2006 Ford Focus ST 2.3L Duratec from North America
A sports sedan for an economy-car price
Backup lights cut out.
Rattling in glove box area.
Volkswagon GTI. Subaru WRX. Mazdaspeed 3.
These are all great small performance cars. But they are, it should be noted, not great economy cars. The GTI is unreliable and expensive to repair. The WRX uses a lot of gas. The Mazdaspeed 3 is known for engine failures.
This is where the Ford Focus ST comes in. The Focus ST is not in the same league of those vehicles. Its engine kicks out 151hp and a 154ft/lb of torque. It is a good engine, with lots of pull, but the Focus ST will still get its doors blown off by most V6 family sedans.
But that doesn't mean the Focus ST isn't a series driver's car. The Focus ST is only available with a manual. It has a decent gearbox and an amazing exhaust note. The steering is brilliant. It may not go as quickly as a GTI, but stick it into a corner and it keeps up just as well. This is not only because of the steering, but also because it is much lighter than the previously mentioned cars, and you'll feel that when you get into the twisty stuff.
What makes the Focus ST unique, however, is that it is very cheap to run. Its gas mileage is on par with economy cars, parts are cheap, reliability is good. Plus, thanks to Ford's less than stellar resale value, a Focus ST can be purchased used for less than $7k without much trouble. And that's including heated leather seats, enhanced sound system, sunroof, and etc.
The only downside is that, well, it's a Focus. It is a good looking car in blue or red, but even so it is not a "cool" car in most peoples eyes, so don't expect anyone to be jealous over your new ride. The interior quality is also lacking, at least in comparison to a GTI or Mazdaspeed3. There are a few squeaks and rattling and some panels are not aligned as well as they should be.
Overall I am very happy with this car. If I was made of money I'd rather have a GTI for its enhanced practically, better looks, and extremely torquey engine, but I'd be afraid it would turn into a money pit. The Ford Focus ST is perfect for those who want a car that hands exceptionally but don't want to spend a lot or worry about long-term reliability.
This is also a good car for newbie piston-heads, as it drives extremely well, but doesn't have so much power that you end up putting yourself in a ditch.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th September, 2009
14th Feb 2010, 01:38
This is the original author.
I have put about 8000 miles on the car in the last year. Besides a cracked rear tail light, which is letting condensation form, I don't have anything wrong to report mechanically.
I am still very happy with the car. As I mentioned in my review, this car is just going to be a Focus, and sometimes I find myself wanting something "cooler" like a GTI or WRX. But I went and drove a WRX, and came back from it thinking that it really wasn't that much better than my car.
Faster? Sure. More fun to drive? Not really. And when you consider that the WRX would cost 10 grand more to buy (comparable years and mileage), it just doesn't make sense. If I want to go faster, I'll just throw a limited slip and a turbo on my ST. That would cost me about 4 grand, and would put me on par with the WRX.
I might end up trading the Focus in on a Fiesta, because I love small cars. The Focus is honestly on the large side of what I normally like to drive. But I'll have to wait and see how the Fiesta feels on the test drive.
5th Mar 2010, 18:54
The problem with this article (survey) is you're putting the ST in the wrong class. The Focus, no matter what model (excluding http://www.netcarshow.com/ford/2006-focus_st/02.htm), belongs with the Mazda3 (not Speed3), Subaru Impreza (not WRX), and the non-GTI model Golf. The cars you're comparing the ST to are out of its class, not even considering price.
25th Jul 2010, 01:18
It is true that the Focus ST isn't in the same class as the GTI or the WRX. It is very comparable to the standard Mazda 3, but I think it feels a little sharper and a little quicker.
It is definitely better than the standard VW Golf, if for no other reason than the fact that the base 5 cylinder sounds like a lawn mower engine.