Top tips to bag­ging a great value Blue Oval, the Mk3 Fo­cus ST.


Are you look­ing for the per­fect ev­ery­day fast Ford? Is a Mk3 Fo­cus RS above your bud­get? Or do you de­mand the prac­ti­cal­ity of a high­per­for­mance es­tate?

Right now, the Fo­cus ST250 is inarguably the best value all-rounder in the Blue Oval world; with a few choice mods, a wellpedalled ST will keep pace with an RS, yet an early ex­am­ple can be bagged for a third of the price.

The Mk3 ST was un­veiled in Sep­tem­ber 2011, be­com­ing avail­able to the Bri­tish pub­lic on 1 June 2012. Around 40 other mar­kets soon fol­lowed – in­clud­ing North Amer­ica – mak­ing the ST250 the first truly in­ter­na­tional fast Ford.

It ditched the Mk2 ST’s five-cylin­der en­gine (and bur­bling sound­track) in favour of a tur­bocharged 1999cc Eco­Boost four-pot; pro­duc­ing 247bhp (equat­ing to 250PS, earn­ing an ST250 nick­name) it was no­tably faster and more eco­nom­i­cal than its pre­de­ces­sor.

There was a six-speed man­ual gear­box, uprated sus­pen­sion, 320mm front brakes and sharp­ened steer­ing, along with 8x18in al­loys and funky bodykit. En­thu­si­asts be­moaned the lack of a three-door, but the reg­u­lar five-door hatch was of­fered along­side a sub­lime wagon. ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3 trim lev­els, plus a va­ri­ety of op­tions, gave co­pi­ous equip­ment - the ST-3 of­fer­ing much more kit than even the later RS model.

ST pro­duc­tion paused in mid-2014, re­sum­ing with a facelifted ver­sion in Jan­uary ’15. Crit­i­cisms of torque-steer were ad­dressed with re­vised sus­pen­sion and re­cal­i­brated steer­ing, while the aes­thet­ics and dash­board gained im­proved styling. Op­tions now in­cluded 19in rims and 335mm front brakes.

The ST250 was joined by an oil-burn­ing ST TDCi, and in 2016 by a drag-act ST-Line – nei­ther of which are cov­ered in this guide. But if you see your­self be­hind the wheel of a quick, prac­ti­cal and im­mensely re­ward­ing fast Ford, the Fo­cus ST is sim­ply un­beat­able.

“The Fo­cus ST250 is inarguably the best value all-rounder in the Blue Oval world”

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