The Ford Focus ST recently was crowned as ‘2014 Hot Hatch of The Year’ at the wheels magazine’s Car of the Year Awards, beating the VW Golf GTI and the Mercedes A45 AMG.
Run by the UAE’s only English weekly automotive magazine, the wheels COTY Awards recognise new vehicle models in different categories while giving the opportunity to readers to vote online for the Readers’ Choice Award.
“The Focus ST has gained tremendous popularity here in the Middle East, among both hard-core motorists and motoring experts,” said Paul Anderson, Ford Middle East’s director of Marketing. “It has become a favourite to many thanks to its fantastic driving dynamics and performance combined with its great looks to deliver a truly exhilarating driving experience.
“This new accolade joins the long list of recognitions under Focus ST’s belt, adding yet another proof point that this model is by far the leader of its segment,” Anderson added. “This award is a vote of confidence to Ford for delivering vehicles that customers want, with industry-leading technologies, attractive design, as well as superior quality and driving dynamics, all at an outstanding price package.”
Amit Benjamin, editor of wheels and head of the awards committee, said: “Although it’s going against very tough competitors […], the Ford [ST] was never in any real danger of not being our segment winner. It just has too much going for it.
“The Focus ST boasts a superb lowered chassis that has proper hot hatch manners; understeer on corner entry, oversteer on lift off. Perfect. […] When it comes to driving thrills, the Focus ST delivers just as much for less than half the money at Dhs 95,000. Now that makes the ST a seriously good performance bargain – and, unsurprisingly, our Hot Hatch of the Year.”
Performance meets efficiency under the hood
Focus ST is powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine, which offers an uncompromising mix of performance and efficiency. The 154-mph hot hatch achieves an outstanding EPA-estimated rating of 9.77 km/L city and 13.60 km/L highway, with 252 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque.
Focus ST’s lightweight, all-aluminum EcoBoost engine provides the power of a larger engine in a fuel-efficient smaller displacement, leveraging three key technologies. Mated to the 2.0-liter EcoBoost is a six-speed manual transmission, which has specially revised gearing to produce the maximum punch from each throw of the gearshift.
Sound and driving dynamics
Sound engineers ensured Focus ST’s four-cylinder EcoBoost engine delights drivers with a robust tone. A significant part of this process is the famed sound symposer, first found on the previous Focus ST and subsequently employed on the European Focus RS and RS500 models.
Driving dynamics are at the heart of Focus ST. Innovation and technology combine to create a chassis capable of exceeding the expectations of the most demanding driving enthusiast, while giving even novice motorists an unforgettable drive.
From the driver’s seat, customers will experience the Ford sport steering system. This variable-ratio steering rack is designed to increase the agility of Focus ST on winding roads, yet still inspire the same high-speed confidence.
The unique system makes steering less sensitive when driving in a straight line, but increases the feel during cornering. Drivers can keep their hands firmly gripped on the steering wheel through tight hairpins, maximizing their control over the car. It also has benefits in slow-speed situations such as tight parking maneuvers, with minimal input needed from the driver to direct the car into a parking space.
Bold look inside and out
The exhilarating drive of the Focus ST will have customers spending as much time behind the steering wheel as possible. With that in mind, Ford designers worked hard to ensure the interior of Focus ST is a great place to be, helping the driver to feel as connected to the car as possible.
The interior of the core Focus model is designed with a cockpit feel. In the ST, that sporty feeling is heightened with everything the driver touches and feels, reinforcing that it is unmistakably an ST model.
Details range from specially designed pedals, steering wheel and gearshift. The darker headline and trim on the pillars, an integral part of ST design DNA, adds to the performance driving feel.
With its striking one-piece interpretation of Ford’s signature trapezoidal grille, its sculpted side skirts and dynamic rear bumper with prominent diffuser-style vents in the lower fascia, Focus ST’s design adds aggression and aerodynamic stability compared to the base models.