Hot hatch favourite the Ford Focus ST leads a new line-up of Focus models, all given a mid-life sprucing-up this week and available to buy now as hatchback or estate.
It’s a sprucing up – a mild but effective one, we reckon – not a reinvention so don’t get your hopes up for a performance boost (for that you need the Mountune Focus ST). There’s the same 2.3-litre EcoBoost turbo engine with 280PS (209kW) as before, so the latest ST is not set apart in the acceleration stakes – but it does stand out in the looks department.
That’s thanks to the nose job and new LED lights that have been given to the whole range, with each trim level sporting a slightly different “face”. It’s all part of the new look Ford has already endowed the Fiesta range with, aimed at giving the blue oval’s bread and butter offerings a more technical and premium presence.
With the ST, and the ST-Line models, the ingredients in this new look are a trapezoidal upper grille, gloss black honeycomb insert, broader side vents, side skirts, a rear diffuser and a discreet rear spoiler. Active (think adventure), Titanium (luxury) and Vignale (designer-label) each get their own subtly different grille treatments. Wheels get a makeover too and there are five new designs available, with 19s an option for the ST.
The latest ST eschews Recaro seats for new in-house developed “performance seats” which Ford says not only provide plenty of cornering support for track driving (the ST has a Track mode) but have been given a thumbs up by a leading spinal health organisation. Fourteen-way power adjustment includes four-way adjustable lumbar support.
ST choices remain hatch or wagon body styles and manual (six-speed) or paddle-shift (seven-speed) automatic transmission, while there is surely no choice at all in the paint stakes: surely it has to be the new Mean Green or nothing?
As well as the reprofiled bonnet and larger grille, other models in the line-up get what is in 2021 a familiar rollcall of new features: whopping tablet-style touch screen on the dashboard, wireless connectivity and more assist functions including, for the first time on the Focus, blind spot assist.
As well as the ST’s 2.3-litre motor, there is a range of petrol and diesel engines available including a 48-volt mild hybrid which for the first time can now be had with automatic transmission. Focus prices start at £22,465.