Ford Focus ST: Ownership thrills

  • Attention to detail impresses with hot performance estate
  • Neat touches such as Ford's clever Sync
  • Send texts and use voice commands to summon music

Ownership experiences are often won or lost on the smallest of details.

A neat trick or annoying detail can turn a car buyer into a passionate advocate or critical owner.

Given that the ST is always going to appeal to the heart thanks to its performance credentials (and that loud paint work!) then it needs some real surprise and delight to woo drivers.

It’s been well reported how both the performance and practical side of the ST have won fans in the office, but there are some other really nice touches which make ownership a real pleasure for me.

One of the most useful is the Ford's 'SYNC' system which enables me to not only hook up my mobile via Bluetooth but provides enhanced controls for it. It’s a simple process and hooked up for the first time the ST automatically recognises my mobile every time I get in.

But it's not just how easy it is to make phone calls but its ability to read out and take text messages that impresses. The visual display prompts me about anty new messages and will even read it out for me before I select a pre-prepared response such as ‘Can’t talk now’ or ‘Call you later’ using the car's controls.

However, it hasn't worked all of the time for all members in the office, and not all smart phones can access this functionality. My iPhone is a point in case so worth checking whether what functions your mobile can access – Ford has a handy tool for this here.

However, I can hook my iPhone up via the USB port and access my music through the car’s controls. Again Sync has a neat trick in that I can ask the car for a particular track by simply pressing a button on the steering wheel and saying 'USB' before requesting my chosen artist and track for it to start seamlessly.

Of course there’s humour to be had if your playlist includes such bands as ‘Bongo Sherbet and the Electrified Yeti Wobblers’ or appropriately for cars ‘Diesel Dick and the Dipsticks’, especially if you have passengers.  

Car parking knocks and dings are one of my pet hates and I often prefer to park away from other cars to try to protect the car. However, Saturday shopping or parking at railway stations often means this isn’t possible.

But Ford has another answer to my problems with the ST's door protectors that pop out and wrap round the door edge as the door is opened.

It’s a simple but effective trick that prevents paint swapping with neighbouring cars, though I wish it didn’t sound like a biro rattling around the door pocket each time it operates. Still it does work and all doors feature the innovation.  

Most people would be pretty careful opening doors so are the door protectors unnecessary frippery. Given it is an optional extra (currently £85) on the ST-2 and 3 (not available on the entry level ST) the question to ask is how ham-fisted are you or your passengers likely to be?

What's your car like to own? Leave your very own review here and reveal what life is like with your car.

Iphone connection via USB

Connecting an iPod or iPhone for music is really this easy

Focus ST screen message for iPhone

Confirmation that iPhone is hooked up and ready to play tunes

Total mileage: 9,402 miles

Average mpg: 30.3mpg