Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The standard Ford Focus does have a raft of buttons and switches that can be confusing at first but the layout is still logical enough to make it entirely usable after a while. In a bid to let you know that you're driving something sporty Ford has included a triplet of gauges that comprises oil pressure, turbo indicator and temperature. Dashboard and interior materials are of decent quality and the driving position is almost perfect.

The front windscreen pillars are quite large but they don’t hinder visibility that much – only when you are trying to pull out at junctions with acute angles. Rear visibility is good, however.

Ford Focus ST comfort could have been compromised by the sports suspension, but it rides surprising well, even over rutted roads. Ford has achieved what many car manufacturers have not when building a sports version of a standard hatchback. Often a sporty model will handle beautifully, but end up so rigid that your molars will be under threat. First up, the suspension is capable of delivering a sweet, unflustered ride on poorly surfaced roads while staying stable on cornering.

In city centres it’ll deal with manhole covers without fuss and only the most pock-marked streets present a problem. Yes, it’s firm, and yes there are more comfortable cars out there, but this is a high performance sports car that’s good enough for daily use. Secondly, the sports seats do a good job of hemming you in on tight corners and that’s reassuring, offering a firm, yet pleasing amount of support for your back.

If you are a little on the portly side you may find them a bit tight. Wind noise has been well contained, but you do get a quite a bit of road noise, particularly when you are on the motorway. Engine noise has been suppressed well enough but Ford is dining out on the ‘distinctive’ engine sound so it’s entirely logical that the driver has the pleasure of actually hearing it when accelerating.