Muscle Mustangs & Fast FordsCar Reviews
2013 Ford Focus ST - Road and Track Test
We don't often test front-drivers, but when we do, they are often turbocharged, fast, and affordable.
We found the ST to be sporty and fun, the only negative being a fair amount of torque steer that was most noticeable in First gear. It was also pronounced when tracking out after an apex and going to full power. Despite the torque steer, the ST grips and goes. There was no noticeable cornering slip; in fact, the massive traction of the tuned suspension and Goodyear tires inspires a confidence.
"Wrapped around the alloy wheels are high-performance 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 tires, developed after rigorous testing on all kinds of road surfaces and conditions, including the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany," states Ford.
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In addition, the balance is neutral, which was to our liking. The ST grabs the road and turns, it is hunkered down and digs into the pavement. Turn-in is instant and accurate, and when you brake to set the nose, it corners with amazing speed. We often found ourselves thinking we could have cornered harder.
I recommend sliding in for a test drive at your local Ford dealer. Once you do, you'll come back smiling. The Focus ST is economical and quick on the track, and the Tangerine Scream will let everyone know you are coming. Of course it's also offered in Performance Blue, Race Red, and White.
If you like adventure on the twisties, road, or track, this may just be the car for you.
With a spirited power-to-weight ratio and great grip, the ST is suited nicely to on-track adventures. While we didn't push our tester on a real road course, our "unofficial" test track was used to note handling and cornering performance. We did, however, get to strip-test the turbo wonder, as our in-house answer man, Yo! Ken Miele purchased his own shiny white ST.
"I was looking for something fun to drive, but I needed the utility of a hatch," Miele stated. "When I drove it, I realized it was a blast. It doesn't push, the back end slides a bit, and it's just as fast as my '88 LX. If I keep speeds to 65 mph, I get 32-plus mpg. At 75-80 mph, I get 30; I'm averaging 28 mpg overall. It has to have fun factor, and I look forward to driving it every day," he added.
Miele took his hot hatch to Atco Raceway (Atco, New Jersey) for quarter-mile testing. "I realized quickly that you can't launch above 3,000 rpm or you get wheelspin and the dreaded clunk caused by the soft lower motor mount. To remedy this, people are installing the Focus Electric motor mount, which is inexpensive at $60," Miele adds. He noted that 2,500 rpm provided the sweet spot for optimal launches.
"On my first run of three, I launched too hard and spun to a 2.50 60-foot and a 14.90 at 97 mph. Then I left too low and launched okay, but it bogged a bit. I also powershifted, and that cuts power. It died a touch and only went 14.44 at 96.07 (2.31 60-foot), shifting at 6,000. I also found it best to leave he traction control on as it wasn't intrusive.
"On my last run, I lowered tire pressure in the front from 38 to 26 psi and launched perfect. I nailed a 2.157 60-foot, shifted at 5,600, and it ran 14.08/100 even!"
With more seat time or in better weather (DA was corrected to 2,500 feet), it would certainly be a 13-second player. And with that, look for us to dial in this ST with some mods and shoot for the 13s or quicker.