Proving there’s plenty of both “Eco” and “Boost” within its advanced 2.0-liter EcoBoost I4 engine, the 2013 Ford Focus ST will deliver EPA grades of 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined to go with its 252 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. That makes the Focus ST the greenest of the hottest hatches in today’s marketplace, with better fuel-economy numbers than rivals like the Volkwswagen GTI or Mazdaspeed3.
According to Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development, it’s “just one more example of the ‘win-win’ in the Focus ST narrative. This kind of performance combined with these high levels of efficiency sets a new benchmark with this car.”
2013 Ford Focus ST: Hatchback Heaven
In recently announcing the fuel-efficiency ratings of the 2013 Ford Focus ST, the Blue Oval made some fairly interesting comparisons to past Foci: The previous-generation Focus, for example, could reach 35 mpg on the highway, but that was with an old-school I4 engine that made a mere 140 hp and 136 lb.-ft. of torque. But thanks to EcoBoost technologies like twin turbocharging and twin independent variable camshaft timing, the Focus ST provides 80 percent more horsepower and 98.5 percent more torque while seeing a reduction in highway fuel economy of just about 8.6 percent.
Yet, it’s in comparison to hi-po hatchback rivals like the VW GTI and Mazdaspeed3 that the Focus ST really shines. Looking at manually transmissioned models—the Ford only comes with a six-speed DIY gearbox—the Volkswagen is actually pretty close to the Focus ST in terms of EPA ratings. The former, as mentioned, goes 23/32/26, and the latters manages 21/31/25. However, the GTI is well down in the power department, with 201 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque as compared to the ST’s also previously mentioned 252 hp/270 lb.-ft.
On ye olde other hand, the Mazda’s engine is a bit stronger, with 263 hp and 280 lb.-ft. of twist, but you have to give up 5 mpg in the city, 7 mpg on the highway and 5 mpg in combined driving to get it.
The Focus ST also has another kind of green advantage over this pair—it costs less money. The Ford is stickered from $23,700, while the Mazda opens at $24,000 and the Volkswagen (five-door) has an MSRP of $24,595.
2013 Ford Focus ST: In a Different Class
Now, with the sudden surge of interest in affordable sporty cars, some drivers will certainly be tempted to cross-shop the Focus ST against potential rivals from outside the traditional compact-hatchback class. But the Ford offers strong advantages even against the likely candidates here.
The Scion FR-S? Yes, it’s a “true” sports car, with rear-wheel-drive and sleek styling, but its “2+2” interior is nowhere near as versatile as the Focus’ cabin; further, even with the Scion’s low curb weight, the Ford’s 50 hp advantage and own svelte proportions give it a better power-to-weight ratio, while also enabling a small advantage with the EPA. Oh, and the Focus is more than a grand less expensive, with a massive advantage of 122 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Hyundai Veloster Turbo? Sure, it’s almost $2,000 cheaper than the Focus, and capable of 30 mpg in combined driving, but again, this is a significantly less powerful car. Also, while the Veloster’s smart packaging gives it a bit more interior space than the Focus, the Ford does have two full-size rear doors to make it easier to use—even though the Hyundai has that hidden third door on the passenger side.
The Subaru Impreza WRX? No, the Focus ST doesn’t have an answer for the Subaru’s full-time all-wheel-drive, but that system leaves the WRX with a price tag that’s $1,895 higher than the Ford’s, along with EPA marks of just 17/23/19. The numbers translate into a Ford bonus of 6 mpg city/9 mpg highway/7 mpg combined, and that’s in addition to an extra 28 lb.-ft. of torque; the WRX does bring an added 10 more horses to the party, although much of that will be negated by the car’s slightly higher curb weight.
The one clear-cut advantage all these other rivals do have? They're on sale now, while the 2013 Ford Focus ST is just getting to dealerships this summer.
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