Superb handling, powerful and characterful engine, hugely enjoyable to drive, well priced
Thirsty engine, poor turning circle
If you want a hot hatch with character then there are few cars to rival the Focus ST. Ford has a great heritage in making affordable, fun to drive and fast small cars and it shows. Turn the key and the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine rumbles into life with a deep growl - while a quick blip of the throttle is accompanied by a satisfying burble from the twin exhausts.
Acceleration is effortless and feels never-ending but there's more to the Focus ST than just the excellent engine. It has superbly weighted and responsive steering, a perfectly balanced chassis and strong brakes which makes it enjoyable and rewarding to drive on twisting roads. It's comfortable too with a compliant ride, while around the town the ST is as easy to drive as any other Focus.
A mid-life facelift in May 2008 gave the Ford a sharper nose and improved interior quality but one thing remains unchanged - it's still great value, especially when compared to rival hot hatches.