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2014 Ford Focus

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The 2014 Ford Focus ST Review: Around the world, Ford’s Focus is a small, five-passenger vehicle that’s priced within reach of most buyers. The ST, which stands for Sport Technologies in Ford’s world, transitions into a 154-mile-per-hour racer, thanks to a 2.0-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine. When you put your right foot on the sporty-looking metal-covered accelerator pedal, it’s generating 252 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. That is about double what an ordinary compact hatchback delivers in its daily getting about town.

The Focus’ AdvanceTrac system stability control system lets you choose from three settings: Standard for normal driving, Sport, when traction is controlled by the driver, and Off, which shuts the system down for track use. The variable-rate rack-and-pinion electrically assisted steering delivers great feel in town and on the curving back roads, but I noticed that the turning radius was surprising large in parking garages.

There are plenty of ways to remind you that the ST is no ordinary Focus. Starting on the outside, available paint colors include Tangerine Scream and Performance Blue (my test car was the latter, and looked great). The grille is large and open, with slashes through it that make it appear more menacing. The lower body cladding, spoiler and exhaust ports below the bumper add to the hunkered-down look as well.

Inside, the first thing that stands out is the set of Recaro racing seats. They feature very deep bolsters top and bottom, and wear the ST logo in the neck area. My tester’s seats were wrapped in stunning black and blue partial leather. The steering wheel wears a silver ST badge, and the handsome gearshift knob combines leather and a silvery top, with the traditional bag. The headliner and pillars are a sporty black.

The dash, already angular and edgy in any Focus, boasts an extra set of small gauges at the top, where you can monitor the boost pressure from the twin turbos, flanked by an oil temperature gauge on the left and an oil pressure gauge on the right. Garden variety models don’t get those.

Ford’s Sync system can be tricky to use, but the one in the Focus is pretty straightforward. The center screen on the dash provides a home page, with four quadrants of information. The upper left is for the Bluetooth phone connection; the upper right shows navigation; the lower left displays your entertainment selection; and the lower right your climate settings. Truly a dashboard within a dashboard, it gives you an eye on everything at once. Just touch the outside edge of any quadrant to open up the full screen, where you can make new selections.

The Focus does the same with the instrument panel. Besides reading your speed and rpm (and fuel level), another quadrant setup shows you a timer, fuel economy, trip odometer and distance to empty all at once. Or, use a steering wheel mounted control to scroll through them. I liked having my eight little boxes showing at all times to keep a watch on everything. I tended to change the audio entertainment most often, and the little quadrant is large enough to provide six presets. Or, use the steering wheel button. You can also try voice commands, which are especially good for phone dialing and answering.

On the road, the ST sings a sporty exhaust note, thanks to a carefully designed “sound symposer.” It puts more roar into the engine note than a modest 2.0-liter four might have otherwise. The six gears on the manual transmission (the only gearbox available in the ST) are designed with a nice low for quick startups and a long .94 overdrive in sixth for better fuel economy. The numbers are 23 City, 32 Highway, and 26 Combined per the EPA. I achieved 23.8 mpg in much too much bumper-to-bumper commuting. Green vehicle scores are 5 for Smog and 7 for Greenhouse Gas.

A small car need not be an unsafe place to ride. The 3,223-lb. Focus ST proudly displays an overall five-star Government Safety Rating, the top score, and earns “Good” in all of the IIHS crash ratings. Basing a fun, sporty car on a common hatchback pays off in the pricing. The ST will set you back $24,910. My tester added an upgraded audio system and dual-zone automatic climate control in a package, some very trendy 18-inch Rado grey alloy wheels, and a reasonably priced navigation system. The total MSRP price was $28,465. That’s competitive with all the other hot hatches on the market. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

 

The Bottom Line: The 2014 Ford Focus ST is a twin turbo, 252 HP, 154 MPH, sport hatchback that is assembled in Michigan, is exhilarating to drive, stunning to look at, inside and out, won’t break the bank, can carry near 45 cubic feet of cargo when you want to, and it really does everything well. This is Ford’s small car with big power, a low entry price and is packed with fun things.

Like the sporty interior, turbo charged engine and a six speed manual transmission, the ST model is loaded with options that make it a very hot hatchback. Prices start at just under $25,000 and go to $30K plus at the top end, right in the middle of the pack price wise, and maybe, just for that reason alone, you should Drive one, and Buy one, Today ©
Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net

The 2014 Ford Focus ST Bottom Line Review provided by:  Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net - “Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember:  “ You Are What You Drive©”

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Column Name: A twin turbo 252 HP 154 MPH sport hatchback
Topic: The 2014 Ford Focus ST
Word Count: 1,026         
Photo Caption: The 2014 Ford Focus ST
Photo Credits: Ford Focus Internet Media
Series #:  2014 - 25

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