Ford Focus ST 2.0

EcoBlue

Ford Focus ST 5-door, front
Ford Focus ST 5-door, front
Ford Focus ST 5-door, side
Ford Focus ST, 2019, rear seats
Ford Focus ST, 2019, boot
Ford Focus ST 5-door, rear
Ford Focus ST, cabin

A NEW version of Ford's Focus ST has just taken to the streets - and if one with a brightly coloured paint job passes you by you won't miss it.

Driving one around I lost track of the number of people who asked me if I needed sunglasses to get behind the wheel.

But while it's hardly subtle it's an effect which scores top marks when it comes to safety - it's not likely to be missed at busy junctions even when the light is fading.

And while there's a super hot 2.3-litre petrol version of the ST available it was the warm 2.0-litre diesel version of Ford's ever popular hot hatch that I tried.

With 190bhp on tap it boasts the most powerful diesel engine ever offered in a Ford Focus with a hefty 10 per cent more power and more than twice as much more torque as that of the 2.0 -litre Duratec engine used in the first generation Focus ST.

Colour apart, the new ST hatch back - there is an estate version too - is a car you are unlikely to miss. With it's dramatically sporting lines, striking side skirts, large rear window spoiler and 19-inch low profile black alloys it really is a dynamic tour-de-force.

The interior is just as impressive with high backed black Recaro sports seats, a chunky, flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and a centre-set touch screen which offers numerous onboard functions - including satellite navigation - as well as acting as the monitor for the reversing camera.

Driving an ST you don't really want to take your eyes off the road even to look at the speedo so fortunately it comes with one of the best head-up displays in the business.

There are also a lot of creature comforts like electrically adjustable heated front seats not to mention a heated steering wheel and Ford's ubiquitous - but still brilliant on icy days - heated windscreen.

On the entertainment front Bang & Olufsen speakers ensure everyone is happy with the sounds on board.

The ST comes with keyless entry and push button start/stop as well as the option of four different driving modes which can be changed at the touch of a button on the steering wheel.

There's one for slippery surfaces, one for normal driving, one for sport and one for the race track. The latter being part of an £800 performance pack optional extra.

And while both sport and race track mode deliver, with firmer steering and sharper engine response, the 190bhp power plant under the bonnet is so efficient and so torquey you will probably tend to use normal mode for most of your miles.

Whichever mode you opt for the ST offers a firm but very comfortable ride with the Recaro seats giving superb support.

The ST flows around corners like it's on rails with plenty of confidence building grip.

FAST FACTS

Ford Focus ST 2.0 EcoBlue

Price: £29,495

Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,996cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 137mph

0-62mph: 7.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.9

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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