Ford Focus ST (2012 – 2015) Review

Ford Focus ST (2012 – 2015) At A Glance


+Fitted with impressive 250PS EcoBoost engine. Available as a hatchback or an estate. Great value for money compared to other hot hatches.

-Despite 'symposer', engine may be too quiet for some hot hatch fans. Engine can develop a wiring problem.

Insurance Groups are between 34–36
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

Ford’s ST brand has come a long way over the last 12 years, slowly transforming the humble Focus into a potent hot hatch that harks back to the fast Fords of the 1980s. Now in its third generation, the Focus ST is faster, lighter and more economical than ever before.

As you’d expect, the latest ST is very different from the standard Focus, with a lowered chassis (10mm) and a new front and rear end. Ford further enhanced the exterior with a light facelift in 2015, which enlarged the grille and slimmed down the front and rear lights. 

Muscular rocker panels and a large rear spoiler define the shape of the car, while a hexagonal mesh grille and LED lights complete the hot hatch appearance. Inside the changes are more subtle, with Recaro sports seats, leather gear knob and ST stitching.

The interior was given a through refresh in 2015 and the button heavy dashboard was replaced with a clean, clutter free design. The steering wheel was also improved, with easier to use on-board buttons and improved finger grips. 

Under the bonnet the old Volvo derived 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine has been ditched in in favour of Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder unit. Power is an impressive 250PS, which brings the 0-62mph down to a Golf GTI matching 6.5 seconds.

Ford has also improved fuel efficiency, with the new engine returning a claimed 39.2mpg and emitting 169g/km of CO2. Ford’s in-house Team RS has also worked on the car, re-designing the air intake and exhaust systems and using a clever engine calibration to deliver a notable 360Nm of torque.  

From 2015, the Focus ST gets a diesel engine for the first time, with a turbochargd 2.0-litre engine producing 185PS and 400Nm of torque. Although lacking the punch of its EcoBoost counterpart, the diesel unit will return a claimed 67.3mpg, while emitting just 110g/km of CO2.  

Power is delivered to the front-wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, which has been optimised with sporting ratios carefully matched to the performance characteristics of the engine.

The demons of torque steer are (partly) contained with the use of an electronic compensator, which feeds back into the power steering to counter any disruption in the handling. Sports suspension and high performance brakes also come as standard.

Available as a five-door hatch or estate, there are three trims to choose from – ST1, ST2 or ST3 – and the top spec models feature heated seats, xenon highlights and dual-zone air con. Ford also offers a range of unique paint schemes for the ST, which range from the traditional racing blue to the extravagant bright orange Tangerine Scream.

Focus ST Road Test

Focus ST facelift 2.0TDCI 184PS Road Test

Real MPG average for a Ford Focus ST (2012 – 2015)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

23–37 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

My Ford Focus ST needs an expensive repair for a known issue - can I claim the money from Ford?
"My 2013 Ford Focus ST experienced uneven engine running in December. A Ford dealer traced the problem to the engine wiring harness - a problem for which the car was recalled in the USA. The harness was repaired, at a cost to me of £200, as there was no UK recall code. In February, the car began displaying multiple problems - parasitic battery drain, alarm randomly going off and the power button failing to switch off the engine. My dealer has now told me the car needs a new engine wiring harness and body control module. The cost, including labour, will be £2260. The car is four years old, has only covered 20,900 miles, and has only ever been serviced by Ford dealers. Given the problems seem to be caused by substandard components, is there any hope of claiming some sort of goodwill from Ford UK for the cost of the repairs? If so, how might I go about that?"
Yes, take the matter to Small Claims against the supplying and servicing dealer citing the USA recall for exactly the same problem. First, tell the supplying dealer that is what you intend to do and he may go to Ford with a goodwill claim to avert the Small Claim. I have to warn you, if it goes to court you may not win, but a Small Claim is a relatively inexpensive legal process: The Focus ST entry is here: /
Answered by Honest John
Which petrol estate cars would you recommend for reliability, fuel economy and performance on a £12,000 budget?
"I want to buy a petrol estate car, manual, up to 5 years old on a budget of £12,000. I'm looking for something reliable and economic, but also fun to drive. The current short list is a 2012 - 2013 Ford Focus ST Estate 2.0 petrol, a 2014 SEAT Leon ST Estate 1.4 TSI 138, a 2015 Peugeot 308 SW estate 1.2 130 and a 2014 Honda Civic Tourer 1.8. Which cars would you recommend?"
Nothing wrong with the Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC Tourer apart from looks, and the strongest engine here. Should do more than 40mpg as well (I got 48). The 1.2 Puretech 130 in the Peugeot 308 is excellent. 230Nm makes is punchy up hills and I averaged 49mpg over 12,000 miles in one. No reports of any problems with this engine as yet. The 1.4 TSI in the SEAT Leon depends on whether it is chain or belt cam because the quality of the chains turned out to be variable and unpredictable. The Ford Focus ST has Ford's tough old chain cam 2.0 litre engine with a turbo good for 250PS (and good enough fore the Jaguar XE) but on the early ST models the behaviour of the electronic diff was so inconsistent we switched it off.
Answered by Honest John
Best way to sell a Focus ST3 Estate?
"I am looking to sell my 2012 Ford Focus ST3 Estate, which would be the best way to sell for the best price with the least hassle?"
"Best price with least hassle" is contradictory. If you want to get the "best price" then you have to work very hard at it: clean the car perfectly, advertise on Autotrader and, pitch your price right, take calls in the middle of the night, be prepared to talk nicely to a lot of idiots, be accommodating to anyone who is interested, insure the car for them to test drive it, take their money only in cash, in a bank. If you want "least hassle", sell it to
Answered by Honest John
Need new tyres for my Focus ST - what should I get?
"I have a 2013 Ford Focus ST and need two new tyres on the front. What would you recommend"
I'd stay with what's on there so they match the rears. But the tyres I like best are Yokahamas and, Michelin Pilot Sport 3s.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Ford Focus ST (2012 – 2015) cost?