Will the electric revolution spell the end for hot hatches?
If so, let’s enjoy them while they’re still with us. One of the best is this, the Focus ST.
Hot hatches are not like sports cars, which are designed from the ground up to be dynamic. They’re everyday small hatches with bigger engines, uprated suspension and brakes, and a snazzy body kit.
If the hatchback was a bit humdrum to begin with, all the extra power in the world won’t help it.
It’s a good thing, then, that Ford’s Focus is a fantastic driver’s car to begin with. Even versions fitted with the diddly little 1.0 three cylinder engine are fun to throw around some bends.
So I was expecting to enjoy the Focus ST, which has a 2.3 litre turbocharged petrol engine with 276bhp.
It is mightily fast, sprinting to 62mph in six seconds dead and only running out of puff at 155mph.
Lowered suspension and bigger tyres mean it grips like a limpet and I certainly don’t have the skill as a driver to safely test its limits on a public road. Suffice to say if you lose grip on a dry road you were going far too fast.
It’s a great overtaking tool, taking advantage of short straight stretches to leapfrog lorries or farm vehicles.
Inside, there’s as much space as any other Focus, meaning rear seat passengers aren’t short changed and the boot has room for a week’s shopping.
A large touchscreen display operates the infotainment, while good old fashioned dials make the heating system easy to operate without taking your eyes off the road.
I had a great time taking it through Perthshire, where it showed its mettle on some backroads.
My seven-speed auto version surged effortlessly through the gears.
Those who do long commutes may want to look at the slightly more refined Volkswagen GTI, however. I took the Focus ST on a four hour round trip to the other side of Glasgow and found both ride and seats a little too firm for comfort.
Prices start at a little under £30,000 and my high spec automatic version weighed in at £34,710.
That’s terrific value for such a fast, well equipped car. Ford should not have a hard time selling plenty of these.