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    Thread: I got substantial seat time in a 2013 Ford Focus ST: Ask Me Anything

    1. 06-27-2012 11:30 AM #1
      Super long-time lurker, minimal poster. I'm the owner of Focaljet.com, a Ford Focus enthusiast website, and was part of a group of media who were invited to France to drive the upcoming 2013 Focus ST.

      I spent approximately eight hours and 500 kilometers in a euro-spec Focus ST last week on some great roads just outside Vence, France. Half driving, and half as a passenger.



      I thought my experience might be of some interest to TCL. So, without further ado, ask me anything.
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    2. Member Chmeeee's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 11:36 AM #2
      Tell me about the variable ratio steering. How variable is it? How do you like it/not like it?

      I'll be driving it in a few weeks in Boston, looking forward to it.
      Quote Originally Posted by Captain 'Murica! View Post
      What if my idea is to go faster around a track than your idea?

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      06-27-2012 11:39 AM #3
      Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?

    4. Senior Member NoDubJustYet's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 11:40 AM #4
      Did Ford happen to mention what differences there will be between the European and US/Canuckistan models?

      Are you able to compare/contrast the ST with any of the other "hot hatches" currently available in the US? Performance? Fit & Finish? Every-day-usability?

      Did Ford provide any of the ST's European competitors to drive alongside the ST?

      Thanks!

    5. 06-27-2012 11:44 AM #5
      I went for a few hot laps around Hallett Raceway the other week in a Focus ST. Non-Ford employees were not allowed to drive it unfortunately, but from the passenger seat I was highly impressed. Plenty of power and grip it seemed. I loved the SVT Focus and the ST seems to fill that niche nicely.

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      06-27-2012 11:46 AM #6
      These are very attractive cars IMO.

      Me Gusta.
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      Top gear recommended it, so I bought it.

    7. 06-27-2012 12:02 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Chmeeee View Post
      Tell me about the variable ratio steering. How variable is it? How do you like it/not like it?

      I'll be driving it in a few weeks in Boston, looking forward to it.
      We gave the EPAS/variable-ration steering quite a workout in the mountains. In terms of specs for the ratios, I don't have that but will add it to my list of questions I'll be following up on with Ford.

      I found the system to be pretty unobtrusive and about as natural as something like this can feel. I think that Ford's EPAS tuning is some of the best I've driven.

      It weighted up nicely when attacking switchbacks, and while the feel still may be called artificial by some, it did provide a lot of feedback. On the route there were many tight hairpins. And driven hard, where the variable ration came into play, I don't recall even really needing to take either hand off the wheel. A quick 180-degree crossover was all that was required. Although, I should note that the rear suspension is upgraded over the standard Focus which helped the car rotate nicely.

      Conversely at low speeds (parking, etc.) it was effortless.

      All in all, I have to give it high marks for being as 'analog' as is currently available on a car in this price range employing those technologies. Along with the actual benefit of making the car easier to drive around town, and at speed.
      Last edited by Focaljet; 06-27-2012 at 12:05 PM.
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    8. Member Egz's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:08 PM #8


      What was your opinion of the Acoustic Sound System? Gimicy, or effective?

    9. Member seminole_kev's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:09 PM #9
      I'll admit I'm pretty interested in this car. Though would want to subdue it visually as much as possible (ie not opting for some of the more "interesting" interior color combos)

      Glad FocalJet is still going strong. Used to hang out there a fair amount when we had a couple of the 1st gen Focuses.

    10. Member oscar563's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:12 PM #10
      Comparisson impressions:

      Is the Focus ST more like a GTI or a Golf R? What do you think is it's natural competitor?

      On paper it looks like a head-to-head bash between the ST & the R but I'm not so sure that will be the case in real-life, but then again I didn't get any seat-time on it.

      I'm really interested in this new attempt from Ford to bring the cool european models here instead of developing US-market specific sucky cars. If you look at it this is the very first REAL competitor for VW in the hot-hatch segment.

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      06-27-2012 12:14 PM #11
      Is the shifter linked mechanically or some type of drive by wire (electronically)? Do you get feedback from the gearbox?

    12. 06-27-2012 12:23 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by NoDubJustYet View Post
      Did Ford happen to mention what differences there will be between the European and US/Canuckistan models?

      Are you able to compare/contrast the ST with any of the other "hot hatches" currently available in the US? Performance? Fit & Finish? Every-day-usability?

      Did Ford provide any of the ST's European competitors to drive alongside the ST?

      Thanks!
      In regards to differences, AFAIK they are minimal, and only include small cosmetic items, or things that are country-specific.

      For instance, North American models don't get the LED strip head/taillights. The nav system was different. We get MyFordTouch (MFT), etc.

      But, for all intents and purposes, the cars sold worldwide are more alike I believe than any previous Ford product. For instance North America, Europe and Asia all get exactly the same tire on the car. Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2s to be exact.

      Speaking in terms of US only competitors, Ford is matching the ST to the GTI. It's similar in size, price, door count (although the Focus is 5-Door only) and features. However, the ST has a substantial leg up on HP.

      Now, you can put it against the Golf R and the R will probably come out on top. But, I think it's a lot closer than people think. Along with be substantially less expensive. Don't get me wrong, I love the R. But, if you are on a budget, you owe it to yourself to at least drive the ST.

      Also, a lot of people will include the Mazdaspeed3 in the list. And, while it's similarly priced, and has more HP, it's feeling a bit long in the tooth these days IMO.

      Fit and finish was really good on the cars we drove. I won't make a final critique until I see a US production car. If they can hold the quality of what we drove, then I think they will give VW a run for their money.

      One note on the optional Recaro seats. They are very nice, but a bit tight. I am suggesting that anyone considering ordering them not do so unless they try them first.

      Lastly, we did not get the chance to drive any competitive metal.
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    13. 06-27-2012 12:27 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Egz View Post


      What was your opinion of the Acoustic Sound System? Gimicy, or effective?
      You are referring to what Ford is calling the Sound Symposer.

      http://media.ford.com/article_displa...ticle_id=36499

      I have to be honest, I went into it thinking it was going to be a gimmick. But, in the end, it really does add to the fun of the car.

      And, just to be clear, it's not creating any artificial sound (THAT would be a gimmick) but simply shall we say amplifying the induction sound. And, it only does it at appropriate times. It fades into the background if the car is being driven easily.
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    14. Member bzcat's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:29 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Focaljet View Post

      One note on the optional Recaro seats. They are very nice, but a bit tight. I am suggesting that anyone considering ordering them not do so unless they try them first.
      This was my concern. I have Recaro in my car now but they are not the narrow bucket type seat Ford is using. Aside from the snug fit, how was the back and thigh support? Also, does it make getting in and out of the car difficult (high/hard side bolster cushion etc)? Which version of Recaro did you try... the cloth or leather one?

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      06-27-2012 12:30 PM #15
      Awesome, thanks for the info.

      I haven't seen any new STs up my way and the local Ford dealers rarely carry any of the premium models so I appreciate the info. I was hoping to test drive a Euro-spec ST or at least sit in one but the nicest thing thing I can find on the lots is the outgoing Mondeo.

    16. Member JCJetta's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:33 PM #16
      How's it shift - I'm basing this question especially on the fun-as-hell 2nd to 3rd gear pull. How about torque steer? Since the ST is lacking Revo-Knuckle, how is the feedback with respect to keeping the wheels planted deep in 2nd gear on straights and turns?

      You've driven an MS3, yes? Compare the two.

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      06-27-2012 12:35 PM #17
      In for latter reading.
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    18. Member Jordan 191's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:39 PM #18
      How are the brakes?

    19. 06-27-2012 12:39 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by oscar563 View Post
      Comparisson impressions:

      Is the Focus ST more like a GTI or a Golf R? What do you think is it's natural competitor?

      On paper it looks like a head-to-head bash between the ST & the R but I'm not so sure that will be the case in real-life, but then again I didn't get any seat-time on it.

      I'm really interested in this new attempt from Ford to bring the cool european models here instead of developing US-market specific sucky cars. If you look at it this is the very first REAL competitor for VW in the hot-hatch segment.
      You posted while I was replying to an earlier post and touching on the subject, so I'll follow up.

      I have to say first off that I have not driven an R (I plan too when the opportunity arises). Although I did speak with a couple journalists that have. They were actually split. One gave the nod to the R (when price is not factored in) and the other put the ST much closer to the R.

      I know this is a VW enthusiast site, and I personally have been a GTI fan since '83. I still think of it as the gold standard of US hot hatches. But, without any intentional bias, I can say that the ST takes the lead at this point.

      The R is a trickier proposition. I think it's a phenomenal car. And, for many, the right choice. It's got AWD, probably gets the nod on fit/finish/features, and even a couple of extra ponies. It also may have more cachet. At least in some circles. However, you can't ignore the price difference.
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    20. 06-27-2012 12:41 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by jumbo11 View Post
      Is the shifter linked mechanically or some type of drive by wire (electronically)? Do you get feedback from the gearbox?
      It's mechanical AFAIK. And, I would assume cable-operated. But, I will be certain to confirm.
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    21. 06-27-2012 12:47 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
      This was my concern. I have Recaro in my car now but they are not the narrow bucket type seat Ford is using. Aside from the snug fit, how was the back and thigh support? Also, does it make getting in and out of the car difficult (high/hard side bolster cushion etc)? Which version of Recaro did you try... the cloth or leather one?
      Ingress/egress was actually not too bad. I should specify that it came down strictly to the seat bottom/bolsters feeling a big snug. Also, I would have like the bottom to have more thigh support. The seat back, while tight, was good. For reference, I am 6'3" 215lbs. and a 38" waist.

      Both cars I drove had what comes with the US "ST2" package. They are partial leather, with the rest being cloth.

      One thing I found out after the fact is that I believe the full-leather option seat has an additional thigh support that pulls out. But, I have not confirmed that. If that's the case, I would have gone out of my way to sample those seats. I had assumed they were identical save for the additional leather surfaces.
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    22. Senior Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 12:57 PM #22
      Wow. Thanks for the information.

      What's the release date on the U.S. version? Do we yet know the MSRP?

      Since I'm a 5' 8" 160 lb. twerp, I assume the Recaros will fit me pretty well, correct?
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    23. 06-27-2012 01:03 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by JCJetta View Post
      How's it shift - I'm basing this question especially on the fun-as-hell 2nd to 3rd gear pull. How about torque steer? Since the ST is lacking Revo-Knuckle, how is the feedback with respect to keeping the wheels planted deep in 2nd gear on straights and turns?

      You've driven an MS3, yes? Compare the two.
      I would give the shifter an 8/10. Only knocking points off for throw (just a bit too long for my taste) and overall feel. It's crisp and direct, but doesn't achieve what I call 'rifle-bolt' status.

      Oddly, both I and my co-driver thought that while the throws were longer than we liked, the travel side to side was a hair shorter than we expected. Whether that is something that is a pro or con depends on your own personal preferences. Initially, it felt a bit off for me, but it became a non-issue after getting use to it.

      And you are correct that the ST does not include the vaunted "RevoKnuckle". I'm sure that this is partially due to cost. Although, the official Ford statement on the matter is that it is not necessary with the amount of HP the ST generates.

      Also, the ST does not have a mechanical LSD, but rather an electronically controlled one. Ford calls it 'Torque Vectoring Control' and I assume it is very similar to VW's 'XDS'. Although, I cannot speak to their differences technically.

      Now, the rear of the car has been reworked quite a bit over the standard Focus. The rear anti-roll bar mounting points have been moved outboard substantially. And the difference is noticeable.

      I have driven the MS3, albeit a while ago. I think the car's power delivery is more brutal, and of course there is more of it. However chassis-wise, the story has moved on. The MS3 is due for a big refresh and it shows. Quickest around a road course. My gut says ST, all day long.
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    24. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 01:09 PM #24
      When it was announced that the ST would make it to the US (which was a great decision by Ford, IMO!), several people in this forum wondered why Ford would even bother with this car in our market because you can get a Mustang V6 with the performance package for the same price. I would think that the demographics would differ quite a bit between people who consider these two performance vehicles, but as I'm constantly reminded around here, people will and do compare anything with wheels.

      So I'm curious if you've driven an 11+ Mustang V6 with the PP, how does it compared with your driving experience of the ST? Ride, drive, handling, seat of the pants acceleration feel--how do they compare. I would also be interested in how you think the steering compares between the two. The mustang also has EPAS, but not variable ratio (at least not that I'm aware of) and I have to be honest, the steering in the mustang is fairly numb. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if you felt that the ST had better steering feel because I thought my mkV GTI had better steering than my mustang as well. And a mini that I recently drove (first time ever behind the wheel of one of these!) was even better than the GTI. So I know that fwd cars can have better steering feel than some performance rwd cars.

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      06-27-2012 01:13 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post

      What's the release date on the U.S. version? Do we yet know the MSRP?

      http://bp3.ford.com/2013-Ford-Focus-ST#/Models/

      That page has been available for a while now...

    26. 06-27-2012 01:21 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by Jordan 191 View Post
      How are the brakes?
      Brakes seemed very good as well. Even during the canyon work I described we didn't experience even a hint of brake fade. Not sure what will happen when doing track work, but I hope to eventually find out.
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      06-27-2012 01:23 PM #27
      Quote Originally Posted by NoDubJustYet View Post
      http://bp3.ford.com/2013-Ford-Focus-ST#/Models/

      That page has been available for a while now...
      Thanks for the link. Yes, I could've just gone there and looked it up, but now that I've asked the question, that pertinent information is on this thread.

      Just to get it on the thread, it starts at $23,700.00 before destination and whatnot. $24,445.00 after.
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      06-27-2012 01:30 PM #28
      So far you've reinforced all the positive things, but in your opinion, what are the main negative aspects of the car (if any)?

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      06-27-2012 02:35 PM #29
      -Run on regular?
      -Canadian price?
      -HIDs/LEDs?

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      06-27-2012 02:58 PM #30
      Quote Originally Posted by someguy123 View Post
      -Run on regular?
      -Canadian price?
      -HIDs/LEDs?
      -Who cares?
      -Probably too much
      -HIDs only with the top option package
      Quote Originally Posted by Captain 'Murica! View Post
      What if my idea is to go faster around a track than your idea?

      Corvette. Less than you can afford, pal.

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      06-27-2012 03:03 PM #31
      Did they have anything to say about ditching the mechanical limited-slip in favor of fancy ABS?
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    32. 06-27-2012 03:30 PM #32
      Quote Originally Posted by 6cylVWguy View Post
      When it was announced that the ST would make it to the US (which was a great decision by Ford, IMO!), several people in this forum wondered why Ford would even bother with this car in our market because you can get a Mustang V6 with the performance package for the same price. I would think that the demographics would differ quite a bit between people who consider these two performance vehicles, but as I'm constantly reminded around here, people will and do compare anything with wheels.

      So I'm curious if you've driven an 11+ Mustang V6 with the PP, how does it compared with your driving experience of the ST? Ride, drive, handling, seat of the pants acceleration feel--how do they compare. I would also be interested in how you think the steering compares between the two. The mustang also has EPAS, but not variable ratio (at least not that I'm aware of) and I have to be honest, the steering in the mustang is fairly numb. I certainly wouldn't be surprised if you felt that the ST had better steering feel because I thought my mkV GTI had better steering than my mustang as well. And a mini that I recently drove (first time ever behind the wheel of one of these!) was even better than the GTI. So I know that fwd cars can have better steering feel than some performance rwd cars.
      I know that people do frequently compare HP per $ on the internet. And, you can't argue that the Mustang V6 with the PP is a tremendous value. However, I have to agree with you that I don't know how much potential customer crossover there is.

      For instance, I am a small car guy (I currently have an Abarth and a Fit Sport manual). Even the Focus is getting to be a bit larger than I prefer. On top of that, I'm not the best person to compare the two because I haven't driven one of the newer Mustangs.

      I do totally respect Mustangs for what they are. And, if I have tons of disposal income I would consider a Boss 302 Laguna Seca.

      But, the idea of putting the two cars together in a shootout sounds great. We don't have any of the resources of the buff books. But, if they don't do it first, and I can get my hands on both cars at relatively the same time, then I will try and pull off that article.
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    33. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 03:43 PM #33
      Quote Originally Posted by Focaljet View Post
      But, the idea of putting the two cars together in a shootout sounds great. We don't have any of the resources of the buff books. But, if they don't do it first, and I can get my hands on both cars at relatively the same time, then I will try and pull off that article.
      That sounds like a pretty fun shoot-out actually. I would sort of doubt that any of the major pubs would want to touch such a story because they get enough hate mail about comparing the cars in a similar class or picking a comparo winner that doesn't get the fastest times.

      But your post open up another line of questions: ST vs Abarth? The Abarth isn't a cheap car, IMO, and I could see someone interested in a hothatch crosshopping the two cars, at least initially. How does a focus fanatic rate the latest and greatest performance Focus against the Abarth?

    34. 06-27-2012 04:29 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by someguy123 View Post
      -Run on regular?
      -Canadian price?
      -HIDs/LEDs?
      I will have to double-check, but I assume it's like a lot of modern cars in that they are optimized to run on 9X+ octane, but the ECU will compensate for a lower rated fuel.

      I believe the CA base is: $29,999. We have a thread on it here:

      http://forums.focaljet.com/2013-ford...st-canada.html

      And yes, HID on the 'ST3' package. But, no LED on the North American cars.
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    35. Senior Member NoDubJustYet's Avatar
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      06-27-2012 05:10 PM #35
      I might have to run over to Ford and see how much the LED tails are going for.

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