2015 Ford Focus ST

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$13,594–$23,070 Inventory Prices
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2015 Ford Focus ST. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    26 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    252-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Acceleration
  • Handling
  • More civilized ride than previous model
  • Fuel economy

The Bad

  • Automatic transmission not offered
  • Sedan body style not offered
  • Recaro seats not universally loved
  • Sync still stinks
  • Torque steer
2015 Ford Focus ST exterior side view

Notable Features of the 2015 Ford Focus ST

  • Updated styling for 2015
  • 252-hp, turbo four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual
  • Four-door hatchback body style
  • Recaro sport seats available

2015 Ford Focus ST Road Test

Aaron Bragman

Quicker and more extreme than most of its competitors, the new 2015 Ford Focus ST sacrifices some daily comfort for a wilder character.

High-performance compact cars are fun for everyone; they're generally affordable, reasonably efficient, tight-handling and useful sports machines that value balance and cornering more than brute force, like a typical American sports car.

The Europeans have always done these well, which explains why the 2015 Ford Focus ST is such an entertaining car to drive. When it burst onto the scene in 2012, enthusiasts loved it: Here was a true European-style hot hatch with a powerful motor, sophisticated chassis, aggressively bolstered seats and a short-throw manual transmission. It found a cult following among American youth who had been more interested in the Honda Civic Si and Nissan Sentra SE-R than anything from an American brand.

For 2015, the whole Focus lineup has been revamped, with revised styling and better noise insulation. The sporty ST model gets some suspension retuning as well. (Compare the 2014 and 2015 models here.) With a new Volkswagen GTI — the Focus ST's very clear target — also on the scene, are the Ford's changes for 2015 enough to unseat the German king of hot hatches?

Exterior & Styling
The new updates to the 
Ford Focus bring the Fusion-style headlights and grille across the lineup, but the ST takes it a step further with a more aggressive front and rear treatment. A roof spoiler sits atop the hatchback, an...

Quicker and more extreme than most of its competitors, the new 2015 Ford Focus ST sacrifices some daily comfort for a wilder character.

High-performance compact cars are fun for everyone; they're generally affordable, reasonably efficient, tight-handling and useful sports machines that value balance and cornering more than brute force, like a typical American sports car.

The Europeans have always done these well, which explains why the 2015 Ford Focus ST is such an entertaining car to drive. When it burst onto the scene in 2012, enthusiasts loved it: Here was a true European-style hot hatch with a powerful motor, sophisticated chassis, aggressively bolstered seats and a short-throw manual transmission. It found a cult following among American youth who had been more interested in the Honda Civic Si and Nissan Sentra SE-R than anything from an American brand.

For 2015, the whole Focus lineup has been revamped, with revised styling and better noise insulation. The sporty ST model gets some suspension retuning as well. (Compare the 2014 and 2015 models here.) With a new Volkswagen GTI — the Focus ST's very clear target — also on the scene, are the Ford's changes for 2015 enough to unseat the German king of hot hatches?

Exterior & Styling
The new updates to the 
Ford Focus bring the Fusion-style headlights and grille across the lineup, but the ST takes it a step further with a more aggressive front and rear treatment. A roof spoiler sits atop the hatchback, and larger wheels and tires make the whole package look truly racy.

My test car also sported some questionable bright-red stripes and mirror caps, which matched the red brake calipers. While I'm not opposed to stripes on a car, the black-and-red combination on my ST drew more disdain than praise from onlookers. A blue-and-white combination would likely be more appealing and keeping with Ford's traditional racing colors, as well.

How It Drives
The regular 
Ford Focus has two powertrains: a boring 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a fuel-miser, turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder. The ST, though, sports something special — a hot turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine making 252 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque.

That's some serious grunt being fed to the front wheels, available only with a six-speed manual transmission. Ford has employed all manner of electronics to try to tame the beastly motor, but it still suffers from significant torque steer when you really mash the throttle. It's accompanied by tremendous acceleration and a decent — but not overly intrusive — raspy exhaust note that doesn't sound as vicious as the car's looks would suggest.

Ford has updated more than just the styling for 2015, however, revising the ST's suspension tuning, as well. New shock absorbers and springs in the front and rear have tamed the previous ST's somewhat harsh ride. It's still firmer than competitors like the Volkswagen GTI and Honda Civic Si, but gone is the teeth-jarring crash when you hit a pothole or any sort of bump. The change has made the ST much more civilized for daily use, but it still leans more toward sport than comfort — more so than any of its mainstream competitors, with the possible exception of the Subaru WRX STi.

Along with that firm ride comes outstanding steering feel, precision and control. The ST is sharp; it's an aggressively tuned street car that you could take to a track event and, with just a simple tire swap, flog the car around a circuit all day with a massive grin on your face. It feels very well balanced, with strong brakes to haul the little compact down from high speeds with solid, unwavering control. It is, in short, tremendously fun.

But it's also tuned more aggressively than most of its front-engine competitors. It's meant to beat the GTI, and while the ST does feel sharper on the track, the front-wheel-drive GTI comes across as much more refined, much more livable on a daily basis. It doesn't beat you up on your daily commute, and it has one massive advantage: an optional automatic transmission. The Civic Si is also a tamer beast, but it isn't as sharp as the ST on the street or the track. It also isn't as quick; the Ford outguns it with almost 100 lb-ft more torque thanks to its turbocharged engine.

The only car that can really catch the Ford Focus ST is the Subaru WRX, which features standard all-wheel drive and an optional continuously variable automatic transmission. The WRX comes out tops in the horsepower wars with its 268-hp, turbocharged flat-four engine, and it ties the GTI in torque output. It's even available in a hotter version: the STi, which delivers 305 hp from a bigger 2.5-liter engine. It's also considerably more expensive — until you compare it with a loaded Focus ST.

As for fuel economy, the ST's not bad at all. The EPA rates it at 23/32/26 mpg city/highway/combined. My few days of testing put only a couple hundred miles on the car, most of it on the highway, and returned about 25 mpg thanks to a rather judicious application of throttle. Those numbers are bested only by the VW GTI, which scores a 25/34/28 mpg rating. The Honda Civic, with a less powerful engine, manages only 22/31/25 mpg, while the WRX can't break into the 30 mpg club at all, rated 21/28/24 mpg.

Interior
Inside, there are a few key differences between the high-end Focus Titanium and the sporty ST. Most obvious is the inclusion of optional Recaro-brand seats, aggressively bolstered thrones that sit higher than the standard seats — much to many occupants' dismay. To say that the Recaros are not universally loved is a slight understatement; they're meant to fit a specific body type, and they're not as adjustable as some Recaro seats in other sporty vehicles (like the new Cadillac ATS-V, for example). The seats' high position and lack of suitable tilt put drivers in a different position with relation to the controls than in lesser versions of the Focus. This is definitely an option to try before you buy, to avoid long-term disappointment.

As in other Focus models, the backseat is cramped for legroom and width but features adequate headroom thanks to its five-door hatchback body style. Additional gauges atop the dashboard are another nice touch for the ST, showing turbo boost pressure and other information. It's not mission-critical for your daily drive, but in a performance car like this, it adds to the overall experience.

Visibility is decent in the Focus, but the thick pillars impede some outward views. Material quality on the ST trim level is excellent; the car does not feel overpriced when you're seated in its cabin, thanks to high-quality plastics and solid controls.

Nice as it is, the ST's interior is soundly trounced by the GTI's larger, nicer, more comfortable cabin. The GTI has far better visibility outward, thanks to a more upright greenhouse, and passengers don't feel cramped in either the front or back. The GTI feels more upscale, too, with the family influence of Audi evident in material and switch selection. Even the standard seats — non-branded sport models — are more comfortable and more adjustable than the ST's optional Recaros.

The Honda Civic Si and Subaru WRX are more on par with the Focus' level of fit and finish; neither of them is trying to be a near-premium vehicle, like the VW aspires to be.

Ergonomics & Electronics
The 2015 
Ford Focus still makes use of Ford's older Sync system, which we have found to be confusing to use, slow to work and unreliable in terms of voice commands doing what you want them to. We anxiously await the arrival of Sync3 in 2016 models, as early previews make it seem considerably improved.

The high-end Sony audio system sounds fantastic, and most of the radio controls are easy to use, but voice commands still require some learning, and actually syncing with personal electronics can be time consuming. This is a system that's been passed in user-friendliness by many competitors, but Ford's response is just a few months away.

Troubled as it is, the Ford Sync system with MyFord Touch is still the best among the competitors in terms of function, graphics quality and usefulness. The VW multimedia system is mounted lower in the dash and uses poor, grainy graphics. The Honda system is improved from previous generations, but like the Subaru it still feels oddly one or two generations behind even the aging Ford multimedia system.

Cargo & Storage
The 
Ford Focus ST is available only as a four-door hatchback (in this market anyway: lucky Europeans get a wagon version), offering up 23.8 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats, expandable to 44.8 cubic feet of cargo volume with the backseat folded.

That isn't bad, but it's outshone by the GTI, which has a smaller 22.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats but opens up to a comparatively cavernous 52.7 cubic feet with the backseat folded. The Civic and WRX are available only as four-door sedans, so their cargo room is limited to their trunks — 12.5 cubic feet for the Civic, 12.0 for the WRX — though both feature folding backseats to allow longer items to pass into the cabin.

Safety
The 
Ford Focus received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in all categories except rollover protection, in which it scored four stars. (Only one compact car in the entire segment, the Subaru Impreza, earned five stars in this test.) The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded it a Top Safety Pick rating because it scored good (out of a possible poor, marginal, acceptable and good) in all crash tests except the small overlap front test, in which it scored acceptable. Nine other cars in the institute's Small Cars class, some from more expensive categories, share these results. Fourteen models go all the way with a good rating in the small overlap test, while 12 models score worse than the Focus. See the Focus' crash-test results here.

As for safety systems, the Ford Focus has some of the most advanced in its class, with optional features like lane keep assist, rear-view camera, hands-free parallel and perpendicular parking, and blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. It lacks a forward collision warning system, which is available on the Civic, GTI and some other compact cars. A backup camera is standard. See all the Focus' standard and optional safety equipment here.

Value in Its Class
The Focus ST starts at $25,195, including a destination fee. That price includes 18-inch wheels, unique interior trim, aluminum pedals and more. Two option packages are available: ST2 adds automatic climate control, a Sony 10-speaker stereo, satellite radio (subscription required), bi-xenon headlights, Recaro seats with partial leather covering and Sync with MyFord Touch; ST3 makes those Recaro seats fully leather and adds to the mix power adjustability (yet no additional adjustments) for the driver's seat, plus navigation, heated mirrors and steering wheel, ambient lighting and an overhead console. My test car had the ST3 package as well as painted wheels and a stripe package, totaling $30,865.

Frankly, that's a reasonable price for a car with this much capability. The VW GTI is generally more expensive, starting at $25,605 for a basic two-door model and topping out at $35,950 if you check all the boxes on a comparable four-door hatchback with an adjustable suspension, forward collision warning system and a dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The Honda Civic Si coupe starts at just $23,710, a relative bargain compared with the others, with the sedan starting just $200 more. It has only two options: summer tires and navigation, meaning a loaded Civic Si sedan tops out at $25,610 — just $415 more than the Focus ST's starting price.

The Subaru WRX is more expensive, starting at $27,090 for a four-door sedan, but it also comes with a more powerful engine and standard all-wheel drive. You can option the normal WRX up to $34,490 if you opt for navigation and a continuously variable automatic transmission, or you can step up to the even higher-performance WRX STi, which starts at $35,290 — well above the top price of a Focus ST — and maxes out at $40,790. That car is more of a competitor for the upcoming Ford Focus RS performance-oriented hatch. Compare all four here.

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Latest 2015 Focus ST Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Really nice car

by Lish34 from Columbus ohio on June 29, 2018

This car is really nice. Drives good. Had a lot of leg room. Nice family car. It?s a lot different from my other cars. Love the back up camera Read full review

(5.0)

Ford Focus is a Great Car

by Focus+ from Red Bank, NJ on May 12, 2018

This is a very good value for multiple uses; the reliability/performance is superior, maintaining the regular servicing increases the performance; gas mileage @ gallon is good and always a ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2015 Ford Focus ST currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2015 Ford Focus ST has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Ford

Program Benefits

24-hour roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement up to $30 per day, full tank of gas, vehicle history report, new wiper blades and fresh oil and filter

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    7 years from original new vehicle warranty start date or 100,000 miles. Powertrain Limited Warranty from original in-service date. 12- month/12,000-mile comprehensive limited warranty. See dealer for details. $100 deductible per visit.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 172 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Focus ST received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker