The Ford Focus ST has enjoyed a relatively calm, if brief, reign in the world of hot hatches. With nothing else in the class (in the States, at least) but the aging Mazdaspeed3 and Subaru Impreza WRX and the slow-selling Volkswagen Golf R, the Blue Oval's 252-horsepower five door has been the go-to vehicle for those that don't need the high-octane lunacy (and expense) of the rally bred Subaru Impreza WRX STI and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.

Now, though, as the new Subaru WRX (it's not an Impreza anymore, though, neither is it a hatchback...) starts to arrive at dealers, the Focus ST appears to be under threat for the first time. Naturally, Motor Trend is here to figure out which one is the best, with another one of its Head 2 Head videos. Host Jonny Lieberman puts both cars through their paces, going above and beyond, quite literally, at the very end of the video.

Have a look below and let us know what you think of MT's verdict in Comments.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 225 Comments
      domingorobusto
      • 11 Months Ago
      Much as I loved the ST I test drove, they have some issues. The Recaros are very nice, but only if you have a very narrow butt. I'm 5'11", 210 lbs, reasonably wide but not huge by any means, basically damn close to average for an American male, and I simply did not fit. One thigh or the other was up on the bolster, which made my lower back scream for mercy in short order. The regular ST1 seats are much more comfortable. Then we get to the killer for me. The pedals are offset from the centerline of the steering wheel. You kind of have to sit cocked to the right, which feels weird as all hell. And the center console is very intrusive on your right knee. It all adds up to a fairly uncomfortable driving position that I just don't think I could get used to. Which sucks, because in every other way it is an incredible car. I did not think a FWD could handle like that. As he said in the video, turn in is crazy quick and VERY precise. You point, it goes. And I LOVE the tail happy attitude. A FWD that rotates?!? Power is damned impressive, and torque steer really isn't an issue. The brakes are damned good too. But as much as I liked it, the driving position means I'll never buy one. I think the WRX will win on that alone.
      Jasonn
      • 11 Months Ago
      His comment about the WRX's looks made me laugh, "Its ugly, but in 5 years I'll probably be saying wow, its a good looking car."
        Erik Berge
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jasonn
        Good he said it, Last WRX I thought looked good was the 2006.
      Scooter
      • 11 Months Ago
      Both are fun sports cars, but nothing beats a hot hatch. If WRX was offered in 5 door form, it might win my vote. Until it gets a hatch door, I'm looking the other way.
        NissanGTR
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Scooter
        The wrx is the only sports car in that competition.
        hokkaido76
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Scooter
        What a moron.......
          Scooter
          • 11 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          lol... Non-sense insults are childish and uncalled for. Just disagree, you don't need to act like your 12 and call me names. Besides, fans of this segment love hatches, more people than you think are disappointed to see WRX drop the five door variant. Fast sedans are great, but nothing beats the versatility and sporty looks of a fast hatch back.
          hokkaido76
          • 11 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          @ Scooter: I am not going to entertain and try to argue with people that have their heels dug in and won't consider the possibility that there are others that disagree with their opinion on the subject. As far as my personal opinion is concerned, I just don't think having a five door variant is as big of a deal as the boy racers are making it out to be. Additionally, I'm kind of sick of hearing the people saying "where's the hatch?" in EVERY single WRX-related post (that statement is as tired as "where's the beef?" at this point). At the end of the day, harping about the lack of a liftgate on the 15' WRX is kicking a dead horse (It's not happening for this generation, and whining about it at every possibility isn't going to change that).
          hokkaido76
          • 11 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          @scraejtp: nothing but highly subjective opinion and unnecessary rhetoric........ NEXT!
          john96xlt
          • 11 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          "I am not going to entertain and try to argue with people that have their heels dug in and won't consider the possibility that there are others that disagree with their opinion on the subject. " LMAO! That's is ALL you do! When you're not making fun of somebody politically, you're bashing their opinion as if it somehow nullifies your (biased) opinion.
          Scooter
          • 11 Months Ago
          @hokkaido76
          Why do you keep referring to me as a "boy racer!" Your suggesting I'm some kind of lawnmower-exhaust, 1990s Civic half painted in primer with stuffed toy hanging from the back bumper, street punk. I was actually considering replacing one of my cars with a Impreza WRX 5 door. I just wasn't impressed with the current 5 door model enough to spend $26,000 on it. I was really hoping Subaru would make a new generation 5 door, but they didn't. My attention immediately turned to Fords ST. Why? My parents drove Ford's for over 300,000 miles with minimal problems. I consider Ford to be a very reliable brand in the long term quality. ST looks a little like a carp (lol) and doesn't offer a lot of stuff I like standard, but rather as a pricey options package. So I haven't bought either one. I'm thinking Ford will give Focus an aggressive refresh soon so I'm pondering either a regular model Focus 5 door with sport body bits or ST, which ever looks better. I would gravitate towards ST because I feel it would be a better everyday driver than WRX. Just my opinion.
      bookemd
      • 11 Months Ago
      Where's the ****** wagon?! Lol
      Gorgenapper
      • 11 Months Ago
      No hatch WRX, no care.
        Gettin Randy
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Gorgenapper
        You know for a "Subaru guy", you never seem to have anything good to say. It's always one complaint or another about something. Maybe you should sell your Subaru and go buy a Honda. You'll fit right in with the ricer Civic crowd.
      AcidTonic
      • 11 Months Ago
      WRX over ST any day of the week..... Especially if you plan to add horsepower.
        • 11 Months Ago
        @AcidTonic
        [blocked]
      lendersmith
      • 11 Months Ago
      Ford list base price on a Focus ST at $24,450 before $1K rebate, making it a net $23,450. Subaru WRX "estimated" base price is $26,500. (They seem to have similar standard equipment). Assuming you would have to pay list price for either one, Is the Subi really $3,000 better? I kinda doubt it.
      al4gg10
      • 11 Months Ago
      Good scooter, you will be looking at my Subaru WRX rear end as your Focus ST oversteers around a corner if it stays together long enough ! The more Focus STs out there the more Focus ST hoods that will be propped open on the side of the road ! Those uncomfortable Recarro seats / the FORDMYTOUCH ..... enjoy your hatch !
        • 11 Months Ago
        @al4gg10
        [blocked]
        SpacemanSpiff
        • 11 Months Ago
        @al4gg10
        Well when I get my ST (still undecided between Focus and Fiesta, but I plan to have one or the other within a year), It's not going to be with the intent of impressing you with its cornering prowess. It only needs to impress me with how fun it is to drive on the street, I'm not trying to race people and there's no tracks anywhere near me. Like someone else said, I have to sit in it too, and I want it to be comfortable and not look like a carryover interior from the 90's. There's nothing wrong with the Recaro's, unless maybe you're a XXL kind of guy/gal, and I have no problems with MFT in two of my other vehicles. Ford wins hands down for me. But go ahead and try and act all serious and hardcore when you pass me on the street, I'll still be the one with a bigger smile on my face.
        Scooter
        • 11 Months Ago
        @al4gg10
        I like the WRX five door, not so hot about the sedan, it looks like a Corolla with a body kit.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 11 Months Ago
      Everyone knows the ST is a detuned 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 right?
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        [blocked]
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        [blocked]
        crzydavy
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        Not really, but you can't keep pretending if you like.
        domingorobusto
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Radioactive Flea
        Ford did derive some of their Ecoboost technology from lessons learned with the DISI MZRs as found in the MS3, but they are very different engines. And the only reason the EB makes less power is the fitted it with a tiny little turbo to improve spool and low end response. The EB 2.0 makes it's power a lot earlier than the DISI MZR 2.0 did. The Ecoboost is the development of the groundwork laid by Ford and Mazda with the DISI MZR. And the chassis are completely different. Much as I like the old Mazda3 chassis, which is a LOT, the new Focus handles better. While basically identical in focus and very similar in many aspects, they really are completely different cars.
          Gorgenapper
          • 11 Months Ago
          @domingorobusto
          As a side note, I hope that Mazda steps and up makes a 2.0 or 2.5 SkyActiv-based turbo engine for the next MS3. It had better not be a carry over of the MZR, which was awesome for its time and even made Ward's engines list for 3 years, but needs to be retired.
      Erik Berge
      • 11 Months Ago
      I actually like the front end of the WRX, not bad looking crazy little AWD turbo rocket. It's the back end that sucks, give me a Wagon/Hatchback option and I'de consider it if shopping for this type of vehicle. I love my performance but I need my real world versatility as well. I cant afford to have cars as toys. I want an all in one.
      juststudent
      • 11 Months Ago
      the road looks very fun where is that?
        hookb4ulook
        • 11 Months Ago
        @juststudent
        this is the road that takes you up to mount hamilton from central valley area in CA. watch for cyclists
      IBx27
      • 11 Months Ago
      The "wrx" sounds like ass with the even-length headers. There is no longer a reason to want one. Good job, subaru.
    • Load More Comments