance blue" exterior paint scheme to the Recaro seats with their performance blue bolsters. Fire up the engine and head out on the road and the firm suspension and tuned exhaust add an exclamation point to the visual.

At the end of a string of small economy cars came the Ford Focus ST. "Okay," I thought, "here's another." Boy was I wrong.

First, the exterior color was definitely not econobox. The ST was Performance Blue, and seemed to glow in the dark. It could have been called "arrest me blue" for the attention it drew.

Inside, the Recaro seats further defined the purpose of the ST. They were black, but with bright blue bolsters. Either they were smaller than the standard Recaros or I need another Weight Watchers session, because the driver's seat hugged me a lot tighter than I remembered. The rear seats matched the fronts in style if not in depth.

On the road, the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four delivers the performances that the paint job promises. Ford doesn't claim 0-60 times, preferring to concentrate on the ST's economy, but understand that they are in single digits. Economy is decent, with a 23 mpg city EPA estimate and 32 mpg highway.

But the Focus of the ST isn't economy, it's performance. ST stands for Sport Technologies, and Ford calls it the future of Ford performance vehicles in North America.

One quick stab at the accelerator and the ST leaps onto the road. There's some turbo steer, where the engine seems to want to drive the car, but it isn't severe. I also encountered a slight tendency for the rear end to want to drift if I accelerated in the middle of a turn. Judicious use of the right foot can control both of these problems.

The suspension is firm, in keeping with the performance persona. This makes for spirited cornering, if you so choose. It also makes for a near-harsh ride quality on all but the best road surfaces. The tuned exhaust gives just the right feedback to make the slight discomfort bearable.

The 6-speed manual transmission is tight and fun to work with. Since the engine works all the way up to 6,000 rpm, there isn't the necessity for a lot of shifting, but you can really work it if you want to. You can use the center console/arm rest for your right elbow during shifting, but don't try it if you have large cups in the cup holders.

Oddly, the instrument cluster wasn't that clear. It appears to have been lifted straight from the economy version of the Focus. The tachometer is on the left and the speedometer on the right. Either one should have been in the middle to keep an eye on what you're doing. As a concession to the performance side, there's a nacelle at the top of the dash with gauges for oil temperature, turbo boost and oil temperature.

The standard infotainment screen dominates the center of the dash. It is divided into quarters for navi, audio, HVAC and phone, but you can select one of these as the primary. All the standard audio choices are available, with the AUX and USB plug-ins in the center console. The HVAC system has simple and easy-to-understand controls.

With a hatchback design, cargo capacity is good. The rear seat backs lower to increase cargo capacity, but you have to remove the rear seat headrests to get them to fold flat. Under the cargo floor is a space-saver spare, but there are also two small storage compartments to keep things out of sight in public parking spaces.

Overall, the Ford Focus ST is not your grandmother's Focus. In fact, Grammy might have a small cow after just ten minutes in the ST. But it is a decent small performance car that should give all those noisy street tuners a serious run for their money. Besides, it looks better and isn't as noisy.

(c) 2013 The Auto Page Syndicate