AN AUTOMATIC CHOICE?
Previously a manual-only proposition, the Focus ST is now available with an automatic transmission at no extra cost. That’s an attractive selling point, as automatic options can cost between $3000 and $4000 on performance hatches.
The trade off for a self-shifter is slower acceleration, a lack of launch control and a small increase in fuel consumption from the heavier auto. Budgetary constraints ruled out the sort of snappy dual-clutch auto offered by VW or Renault (and soon, Hyundai), which might not be a bad thing as Ford’s previous PowerShift dual-clutch auto was particularly troublesome.
Ford reckons the majority of initial buyers will be hot hatch afficionados who must have the manual, though the conventional seven-speed automatic will eventually represent about 75 per cent of sales.