Hot hatches are great, aren't they? You get every bit of the practicality you get in a normal hatchback, but performance that'd humble a supercar...from the 1970s. Still, they're fast and fun, which is what most people want from a car when you think about it.
There's plenty of choice out there for the hot-hatch hunter, though there's one company that knows how to combine small and fast better than most. That company is Ford, a brand that's been tuning up its cars since it were a lad.
Take a look at its history -- the Escort Cosworth, the Sierra Cosworth, anything with a Cosworth badge, the Lotus Cortina...All cars that conjure images of driving at silly speeds irresponsibly down country lanes (even though many probably weren't). Still, Ford knows its onions.
The Focus ST is, without doubt, one of the best hot hatches around. It offers pretty much everything you could need from a car. It's good-looking to start with -- it's got a honeycomb grille that's neatly offset by a bodykit loud enough to appeal to boy racers but subtle enough to not look out of place in Mayfair.
Its engine, a 2.0-litre EcoBoost, pushes out 250 bhp and 250 pound-feet -- more than enough to entertain you after a rubbish day at the office -- yet still manages nearly 40mpg (UK).
There's space in there for all the things you could possibly need AND it's comfortable AND it's full to the brim with safety gear, nav, and so on.
On the road it's comfortable, fast, and rewarding to drive. It won't spit you off the road at any given moment and it feels composed at every turn. It's an amazing all-round car.
The Focus ST has a job on its hands to best the likes of theand the VW Golf GTI, but you know what? I reckon it's the best of the bunch...
|Torque||250 lb. ft.|
|0-62 mph||6.5 seconds|
|Top speed||154 mph|