Ford Focus ST Estate: Welcome to Parkers

  • Yellow paintjob attracts 'jealous' looks
  • Engine and exhaust note please all
  • First impressions prove positive

The Parkers car park offers a mixed bag. One week it's full of conventional, mainstream cars that you wouldn't even notice, then every so often there's a headturner in there.

Three weeks ago the Ford Focus ST Estate arrived and I'm still smiling at the response. Everyone, and I mean everyone, craned their head when they walked past it. It certainly created an impact.

There's one simple reason. It's not just yellow.

It is YELLOW.

Actually, I've got that wrong. Ford describes this as 'Tangerine Scream' (see what they've done there) and if you are of a show-offy nature it'll be right up your street. Shrinking violets need not apply.

So it's loud, but it can get louder. When it's stationary the paintjob does enough to attract admiring/condescending looks, but when you factor in the most beautiful engine sound and exhaust note you really do have an attention-grabber, bar none.

Indeed, driving through London on a busy Saturday night prompted countless glances. Some subtle, some less so. One passer-by even pointed at my vehicle, which I thought rude.

After a while it can become tiresome sitting in such a conspicuous-looking car. My wife, when it was suggested that we go to the shops to get a few bits and pieces, even offered to walk. That never ever happens.

Once you get used to the fact that you are driving a moving fairground, the ST comes into its own because it's a pleasure to drive. Handling is precise and grippy, the performance is fantastic and the steering direct. It's a little numb, but it does respond quickly, allowing you to turn in with great precision.

Of course, this car's major attraction is that it marries performance with practicality. Like any other Ford Focus derivative it offers decent boot space - 476 litres with the rear seats up and 1,502 litres with them down. That's the stats, but to put them in context, I've already used it for a four-man golf trip and the boot easily accommodated the four golf club bags and a couple of fold-up trolleys with ease.

Our car is the mid-trim ST-2. It's loaded with kit and thankfully it has sat nav and DAB radio, which is entirely welcome but I still haven't worked out how to programme in the radio stations I want yet.

So, it's the start of an interesting test. My colleague Lewis Kingston will be taking the ST on from now on and I'm sure he'll enjoy the ride. 

What do you think of the Ford Focus ST Estate? Get your opinions published in our Owners' Reviews section here.

Total mileage: 3,946 miles

Average mpg: 28.0mpg