Ford Focus ST updated with new tech

Wider model facelift delivers latest SYNC 4 system to Ford's hot hatch, alongside new front seats

By John Howell / Thursday, October 14, 2021 / Loading comments

It seems like barely any time ago at all that we were reporting on the launch of the ‘new’ C519 Ford Focus, and now it’s time to tell you about its facelift. Obviously, there are the usual styling tweaks, but these are mild and mostly about new dark-tinted LED headlights and redesigned tail lights. Perhaps more prominently, you can now order an automatic gearbox with the Ecoboost 48-volt MHEV engines: a seven-speed dual-clutch Powershift.

Other tech uplifts include added safety features, such as blind spot monitoring, but the most obvious addition is the new Sync 4 infotainment system. Its larger 13.2-inch landscape touchscreen dominates an updated dashboard, and boasts cloud-connected navigation, machine learning to improve search results, natural speech voice control and over-the-air software updates. The old model’s physical HVAC controls have been incorporated into the touchscreen, which Ford says makes for a cleaner look. Let’s hope any detrimental effect on usability won’t be huge, though.

The ST, still deemed “a crucial part of the new Focus range”, is included in the model overhaul. Unsurprisingly, the specific changes to the hot hatch aren’t fundamental. The 2.3-litre Ecoboost retains its peak outputs of 280hp and 310 lb ft of torque on overboost. It doesn’t get the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, instead retaining the eight-speed torque converter unit from the current ST. But it does inherit the much larger infotainment screen and SYNC 4 system inside.

Additionally, it gets a new brace of front seats. These are no longer from long-term supplier Recaro. Instead, they are an in-house design from Ford Performance. The seats are said to have been approved by the Campaign for Healthier Backs organisation, so should provide support in all the right places, and are available with 14-way powered adjustment.

Elsewhere the ST’s optional Performance Pack has been renamed the X Pack, This adds Dynamic Pixel LED headlights with shadow technology, 19-inch alloy wheels (in place of the standard 18-inch rims), the addition of a track mode and rev-matching on manual versions. In the best Ford Performance tradition, there’s also a vivid new colour called Mean Green – you’ll probably recognise it.

And the uplift in costs for all this? Well, it’s relatively small. The ST starts from £33,885 for the five-door manual, so that’s a £600 increase over its predecessor. The new version is available to order now.

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