Ford Focus ST | Spotted

Every era has had its fast Ford icon. Right now itโ€™s probably the Fiesta ST. But once upon a time it had a Cosworth badge, and for good few years it was an assortment of rear-wheel drive Escorts. And while it might not spring immediately to mind, the five-cylinder Focus ST is probably deserving of lofty status, too.

Think about it. It was cheap (from ยฃ17,500 in 2005); it was fast (thanks to that lovely old Volvo engine it would do 150mph); it handled nicely (as fast Fords of the era always have); and it was extremely orange โ€“ as made famous by that Top Gear video. Moreover, it came at a time when the hot hatch was enjoying a resurgence, with a host of manufacturers offering a variety of wares: revs came from Honda,ย loutish enthusiasm came from Vauxhall, V6 sophistication came from VW and Renault Sport had finally worked out what to do with the Megane. It was a great time for the segment, and the Focus was more than competitive, delivering on the fast Ford promises of value, entertainment and plentiful performance.

With the new Focus ST soon to reach customers, itโ€™s an interesting time to revisit the five-cylinder car. With the new Ecoboost model festooned with modes and settings, we can look back fondly at how sophisticated having variable steering was in the mid-2000s. Now itโ€™s a surprise not to find it fitted. The wheel itself hasnโ€™t a single button on it, the dials are remarkably simple and the analogue gauges almost quaint in a world of endless configurable digital displays.

Arguably, though, thatโ€™s the joy of cars from this era: sufficiently modern in terms of performance, safety and driving dynamics to be enjoyable, yet not swamped with an overwhelming amount of technology. That five-cylinder engine is, of course, a big part of the fun, too โ€“ and eminently tuneable, as proven by the RS.ย 

While being fast, fun and affordable brought the ST many fans, it also soon revealed a problem: cracked cylinder liners. Itโ€™s become a well known issue, which is why this STย appeals so much. The engine was rebuilt just a thousand miles ago, at a cost of ยฃ4,000.

Some might be wary of the rest of the car as a result, but the ad suggests the engine issue only emerged once it was up for sale. Itโ€™s now been rebuilt, the running-in service has been completed and the ST is ready to roll, with lots more to be encouraged by. The rest of the car has only seen 62,000 miles, the ad is long and there are worthwhile mods already fitted should the next owner pursue more power. It also looks in fine condition for a car that, letโ€™s not forget, is approaching its teenage years.

So while there are cheaper STs around - not to mention a whole host of rivals offering their own USPs - this Focusโ€™s mechanical freshness and its apparently diligent owner count for a lot. Indeed the only thing that might be holding it back is the paint scheme, because for some only orange will do. Still, you canโ€™t have everythingโ€ฆ


Engine:ย 2,521cc, five-cyl turbo
Transmission:ย 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp):ย 225@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft):ย 236@1,600-4,000rpm
MPG:ย 30
CO2:ย 224g/km
First registered:ย 2007
Recorded mileage:ย 62,000
Price new:ย c. ยฃ18,000
Yours for:ย ยฃ7,500

See the original advert here.

Click here to find Ford Focus STs.

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Comments (80) Join the discussion on the forum

  • rossub 11 Sep 2019

    These have taken over from the Impreza as the Chav chariot of choice I'm afraid.

  • cerb4.5lee 11 Sep 2019

    I've always liked these mostly for the engine. I came very close to buying one a couple of years ago and it is a car that I would like to experience one day for sure.

  • sheepman 11 Sep 2019

    I saw one of these at a sprint event on sunday and forgot how good they sound without a stupid crackle/bang map on the over run.

  • The Vambo 11 Sep 2019

    Purely out of interest, how much of a power increase would say £5K get from this the ST engine?

  • 768 11 Sep 2019

    Bought one over 10 years ago.

    Still can't bring myself to sell it, pretty sure mine's not worth half of £7.5k.

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