FORD FOCUS ST

The Ford Focus ST tends to take a blunter approach to the hot hatch genre with straight-out powerplant muscle – 184kW of power and 360Nm of torque.

It’s always been the ST’s Achilles heel about how to deliver all that power to the ground and get around some of the steering behaviour that results. So Ford worked hard to address this with an upgrade in 2015 which saw significant improvements to the front suspension, steering and driver input signals to complement the ST’s stability control system.

Overall, the handling characteristics have improved and, combined with an equal best-in-class score for performance, the ST has stepped up to the top position this year.

And the refresh does not stop there, with considerable interior improvements made. Gone is the busy ‘Bermuda Triangle-style’ central button array to be replaced by a more intuitive and user-friendly layout. This includes a new, eight-inch touch-screen that now incorporates satellite navigation. Active xenon front headlights also complement the standard equipment list.

The Focus ST uses Ford’s acclaimed SYNC 2 system, which can automatically alert emergency utilities such as police and ambulance should it detect that you have been involved in a serious crash.

The car’s sports persona is apparent straight away as you slide into what we consider to be best-in-class front sports seats. These are well bolstered and certainly able to provide the right sort of comfort and support for every type of driving style.

Various exterior upgrades and treatments have been applied to round off the overall package that gives the Focus ST even more sporting prowess. This is a car that knows its market and is playing to it.

Score
1ST: FORD FOCUS ST, 676
2ND: RENAULT MEGANE RS265 CUP, 658
3RD: FORD FIESTA ST, 652