Ford Focus ST: Everything but the kitchen sink

  • We put Focus ST’s loadspace to the test
  • More miles make engine feel stronger
  • Spring clean makes it shine again

Familiarity often breeds contempt, and sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes to cut through the pre-conceptions and really see a car for what it is.

That’s certainly the case with the Parker’s Ford Focus ST Estate long termer; a car that had clearly lost some of its lustre within the editorial team.

When I first arrived in the office there was plenty of talk about its torque-steering characteristics, poor fuel economy and rather rude-boy looks thanks to the bright yellow paint.

But it seemed that people were missing the very fundamentals of this car – a fast estate equally as capable of carrying large loads as stretching a grin across the driver’s face. And so it fell to my hands to put those points to the test.

First up was a 300 mile round trip to Chippenham for a car launch, where the ST spent most of its time sat at the legal limit on the motorway.

Even with a brief trip along some twisting backroads, where the muscular 2.0-litre turbocharged engine made short work of the straights between bends, the trip computer revealed an average 31.7mpg.

That’s still some way off the claimed combined 39.2mpg figure, but considering the performance on offer it’s nothing to complain about.

Having just passed 10,000 miles the engine in this ST estate feels decidedly more lively than the press-fleet fresh hatchback I drove recently too.

Of course that sharper punch does play its part on the road, and the ST estate wanders under full throttle, the wheel writhing in your hands as the front rubber finds traction.

It’s not dangerous, but careful throttle modulation, a strong grip on the wheel and quick reactions are needed.

But it’s all part of the Ford’s character, and the ST has it in spades. Take it by the scruff of its neck and, though it lacks the finesse of a Renault Megane RenaultSport, the Focus can get from A to B very quickly indeed. And its French rival isn’t available as an estate.

Which is pretty critical for us; nearing the end of a house renovation means we’ve often got plenty of materials in need of transporting.

With 1,502-litres of load space (with the seats folded) the Focus ST estate is perfect, and it swallowed our unused kitchen components with relative ease – though a fold-flat front passenger seat would have improved its performance even further.

So over five hundred miles later, with a smile on my face and the DIY disposed off I was left rather convinced by the Ford Focus ST estate.

Sure a proper hot hatch might be more fun on track, and the flashes of yellow seat upholstery aren’t to my taste, but as an all-rounder the ST is hard to beat.

In fact I was so impressed with it, I even took the ST to get washed. Now it’s clean again I have a feeling it might shine brighter among the team again as well.

Ford Focus ST interior

Not just pace but also space. Estate swallows kitchen leftovers

Total mileage: 10,052 miles

Average mpg: 31.7mpg