Small cars are increasingly also fun cars, especially when automakers take the time to build a hotter version of their entry-level options for drivers who enjoy what a lightweight, compact platform has to offer. It's a great time to be in the market for an inexpensive daily driver that is reasonably good on gas while still delivering thrills in the corners and down the straights. Vehicles like the new 2013 Ford Focus ST are showing a fresh generation of buyers the virtue of keeping it compact when searching for a high performance ride.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Ford Focus ST.
01. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Is A Long Time Coming
The 2013 Ford Focus ST is an almost direct import from Ford's European operations, where a sport-oriented edition of the compact hatchback has been available for many years. Why did it take so long for the Focus ST to cross the Atlantic and end up in American showrooms? Although the Japanese have been doing it for decades, domestic automakers like Ford simply didn’t have the confidence that buyers would flock to a high performance compact car with a European flavor. Granted, the SVT Focus provided a taste of what the brand could accomplish with a small platform in the 2000's, but the new Focus ST is cut from different, edgier cloth.
02. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Offers Turbocharged Power
The 2013 Ford Focus ST is outfitted with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that has been tuned to provide 252 horses and 270 lb-ft of torque. This unit is light years more powerful than the mill found underneath the hood of the standard Focus, and it elevates the Focus ST into the top tier of compact performance cars available in the United States. An overboost function provides an additional 15 seconds of extra torque when the pedal is mashed to the floor, and the motor's output is managed by a six-speed manual transmission that represents the only gearbox available with the hatchback.
03. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Delivers An Exciting Ride
The 2013 Ford Focus ST is more than just a hairy engine in a tiny package. The Ford Focus ST has also been outfitted with a suspension system that has been designed to offer a lower ride height and a greater capacity for hugging the road and keeping the car planted and flat during corners. Front brake rotors that are larger than the base Focus are outfitted with performance calipers in order to provide confident stopping power at any speed, and a number of unique rear end components help to further cement the Focus ST's ability to transcend expectations when pushed to the limit.
04. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Is Loaded With High-Tech Equipment
Pushing so much horsepower through the front wheels required Ford to install a number of electronic features designed to provide the smoothest acceleration, handling, and torque delivery possible. The 2013 Ford Focus ST offers an electronic stability control system that comes with an automatic torque steer compensation feature (working in conjunction with the car's electric power-assisted steering) that prevents the wheel from twisting out of the driver's hands under full throttle. The ESC system also comes with three different modes in order to deliver exactly the right amount of intervention for a given driving situation, a torque vectoring control system that helps to shunt engine output from wheel to wheel while cornering in order to improve overall stability, active understeer control, and an electronic limited-slip differential.
05. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Features Arresting Exterior Design
The 2013 Ford Focus ST's five-door hatchback design has been beefed up so as to present the image of a no-nonsense performance machine. The vehicle's front bumper offers a number of vents that help to separate its looks from the more conservatively-styled regular Focus, and the car also comes with aerodynamic side skirts, a one-piece grille, and a roof-mounted spoiler that has been designed specifically to keep drag at a minimum while still helping the car feel stable at higher speeds. Tying everything together are a set of 18-inch aluminum rims wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 tires as well as a center-exit exhaust system featuring sporty dual tips.
06. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Provides The Active Sound Symposer
The 2013 Ford Focus ST sounds great from the outside as it races away from a stop but the engineers in Europe wanted to make sure that the driver was able to get in on the fun, too. The Ford Focus ST comes with something call the Active Sound Symposer, which consists of a tube system that transmits sound from the engine bay to the passenger compartment by way of a butterfly valve that opens and closes the system depending on the vehicle's throttle position. This means that with the pedal down the ST's cabin fills with the raucous burble of the turbocharged four, and even when cruising at lower speeds a nice baritone rumbles away underneath the right foot.
07. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Offers A Number Of Upgrade Packages
The 2013 Ford Focus ST is nicely equipped right out of the box, but the vehicle can also be improved via the judicious selection of options and packages. Equipment Group 201A adds features such as HD radio, a Sony stereo system that includes a subwoofer amongst its 10 speaker setup, dual automatic climate control, and an eight-inch LCD screen. Selecting 202A really dresses up the interior of the Focus ST thanks to the addition of heated Recaro seats featuring leather upholstery - an absolute must for track fanatics - and a navigation system. On the outside, 202A brings with it HID headlights with cornering lamps and heated side view mirrors.
08. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Prioritizes Safety
In addition to the long list of electronic driver's aides that come bundled with the 2013 Ford Focus ST's electronic stability control and traction control system, the vehicle also features other protective equipment that is designed to intervene in the event of an accident. The Ford Focus ST comes with dual stage airbags for the driver and front passenger, and it also offers seat-mounted side airbags for the same two positions. Those riding in the rear of the Focus ST - as well as up front - are also kept safe thanks to the inclusion of side curtain airbags that extend along the entire length of the vehicle's passenger compartment.
09. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Comes With A Practical Interior
The 2013 Ford Focus ST is intended to serve a dual role as both a hammer-down high performance ride and a useful daily driver. In keeping with this design philosophy, the Ford Focus ST offers 23.8 cubic feet of cargo space between the rear seatback and the hatch opening - a figure that expands to a very practical 44.8 cubic feet with that same row of accommodations folded forward. As a nice touch, the Focus ST also provides a gauge pod mounted on the center of the dash that keeps track of important vehicle information such as boost, engine temperature, and oil pressure.
10. The 2013 Ford Focus ST Gives Entry To The Hot Hatch Segment
The 2013 Ford Focus ST finally grants the Detroit-based automaker admission into the hot hatch club, a select group of vehicles that so far has counted members such as the Mazda MAZDASPEED3, the Volkswagen GTI, and the Subaru WRX hatchback. The Ford Focus ST establishes itself near the top of the current pecking order, posting more horsepower than the Volkswagen GTI and better refinement from behind the wheel when compared to the MAZDASPEED3. With an entry-level price tag of $23,700, the Ford Focus ST is also appealingly affordable, especially considering the fact that even optioning the car to the gills keeps its MSRP below $30,000.