Ford Focus ST 2.3

EcoBoost Estate

Ford Focus ST Estate, side static
Ford Focus ST Estate, rear static
Ford Focus ST Estate, full front static
Ford Focus ST Estate, front static 1
Ford Focus ST Estate, front static 2
Ford Focus ST Estate, full rear static
Ford Focus ST Estate, dashboard
Ford Focus ST Estate, boot 2
Ford Focus ST Estate, wheel
Ford Focus ST Estate, rear seats
Ford Focus ST Estate, front seats
Ford Focus ST Estate, boot 1

FANCY a properly sporty version of Ford's family focused Focus and you're spoiled for choices, all geared around how sensible you want to be.

Least family facing - and inevitably judged most fun - will be the hatchback ST. Lighter, smaller and nimbler than other choices, it will take the majority of enthusiasts' sales.

But consider that for a modest £1,100 more you can turn hatch into estate, with loads more luggage room in its stretched body and still hit the same 155mph on the autobahn and reach 62mph in 5.8 seconds, a scant 0.1 second slower than its slightly lighter sibling.

Then, if your practicality gene wins out over ultimate fun factor you'll perhaps consider swapping the 2.3-litre petrol engine for a 2.0-litre diesel, saving a useful £3,600 and gaining a generous uplift in fuel economy.

But performance is relegated to a lower league and you're looking at a merely brisk machine, not a properly quick one. Which is probably what you wanted in the first place.

And with turbocharger working hard, the petrol powered ST feels genuinely punchy, in almost any gear at any speed. There's so much grunt at a main road gait you rarely need to trouble the nicely crisp gearchange during an overtake.

The way it goes is perhaps no surprise; the way it handles a typically uncared for stretch of British main road is, by contrast, an eyebrow-raiser. Just as you're expecting the firmed suspension to set the cabin ajudder it wafts over the imperfection with controlled ease.

You don't pay for this unexpected comfort when a corner arrives. With sticky Michelins on chunky 19ins alloy wheels, the ST will maintain heroic average speeds on a clear sighted road and induce grins and wonderment on the journey.

And all this sporting delight is contained in a car that looks only subtly different from less powerfully endowed Focus models, letting a gently muscular body kit and rear spoiler set the ST apart (and presumably leaving room for a madcap RS later).

No stinting on the standard kit, though, with a list of fittings that ranges from LED headlights that turn into corners and a heated steering wheel to rear view parking camera, adaptive cruise control and a B&O sound system.

Add in big and clear sat nav screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, parking sensors all round, heated front sports seats and an emergency spare wheel and the ST comes thoroughly well equipped.

Pay a bit more and you can add a huge glass sunroof (£995), exclusive to ST performance blue paint (£800), head up display (£400), powered tailgate (£450) and even a wireless charging pad for your compatible phone at £100.

What you won't find among the array of goodies is a cockpit with an innate upmarket feel to match the price tag. Everything fits well enough but you won't forget the Focus range start at half the price of the ST.

FAST FACTS

Ford Focus ST 2.3 EcoBoost Estate

Price: £33,095

Mechanical: 276bhp, 2,261cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-spd gearbox

Max Speed: 155mph

0-62mph:5.8secs

Combined MPG: 39.8

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 179g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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