Fast Fords are still fly­ing out of show­rooms

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORS -

THERE really is some­thing about fast Fords which has stood the test of time. If you can think back to Es­cort Mex­i­cos and the RS 2000 – plus leg­ends like the Sierra Cos­worth – it will prob­a­bly make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Leary looks and in-your-face paint jobs were of­ten the or­der of the day – a few decades ago a much younger yours truly was the very proud owner of a Mk 2, 1980 Capri 2-litre S which was so or­ange it made a sat­suma look dull, boasted huge dot­ted-line S de­cals down the sides and had a tar­tan in­te­rior that would have done Jackie Ste­wart proud.

Yes, I thought it was the dog’s doo­dahs and drove it ac­cord­ingly.

Fast Ford for­ward to 2015 and that win­ning for­mula is still very ev­i­dent in this week’s test car, a Fo­cus ST which was in a colour that Ford them­selves call Tan­ger­ine Scream!

Un­veiled at last year’s Paris mo­tor show and launched in the UK ear­lier this year, the lat­est in­car­na­tions have ei­ther a 1.6, 180bhp or 2.0-litre, 247bhp ecoboost turbo petrol en­gine or, for the first time, there is also a 2.0 diesel version for the more econ­omy con­scious – which still has a very re­spectable 185bhp on tap and can do 0 to 62 in 8.1 sec­onds.

Seen by many as the more sen­si­ble sib­ling to the fire-breath­ing RS vari­ants, the ST still has real per­for­mance cre­den­tials, par­tic­u­larly if fit­ted with the 2.0 petrol en­gine as in our test car.

It can hit an im­pres­sive and high­ly­il­le­gal 154mph and sprint from 0 to 62 in just 6.5 sec­onds, while fig­ures for the 1.6 are a very re­spectable 0 to 62 in 6.9 sec­onds and a top speed of 139mph.

As I said the diesel wins on econ­omy with 56.5 ur­ban and over 74 ex­tra-ur­ban, while the petrol ver­sions re­turn 36 and 59 (1.6) and 32 and 49 (2.0). And if you are be­ing really sen­si­ble there is even an es­tate version.

But, as with all fast Fords, it is as much about show as go and here our test car scores highly. As the de­scrip­tive name above sug­gests, its vivid ‘Lam­borgh­ini’ yel­low colour - along with cut­ting edge ST body styling and (op­tional ex­tra) 19” al­loy wheels - drew glances wher­ever I went... al­though I sus­pect for dif­fer­ent rea­sons de­pend­ing on the age of the ob­server.

I tended to find those be­low 40 thought it was cool while older com­men­ta­tors were, on the whole, less en­thu­si­as­tic. How­ever, when I pointed out the per­for­mance fig­ures and that the price was from just un­der £24k – with 11 other, more sub­tle, colours avail­able – the gen­eral opin­ion was very favourable.

That in-your-face ap­proach con­tin­ues in­side with strik­ing, multi-coloured, ST mono­grammed Re­caro body-hug­ging front seats (see pic­ture left), an ex­tra row of dash­top di­als show­ing oil pres­sure, en­gine tem­per­a­ture and turbo boost pres­sure and a big cen­tral touch-screen which con­trols sat-nav, in­fo­tain­ment and ve­hi­cle data thanks to Ford’s SYNC 2 sys­tem (a £500 ex­tra) that also in­cludes emer­gency as­sis­tance.

Other ex­tras in our test car in­cluded red brake cal­lipers and il­lu­mi­nated bot­tom door plates plus a rear view cam­era, heated steer­ing wheel and that amaz­ing paint tak­ing the to­tal OTR price to a still rea­son­able £27,650.

It’s a well-made, well-equipped per­for­mance mo­tor that is fun to drive and won’t break the bank to buy and run.

There’s a more ba­sic ST-1, from £22,195, and top-of-the range ST-3, from 26k. Stan­dard kit on the ST-2 in­cludes 18” al­loys, that ST bodykit LED auto lights, auto wipers, DAB ra­dio and Ford’s en­hanced vec­tor­ing con­trol sys­tem, which helps keep the car where it should be dur­ing en­thu­si­as­tic driv­ing.

Speak­ing of which I did tend to find the car brought out a re­turn to the (slightly) leary mo­torist of my youth… and just some­times it was the 1980s all over again!

●● Ford have called this colour Tan­ger­ine Scream!

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