The manual-adjustable coilover suspension makes this hot hatchback even more interesting and fun to drive. You can use the included adjustment tools; you will need your own trolley jack.
What is it?
Ford’s ‘edition’ label has been widely applied to various models by fellow car price list students. Every model is now an “edition” of another model, even the boggo Zetec.
If I had just created a Focus ST hot hatchback that I wanted attention for, I might have chosen a different name than Focus ST Edition. Perhaps the poor thing felt left out, as it was the only Focus derivative that didn’t have an “edition” after its name.
This may sound like a sticker-and-stripes exercise to some people, but it’s not. The ST hatchback is a five-door, five-door model. It comes only in Azura Blue. It features the same engine and drivetrain as any other petrol-powered ST. Inside, it also has fully loaded equipment specifications and part-leather upholstery with blue-matched bodywork.
It also features coilover suspension from KW Automotive, with twin-tube dampers that can be adjusted manually. Powder-coated springs are rated up to 50% higher than standard ST’s, and light, flow-formed 19in alloy wheels.
You might be thinking that hot hatchbacks this modestly priced don’t get the same kind of manual-configurable suspension that you would see on AMGs and Porsches with track-ready capabilities as these. You’d be right. Ford RSs do not typically have suspension like this.
The new coilovers reduce the car’s ride height 10mm at the default settings. This makes the new rims, which offer a 10% saving on unsprung weight, fill the car’s arches. Although I don’t usually like black body trim, the ST Edition’s black roof, mirrors, and ST badges look great.
You’ll find a toolkit in the boot that allows you to adjust your car’s ride height by up to 20mm at each axle, bump damping rate through twelve presets, and rebound through sixteen. To adjust ride height or compression rate, you will need to remove bits of the boot trim and under-bonnet. It’s best to get advice from your main dealer before you attempt it on your driveway. However, it is possible. Although the suspension manual does not list the car’s factory damper settings, it is important to note that once you have started fiddling with the knobs, you might not be able to find the right setting again.
The ST Edition uses the same wheel geometry as the standard ST and has active diff settings. It’s very easy to drive on a Broad. The steering doesn’t follow camber and bumpsteer well. You can still feel the diff work when cornering hard under load but you won’t experience any tractive corruption. It doesn’t jiggle or squirm in your hand like the old RS’s. Although the car’s Sport’ and Racetrack driving modes can feel a bit heavy and spongy, it doesn’t get fighty.
The car’s ride is louder than the regular ST’s. This is what you are most likely to notice. The ST Edition’s suspension is able to roar through the uprights, into the cabin, somewhat due to its coarse surface.
The new suspension offers more incisiveness and bite, as well as balance. However, it’s a small price. Although the ST was already a specialist in these areas, the ST Edition turns in very well indeed. It can swivel its hips, rotate mid-corner, and trailing throttle on a trailing throttle without any hesitation. The car’s ‘ESP Sport’ mode allows you to explore the beginnings of the chassis’s playfulness without intervention; turn the electronics off completely, though, and they’ll stay off, making for wonderfully poised, 90s-hot-hatchback-level handling adjustability when you tee it up just right.
The ST Edition’s body control is a little tauter and the car’s movements are shorter and more controlled than the regular ST. The ST Edition’s appeal lies in the ability to tailor its setup to your favorite trackday or backroad test route. At low speeds, the car may feel slightly firmer that a regular ST. It is not brittle or jiggly but it is mostly well gristly and tightly tied down.
Fluency is soon apparent at higher speeds. Large and medium-sized bumps can easily be taken with confidence. Although a little bit of ride dexterity was sacrificed, the chassis is able to maintain its wheels on the ground and its body level over difficult surfaces. The dampers take most inputs in a snap, without jolting you about.
If the car was mine, I would probably add a bit more wheel travel to the car, if I were going to be using it only on cross-country roads. I also might do some compression damping. You could adjust the relative ride height between the front and the rear to adjust the car’s roll axis tilt and balance its handling.
You’d discover a world that few cars this size would be able to offer you. You could leave it alone and just enjoy the product that came out of the factory. It certainly isn’t screaming to be fiddled about for its own sake. It is very good indeed.
Do I need one?
Hold on. You may think, “A regular Focus ST is a great car to drive,” but you can also have one in any color you like.
Both of these are correct. However, an ST hatchback manual-equipped with Ford’s optional Performance Pack, and an optional paint color, is almost a PS35,000 proposition on its own. This special version is not overpriced, at least when compared to a regular ST.
The standard version is for you if you don’t want to use a spanner or trolley jack, or if Azura Blue is not your thing. It is much easier to adjust the adaptive dampers on the standard ST than it is to turn the radio on. Plus, it will be easier to use on your commute to work. Continue reading below Advertisement
The ST Edition, even with its default suspension settings, is a more engaging, engaging, and accessible entertainer than regular ST. It is especially appealing when the roads are inviting and your mood is right. I also suspect that the car’s dynamic setup will feel more personal after you make it your own.