Motoring JULY 2018 ST Line offers a sharper Focus Ford’s Focus ST Line brings attitude to the family hatchback, writes Bernard Potter Model Price Focus ST Line €28,065 1.5TDCi 120PS 3.8L/100km 98g/km With the ST Line, Ford aims to add a dash of rakish appeal to the reliable family hatchback. The five-door ST Line comes with four engine options: a 1L Ecoboost petrol, a 2L diesel, a 2L diesel automatic and the model under test here, the 1.5L diesel. Its exterior falls between the boldness of the RS and the understatement of the regular Focus hatchback. In profile, it has all the attitude you would expect. It’s not quite as distinctive viewed head-on, even with the black upper and lower space grille. However, added brio can be achieved if you take up the large rear spoiler option (€350). Sharper and sleeker Engine Fuel consumption (combined) (manufacturer’s figures) CO2 emissions (manufacturer’s figures) on the first generation SYNC (available as standard), this more advanced version of Ford’s infotainment system seems a little subdued in comparison to its rivals. Frugal but frisky 64 The sportier elements of the exterior styling are echoed inside with sports seats, sports pedals and a flat-bottom steering wheel finished in perforated leather. Owners of regular Focus models should find this ST Line interior sharper and sleeker than what they’re used to, although drivers of some rival sporty hatchbacks might feel it’s a little monochromatic. Dash layout is well-organised and all controls are easily accessible. The range of equipment provided as standard is impressive and includes a full body styling kit and a Quickclear heated windscreen, very useful on cold winter mornings. On the tech front, the SYNC generation 2 with 8-inch touchscreen is available as an additional option (€575) on this model. Neatly positioned in the centrally-located console, it’s easy-to use but, while it’s a significant advance Once its wheels start turning, the ST Line shows its true colours. As well as being relatively frugal in its fuel consumption, the 1.5L diesel engine is surprisingly frisky. It accelerates briskly and performs consistently with an efficiency and power that makes it as convincing on motorways as city streets. The steering is smooth and assured. Handling is excellent, responsive and precise. This is most obvious in cornering, where road grip and the sense of control are immediately evident. And it exits corners with an eagerness that shows its performance pedigree. Bottom line, this car is fun to drive. It’s also relatively frugal on fuel and competitively priced with the 1.0 Ecoboost starting at €25,175 and the 1.5L diesel at €26,220. A full suite of additional options, including a rear view camera, cruise control and a parking pack brings the cost of the I.5L under test here to €28,065. More than a family hatchback but not quite a sports car, the ST Line is carving out its own distinctive niche.