Ford Focus ST (2015 – 2018) Review

Ford Focus ST (2015 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Fast and fun, the Ford Focus ST that arrived in 2015 could be had with fiery petrol or economical diesel engines, and came as a hatch or estate.

+Fast and affordable for daily use. Available as a hatch or estate. Diesel is the same price as petrol. Easier to live with than previous model.

-Easy to break traction in the wet. Diesel is economical, but lacks top-end grunt. Boot space is small compared to rivals.

Insurance Groups are between 11–37
On average it achieves 69% of the official MPG figure

Ford sought to make its 2015 Focus ST a hot hatch for all occasions and buyers. You could order hatch or estate bodies and choose from petrol or diesel engines. All are good, but there are some raw edges to the way it behaves in the wet. Where a Volkswagen Golf GTI is a polished alternative and the Honda Civic Type R slightly wild, the Ford sits somewhere in the middle. Read on for our full Ford Focus ST review.

It might not be the quickest or cheapest fast Ford money can buy, but the Focus ST has lots of universal appeal thanks to its ability to mix hot hatch performance with everyday usability. Indeed, when it comes to matching fun and value, the Focus ST is in a class of its own.

The Ford Focus ST could be specified as a hatchback or estate and there are two 2.0-litre engines to choose from – one petrol and one diesel. As you might expect, it’s the 250PS four-cylinder petrol that provides the most fun, with 0-62mph taking 6.5 seconds and 360Nm of torque flowing all the way to 5000rpm.

Claimed fuel economy is decent, too, with 41.5mpg and 159g/km of CO2. Admittedly, this is less than the Golf GTI of the same period, but it’s worth noting that the Ford packs 30PS more power than the Volkswagen. 

The ST could also be ordered with a performance-biased 185PS diesel, which matches its Volkswagen Golf GTD rival on economy with 110g/km of CO2 and a claimed 67.3mpg. However, while the economy ratings impress on paper, the Focus ST diesel fails to excite on the road, with lacklustre performance and disappointing power delivery.

Indeed, unless you really want your diesel to look like a hot hatch, we’d recommend opting for the petrol.

While the front-wheel-drive set-up can provide some challenges in the wet, the Focus ST largely impresses with firm but rewarding handling. The steering is well weighted and the chassis feels light and nimble, with a keen turn-in and lots of feedback.

The only area of criticism we would level at the Ford is its lack of upmarket feel in the cabin. Compared to the Golf GTI, the Focus ST feels somewhat low-frills, with lots of cheap and flimsy plastics. Boot space is also disappointing and hatchback versions offer a meagre 316 litres.

That said, the Focus ST is perfectly comfortable for families and the Recaro front seats provide good levels of back and upper leg support for long-distance drives. Estate versions address this lack of storage, offering 476 litres.

However, the Focus ST cannot be faulted on value. What’s more, in estate form, the Focus ST is almost unrivalled aside from the Skoda Octavia vRS.

Ask Honest John

Does the Ford Focus ST use a timing chain or cam belt?

"I have a Ford Focus ST estate first registered on 1 February 2017. Can you please advise whether it has a timing chain or belt and the relevant replacement period? "
The 2.0 petrol uses a chain and the 2.0 diesel uses a belt that should be replaced every five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first).
Answered by Dan Powell

My son's car has an oil leak that's being investigated. What is the likely cause?

"A year ago, my son’s 2015 Ford Focus ST EcoBoost had an engine failure when the oil sump developed a hole. He then had a reconditioned engine put in. At the recent MOT, he was told there was an oil leak “somewhere”. He’s booked the car in to have it checked out, but we’re now really worried that the same thing will happen again. Can you advise us what the garage should be looking out for and also whether he should maybe sell the car as he’s lost all trust in it now? Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Kind regards."
I'm sorry to read about the problems your son has experienced with his car. Ford replaced the Focus ST in 2015 with an all-new model (offered with petrol and diesel engines) so I am not 100% sure which model we are talking about here. But I have never heard of a hole developing in the sump on a Focus ST before. It's possible the sump plug (which lets you drain the oil out) has become loose. This would be my first point of investigation (it's a simple fix). I would be concerned about the replacement engine. What paperwork and history were provided with the engine? It should have a service book from the donor car that shows its age, mileage and full-service history. If it doesn't have this important paperwork then the engine may be older or higher mileage than the seller advertised. Selling the car would be a good idea, but you will need to disclose the replacement engine and this will sadly impact the price of the car quite heavily if the recon engine doesn't have any known history.
Answered by Dan Powell

Will disabling the keyless entry through the menu in a car and using the keyfob manually make any difference to security?

"Will disabling the keyless entry through the menu in a car and using the keyfob manually make any difference to security in my 2018 Focus ST?"
Disabling the keyless entry system should make a big difference. But, if you want our honest opinion, the Focus ST is one of the cars that thieves target. If we had one, we'd probably also get something like the Autowatch Ghost Immobiliser or another immobiliser system to make it harder to steal. This obviously depends on where you live, if you park on the street etc. You could also go for a tracker from Tracker or the Nano Tracker that we reviewed from Rewire Security (it just won our Car Security Award, too):
Answered by Georgia Petrie

Does chipping a car give it better economy and power?

"Are chips any good at giving more economy and power?"
I think you must mean plug-ins like Superchips Bluefin. The benefit is that in the event of an insurance or a warranty claim they can be removed and leave no 'ghosting' in the ECU. Varies from car to car, but I have driven an Audi A4 and a Focus ST that had been Bluefinned and the improvement in torque at low speeds was particularly pronounced in the Audi. This meant it could be upshifted earlier so used less fuel.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Ford Focus ST (2015 – 2018) cost?