Autos

Ford Focus ST Edition 2021 UK review review


The ST Edition has the same wheel geometry and active diff settings as the standard ST, so it’s a fairly mild-mannered thing on a B-road. It doesn’t follow camber or bumpsteer much and, though you can feel the diff working when cornering hard under load, you don’t get much tractive corruption of the steering. The wheel doesn’t jink and squirm in your hands like those of some old RS’s once did, then. Feel is a little heavy and spongy in the car’s ‘Sport’ and ‘Racetrack’ driving modes, but it never gets fighty.

That the car’s ride is noisier than a regular ST’s is what you’re most likely to notice about it. Open, coarse surfaces make the ST Edition’s suspension roar through the uprights and into the cabin somewhat.

It’s a small price to pay for the extra incisiveness, bite and balance that the new suspension delivers, though. The ST was a bit of a specialist in those areas already, but the ST Edition really does turn in very keenly indeed, and doesn’t need asking twice to swivel its hips and rotate mid-corner on a trailing throttle. The car’s ‘ESP Sport’ mode allows you to explore the beginnings of the chassis’s playfulness without intervention; turn the electronics off completely, though, and they’ll stay off, making for wonderfully poised, 90s-hot-hatchback-level handling adjustability when you tee it up just right.

Body control is a few degrees tauter, the car’s movements shorter and more smartly reigned in, than the regular ST’s. Much of the ST Edition’s extra appeal would probably lie in tailoring its setup to perfectly suit your favourite backroad test route or trackday venue, though. The car can feel slightly firmer than a regular ST at low speeds: only occasionally brittle or jiggly, mostly just nicely gristly and tied down. 

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At higher speeds, some fluency soon materialises. Medium- and large bumps can be taken quickly with confidence and, while a bit of ride dexterity has clearly been sacrificed, the chassis never struggles to keep its wheels on the ground or its body level over complex surfaces. Most inputs are just gobbled up by the dampers crisply, quickly and without jostling you around much.



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