Ford Focus ST Estate: taking on the hatchback

  • We pit Ford's Focus ST Estate against hatchback version
  • List price is £1,100 more for the car with the bigger boot
  • Driving experience is different, Road Test Editor evaluates

The Ford Focus ST is available in two body-styles – the estate we’ve got on test and the regular hatchback we drove on the launch of the car.

We’re going to explore the differences between the two and find out which one makes the most sense.

The first thing to explore is the price. The estate model is £1,100 more than the hatchback, and for that you get a boot which is 476 litres rather than 316. Surprisingly, in terms of on-paper figures, everything else is exactly the same.

Both have 0-62mph times of 6.5 seconds, both have a 154mph top speed and both have the same fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

So is there any real difference between the two other than the size of the boot? We believe there is, since we noticed quite a difference in the way the pair drive on the road.

Road Test Editor Graeme Lambert explains:

“There’s no doubt some of the differences between these cars is down to set-up; the original Focus RS was notorious for subtle nuances of change in on-road behaviour. After speaking to other Focus ST-driving colleagues in the industry it seems the ST is exactly the same.

Ignoring tyre pressures is something done at your peril, and as the miles pile on the tread depth across the front axle rapidly disappears – so it’s no surprise the front end of the car feels different as the odometer’s figure increases. There’s a slight difference in kerbweight too, the estate being around 24Kg heavier, and the longer roof changes the centre of gravity.

Without driving both back to back the differences are almost imperceptible, but the estate always feels more lively at the rear. A sharp lift of the throttle around a bend – with the ESP system relaxed – allows a fraction more movement across the rear axle.

It never feels wayward or dangerous, but it’s there to be explored if you so wish, and the playful attitude suits the car’s nature. While front-end grip always felt strong in the dry, the steering wheel still writhed around in our hands and it was easy to spin the front wheels in anything approaching wet tarmac. To be fair, the hatchback felt broadly similar, but if anything our yellow estate proved slightly more raucous.

Talking of which, I’m not sure if it was the higher mileage meaning the engine was more run in, but the ST wagon felt more visceral than the press-fleet hatch back. The mid-range surge as the peak 360Nm of torque was delivered appeared stronger and more exciting too, and I’d wager our car was slightly faster.

For me there’s also the perverse sense of enjoyment from piloting an otherwise practical estate just as you would a ragged-edge hot hatch. Personal preference or not, in my opinion the wagon is worth the extra cash over the standard ST.”

That's a sentiment echoed by other ST estate owners. Securing ownership of a high performance hatchback wouldn't be possible when you have the demands of a family. Make it a hot estate and suddenly it is a viable option - that boot really does make a world of difference to some.

If you have a Ford Focus ST or any car then write a review and let others know what your car is like to live with here.