Ford Focus ST (2015 – 2018) Review

Ford Focus ST (2015 – 2018) At A Glance

4/5

+Fast and affordable for daily use. Available as a hatch or estate. Diesel engine is the same price as petrol. More refined than previous models.

-Handling can be unpredictable in the wet. Diesel is economical, but lacks top end gunt. Boot space is small compared to rivals.

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

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 matching fun and value, the Focus ST is in a class of its own.

The Ford Focus ST can 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, but it's worth noting that the Ford packs 30PS more power than the Volkswagen. 

The ST can also be ordered with a performance-focused 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're a company car driver who really wants 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-thrills, with lots of cheap and flimsy plastics. Bootspace 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 eliminate the lack of storage issue, offering 476 litres.

However, one area where the Focus ST cannot be faulted is on value. In fact, the criticisms seem minor when you consider the huge gulf in price between the Ford and Volkswagen. What's more, in estate form, the Focus ST is almost unrivalled on price and performance aside from the Skoda Octavia vRS. 

Real MPG average for a Ford Focus ST (2015 – 2018)

RealMPG

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

69%

Real MPG

22–57 mpg

MPGs submitted

503

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 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): https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-spytrack-nano-tracker/
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
How can I stop my alloys getting dirty so quickly?
"I own a Focus ST which has factory silver grey 19-inch alloys. The trouble is once cleaned they are filthy in a few days and virtually black in about a week. I've tried car polish on them but the result is still the same. I end up cleaning them twice a week. Any suggestions?"
We've seen a few Fords with very dirty alloy wheels - it seems to be down to the brake pads used. There is a way to keep the dirt at bay for a bit longer and that's to use an alloy wheel sealant, like Wonder Wheels Wheel Sealant. Apply it after giving them a thorough clean and it should help slow down the build-up of dirt.
Answered by John Slavin
More Questions

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