2020 Ford Focus ST-Line - Toybox

By: Mark Higgins, Photography by: Ford Australia

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The turbo delivers punchy performance and the three cylinder configuration a rorty exhaust note

 

2020 Ford Focus ST-Line

Car makers usually whack a fair premium on their sportiest offerings but not Ford and its fourth-generation Ford Focus ST-Line.

Penned by Australian Jordan Demkiw, until the hot ST and hotter RS models race onto our shores later this year, the ST-Line is the snazziest critter of the litter and it is yours for just $28,990 plus government charges.

ford-focus-rear.jpgClean ST Line styling

Sure, it is powered by the same 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo engine as the other variants, but the ST-Line gets extra grunt along with a load of trinkets for greater appeal and an engaging  driving experience.

The ST-Line rolls on 17-inch alloys, has a 10mm lower ride height because of its sport suspension and a sports body kit. Also standard are LED fog and taillights, plus privacy glass, all adding up to an edgy look.

| Reader Ride: 2017 Ford Focus RS

ford-focus-onroad.jpgDesigned by an Aussie and built in Europe

Inside is a flat-bottom steering wheel, keyless start, an eight-inch touchscreen with 180-degree parking camera, Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system with in-built sat nav, digital radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. There is also a black roof-lining, red trim stitching, alloy pedals and a wireless phone charging pad.

The dashboard design is a big improvement over the previous model, with a central floating touchscreen, a distinct lack of switchgear and a rotary gear selector replacing the shifter.

| Read next: 2017 Ford Focus ST review

ford-focus-onroad-2.jpgOpen roads provide endless fun

It is also roomier thanks to a longer wheelbase so all on board have more legroom and the cavernous luggage space can be increased by popping the back seats down. Perfect for a trip to Ikea or Bunnings, of which I did both. The ST-Line on test had a few options on board including the $1250 Driver Assistance Pack consisting of rear-cross traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. It also wore an attractive Desert Island Blue premium paint adding a further $650, giving it a grand total of $30,890, still terrific value.

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To get you out of situations you shouldn’t have got yourself into, the ST-Line has autonomous emergency braking that can also detect pedestrians and cyclists and there is also lane-keeping assist. Of course there is the usual spread of airbags and anti-lock brakes and it has a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Powering the Focus ST-Line is a three-cylinder 1.5-litre ‘EcoBoost’ turbo petrol engine driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The turbo delivers punchy performance and the three-cylinder configuration gives off a rorty note.There is a little bit of lag between applying the power and delivery but a small change in driving technique or a switch from eco to sport driving modes easily overcomes this.

ford-focus-interior-2.jpgSophisticated and roomy cabin

The eight-speed auto shifts sweetly and imperceptibly and the Sport mode livens up proceedings considerably by holding more revs  on board for longer before upshifting. Adding to the fun factor are the flappy gearshift paddles.

ford-focus-dash.jpgControl central, the large infotainment screen

What impresses most about the ST-Line is its ride and handling, with light but direct steering that provides good levels of feedback and assurance. Though the ride height has been lowered and the wheel diameter increased, its European-pedigree, taut, well-sorted chassis feels energetic without ruining comfort or ride quality even over the often imperfect roads we drive on, and the light but direct steering provides good levels of feedback.

ford-focus-interior.jpgComfy sports seats 

The Ford Focus ST-Line is easy to live with daily,  good fun to punt along a winding road and for many, an affordable all-rounder.

 

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