Reimagining what a Ford is


Ford Focus ST

We know we’ve sworn off new cars for good, but if we had to, we’d be foolish not to give the Ford Fiesta ST or the GTI-vanquishing Ford Focus ST a hard look if we were shopping in one of these segments. The Fiesta in particular, with a healthy 197 hp and 214 lb-ft of torque to move around all of ~2600 lbs (nice), sounds especially enticing. Power-to-weight ratio, anyone?


Ford Fiesta ST

With these offerings, along with its cornerstone Mustang franchise (which has probably never been better as a driver’s car than it is now), we have to wonder:

  • Is any auto manufacturer currently doing fun-to-drive, sporty-yet-practical (or even just plain sporty) cars better than Ford is doing right now?
  • Since when did Ford become Mazda?
  • Are the days of coveting unobtainable European-spec Fords finally behind us?

In any case, what a sea change from the turds we knew and loathed from the ‘Have you driven a Ford lately?’ era— the ones that are firmly (and irrevocably— or so we thought) rooted into our consciousness, despite the best straight-faced efforts of Sir Jackie Stewart:

One more look at the (Euro) Focus ST:

We honestly never thought we’d ever see such a day— shocking doesn’t even begin to describe it. Bravo, Ford— please stand up and take a bow. You deserve it.

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~ by motoringconbrio on December 6, 2012.

19 Responses to “Reimagining what a Ford is”

  1. Ford, perhaps in atonement, has been on a roll lately. I hope they continue. Ford won a special place in my heart when they took no bail out funds AND made new and decent cars. Live long and prosper, Ford.

  2. I hope that the new car buying market will support Ford on this venture!

  3. Wait.. what about those Renaults? Thought they were doing much better than the Fordish equivalents? Btw: That new Focus is just plain ugly imo. :D

  4. Can someone confirm whether these two models are essentially the same as their european counterparts? I remember when the original US focus took the country (and world) by storm. Ford then had the great idea to split the focus line for opposite sides of the pond, leaving our side to stagnate, while the Europeans’ focus went on to lead the industry in a lot of ways for a lot of years. It seems to me that they’ve righted their wrongs and re-converged the model lines to be the same model. Fingers crossed. If it’s good enough for Europe, there’s a damn good chance it’ll be good enough for the US.

    Also, for what it’s worth…”When did Mazda become Ford?”

  5. I have driven the Focus ST at the Ford drive event in San Fran. I will say that in the 6 laps of the autocross tracks I got to drive it was an absolute blast. It was fast, handled well and the brakes were good. I was able to get the rear end to step out and the way it tucks in to a corner when you get on the power is impressive. Downsides. There was a sense that the car was doing some of the work for you (we were not allowed to switch off the stability control) and that after two hard laps I could smell the brakes.

    That being said I would be very tempted by one. At least until I drive the Fiesta. It should have all the same ingredients but in a 600lb lighter car. If the Fiesta comes in at close to $20-21k, what is not to like other than the styling?

    • If you could smell the brakes then you’re doing it right :) Seriously, I would not be alarmed by this as long as the brakes didn’t suddenly go soft along with the smell.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Agreed but that was in a little over 60 seconds:) Not sure how well they would hold up to 5-10 laps of a real track. But for the road should be fine.

        • I’d venture to say that most cars in this segment (i.e., the Focus ST’s competition), and even plenty of cars above it won’t hold up to 5-10 laps of a real track with their factory brake pads, as they simply were not designed for track duty in mind (i.e., they were designed for low dust, low noise, and to have some cold bite).

          But brake pads are an easy enough upgrade for anyone serious about doing track days.

  6. You’re forgetting the Dodge Dart — it’s basically a rebadged Alfa Romeo. Would be #1 on my short list if I were in the market for a new car. (Aside: Don’t knock new cars if your job depends on reliable transportation. Can’t beat a warranty, low down payment, cheap financing or a lease)

  7. latest issue of (australian) motor magazine compared focus st – golf gti – veloster turbo – gt86. neitehr ford nor toyta could topple the gti as the best all-rounder.

  8. the Focus ST is a cool car….aside from its hideous interior and ghastly exterior. Other than that, it is a fine car.

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