Model tested: Ford Focus ST-3
Tested: June 2006
Road tester: Stuart Milne
Overall Rating - 83%
Ford knows a thing or two about building performance cars, but does a plain-looking hatchback with a Volvo engine make the grade?
Tick the Electric Orange box and you'll get retina-destroying orange paintwork that can be seen from space. But orange suits this lairy car, with its huge 18-inch alloys and its vents, scoops and two bazooka-like exhaust pipes at the back.
2. Looks inside
At first glance the interior is identical to a basic Focus, but there are plenty of bits to keep performance junkies happy. A trio of gauges sit atop the dash, while silver bits emblazoned with 'ST' are dotted around. The leather Recaro seats were some of the comfiest I've sat in.
There's plenty of space for your gear in the Focus; it's primarily a practical family hatchback. The boot floor isn't as deep as we'd expect, but with the seats up there's still more space than a Golf or Astra would offer.
4. Ride and Handling
The ride is firm but supple with the only detractions being over-light steering at speed and a tendency for the back to go light on bumpy roads under heavy braking – although the stability control keeps wiggling to a minimum.
A 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds doesn't sound that quick, but in-gear overtaking potential is phenomenal. Floor the throttle and the 225bhp, 2.5-litre takes the Focus to a 152mph top speed.