We wouldn’t be surprised to find that there’s a rule book when it comes to designing a hot hatchback’s interior. ‘To the engineering team: phone Recaro. Change the steering wheel. Add natty touches, some badges and a few extra dials.’ If such a thing exists, in the Focus ST, Ford has followed it to the letter.

It means that the Ford Focus ST’s major cabin architecture follows that of the standard car. And that, in turn, means that it’s one of the best in the small-medium car business and exudes an impression of quality and solidity that is the envy of most cars in the sector.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Driving position is quite high but otherwise hard to fault

The ST-specific additions are welcome. The Recaro seats are plentifully adjustable and, thankfully, are sited considerably lower than those of the previous-generation car. However, they remain, to our bums, higher and less adjustable than a Golf GTI’s, although they do have the measure of the Renault Mégane Cup’s.

The leather-bound steering wheel rim is a little fatter and more sculpted than that of a regular Ford Focus, while the gearlever gets an ‘ST’ badge but otherwise continues to perform its task in the same unobtrusive way as that of any of its siblings.

There are two trim levels to choose from: ST-2 and ST-3. The entry-level models come with the ST bodykit, 18in alloy wheels, rear spoiler, sports suspension and partial leather Recaro seats, while inside owners have the delight of Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system complete with DAB radio, sat nav and an 8.0in touchscreen display, dual-zone climate control, heated windscreen and auto lights and wipers, while the range-topping ST-3 trim garnishes the Focus with adaptive bi-xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, cruise control, a rear view camera and electrically adjustable leather Recaro seats.

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Things are not all perfect, of course; such an interior has not yet been created. Some will bemoan the fact that there are rear doors at all. The steering wheel-operated entertainment/trip systems we have used a great deal but still don’t find all that intuitive.

And while most of the material choices in the cabin are hard to fault, if you climb straight from a Focus and into a Golf there is something about the Volkswagen’s simplicity and feel that implies durability, regardless of whether that is actually the case or not.

The 2015 facelift brought a host of alterations to the ST range, the most noticeable changes were made to the exterior where an aggressive bodykit, bigger alloys and large honeycomb mesh grille dominate, but inside various changes have been made, including the removal of numerous fiddly buttons. The facelift also brought about a sizeable update of the infotainment system in the shape of Sync 3 brings a host of new connectivity updates including better integration of smartphones to the infotainment with the addition of Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink.

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