Ford has a long history of affordable performance cars – from early Escorts and Cortinas onwards, so it’s not surprising that affordability is key to the ST’s case here. The Ford Focus ST carries an eye-catching price indeed for a car with almost 250bhp on tap, let alone one with the dynamic talents we’ve just described.

Entry-level cars do without niceties such as leather, xenons and climate control, but for those who just want a great driver’s car for less, the ST will be cherished.

Matt Burt

Matt Burt

Executive Editor, Autocar
We’d probably leave cruise control and the Driver Assistance Pack alone

It’s a pity, then, that it is value you’ll only really benefit from if you’re a collector and you never plan to sell, because our sources suggest that the secondhand market will be as cruel to this ST as it was to the last one.

The saving you’ll likely make over a Golf GTI on purchase, the experts say, will be more than outweighed by the 15 percent relative residual value deficit you’ll suffer over a three-year ownership period. The ST estate is likely to remain a niche – and undeniably appealing – variant so its likely that residuals will be marginally stronger.

The efficiency of Ford’s new four-cylinder motor should, at least, ease some of that pain. On a touring run we were delighted to see it nudge past 40mpg, while most owners will also better the 30mpg we averaged. Claimed CO2 emissions of 169g/km are enticingly low for those seeking affordable road tax, although it’s nowhere near low enough to encourage company car drivers out of their diesel-engined motors.

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