For fast parents
Ford has a mature cure for when old age starts to bite
IF you thought the lives of motoring hacks are a constant swirl of pink caviar in champagne glasses at motoring launches in trendy cities, well, spare a thought for your hard-working team of vehicular scribes in the slightly more bucolic setting of Maritzburg.
There we were, striving to keep up the motoring reporting standards set by then Natal Witness since 1904, and both of us showing our combined 120 years of age as we hobbled painfully into positions at the historic Roy Hesketh race track, lens aimed and pencil poised for the verdict of our own “Stig”, in the form of Desmond Govenden, aka Dizzy of DY Tuning, who was blitzing Barlowrod salesperson Shandré du Plessis around the track.
The real thrill in the ST is the fourcylinder 184 kW/360 Nm engine, which has to be held back in town, as the car roars up to 80 km/h in first gear.
One of the first things we noticed was how the howl of the engine did not raise the ire of the residents around Hesketh. For while the exhaust is tuned to roar inside the cabin, it is very quiet outside. Quiet or not, the engine does have the grunt, as Dizzy said after his first two rounds that saw him clock 180 km/h down the straight.
“But I was going slow because of the wet track,” he admitted.
Dizzy pointed out the layout of the cockpit is a masterclass in ergonomic design. Even the handbrake is where you need it for a quick 180° turn, as he promptly demonstrated, in which case the bucket seats also hug your hips against the pull of the G-forces.
Normally, bucket seats are torture for our less-than-svelte shapes, but we both agreed that the seats in the Focus are comfy for the more mature driver. And mature he — or she — has to be, for while the spacious Ford ST is marketed overseas at the young, the local price of R420 000 means only 30something parents can afford it.
The price gets them a 316-litre boot, that grunt, excellent handling and — bonus — a lot of friends, as is testified by the ST owners’ clubs in Maritzburg and Durban who organise regular family outings to exercise their cars, as well as do work for charity in the process.
The car we drove was finished in Race Red with 17-inch alloys. Outside, the car looks racy with everything from headlights to roof swept back. Inside, the Recaro leather seats give great shoulder and torso support and are designed for high performance driving.
The Sync 2,8-inch touchscreen has Bluetooth and voice control, as well as USB port and SD card slot.
The car is also packed with technology to help you cope with the power.
The new Electronic Transitional Stability Function improves response and cornering and improves balance at speed. The multi-function steering wheel is a pleasure to handle and a full set of controls surround the driver for whom the car is designed. At the rear there is adequate space for the long legged. The rear seats fold down in 60/40 fashion to increase the already-adequate boot space considerably.
We loved it.
The Ford Focus ST, 2L Ecoboost has the grunt to shunt, all while sounding civilised outside and roaring inside the cabin, which is a masterclass in ergonomic design.