My Desert Island Blue Focus estate continues to get admiring glances, from friends, neighbours and passers-by. And one thing it gets mistaken for is the full-fat ST. Park the two side-by-side and there’s a similar body kit on my car, but the 188bhp ST is embellished by grey treatment around the front fog lights, aerodynamically optimised upper and lower grilles and a prominent ST badge to the right of the number plate. Larger 19-inch alloy wheels fill the wheelarches and there’s a larger rear spoiler. Under the skin there’s specially tuned ST suspension, and the cabin is dominated by hugely supportive part leather Recaro sports seats.
Disappointingly, the ST diesel isn’t available with an automatic gearbox, unlike its predecessor that featured a PowerShift transmission as an optional extra. Instead, buyers must make do with the slick operating six-speed manual, which is no hardship whatsoever, as it’s a delight to shift up and down the gait.
Compared to the 2.0-litre diesel ST-Line X manual, the proper ST costs an extra £2,450 for an extra 40bhp of power, 22lb ft of torque, an 8mph rise in the top speed and a second cut off the 0-62 acceleration dash. CO2 emissions also rise by 6g/km, and fuel economy drops by up to 6.1mpg on the new WLTP test cycle. This time around, the centrally mounted exhaust pipes on the old car have been re-sited, so this generation of Focus ST can tow a trailer of up to 1,800kgs. And probably most importantly for retail buyers, the ST, compared to the ST-Line X, is forecast to retain five per cent more of its value when it comes to trade-in time, three years down-the-line and after 36,000 miles.
The ST also benefits from equipment that is an optional extra on the ST-Line X,
including adaptive LED headlights (£1,050), a B&O premium audio system (£550), heated steering wheel (£150), keyless entry (£250) and adaptive cruise control (£500). When factoring that equipment in, it brings the price of the ST-Line X to £50 more than the ST. And that’s before you’ve added in any cash for the bigger 19-inch alloy wheels, the larger rear spoiler, the half leather Recaro sports seats, alloy finish pedals, rear LED tail-lights, rear parking camera and kickplates and floor mats. Once the value of all of that is factored in, too, the Focus ST and its estate counterpart actually looks like decent value for money. While £30,595 can never be described as cheap, for the long list of kit that you do get, it’s money well spent. Our researchers even managed to get that price down to £26,372, though that is conditional upon taking out Ford’s finance package. That’s an immediate saving of £4,223 and a discount of more than 13 per cent from online broker Drive The Deal (www.drivethedeal.co.uk).
Date arrived 26th April 2019
Fuel economy 45.6-49.6mpg (combined) 42.4mpg (on test)
The ST-Line X looks incredibly like the performance-led ST – even the exhaust tail pipes are sporty.
I haven’t yet, but if I’m not careful, it could be easy to catch the front spoiler on a kerb.