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2015 Ford Focus ST First Sit

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/9/2014 Scott Burgess

It was just a sneak peek really. Parked behind the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Michigan was a 2015 Ford Focus ST.

Better yet, the PR folks at Ford Motor Co. I was having lunch with had the keys to this particular bundle of joy and metal. They were the ones who suggested I take a seat and try it out, becoming the first non-Ford employee to sit behind the wheel of the new Focus ST out in public. Not much of an honor, but I'll take it.

I did get to try out the push-button start, but never got to put the six-speed manual transmission into gear and give it a spin around the parking lot. That, apparently, will have to wait until this fall sometime.

But the new Focus ST, which Motor Trendfirst saw at Goodwood, this summer, actually provides lots of new features and something the Fiesta ST doesn't: Breathing room.

While the Fiesta ST seems to have stolen some of the thunder from the Focus, the reemergence of the Focus ST serves as a good reminder that size really does matter.

2015 Ford Focus ST© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Focus ST See, the European Hot Hatch Fiesta ST seems perfect for those skinny little Europeans with their tight suit pants and urbane lifestyle. Meanwhile, the Focus ST seems to remember that Americans come in all sizes including XXL -- for better or worse. The cabin doesn't feel compact, small or even tight. You don't have to wiggle into the seat or even move it all the way back to get your knees under the steering wheel. You can put friend in the second row and not press your belly against the steering wheel.

No shoehorn was needed to plop into the 2015 Focus ST, even after a full meal of shawarma and fries. The Recaro seats provide plenty of comfort, while still holding me snuggly in place. The flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel spares your knees and looks kind of cool. Sure, everyone seems to offer that feature nowadays, but it's still cool.

The instrument panel has been updated with two gauges and a small color screen between them providing a raft of information. They don't look particularly expensive, but they will give you a quick read out for speed and rpm. This particular model included MyFord Touch and offers hard controls below the touch screen on the center stack. It's a much improved center stack. The center console has been reworked, as has the cupholder. The ST also adds a smart USB port that will charge most devices twice as fast as the outgoing USB ports. I wasn't inside long enough to find out if this is true.

2015 Ford Focus ST© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Focus ST Ford even adds an optional heated steering wheel, which people in California may not appreciate as much as those of us in Michigan. But everyone will likely enjoy the improved steering feel Ford says comes with this car.

The exterior, as noted in the original coverage, has new front and rear fascias to add a more aggressive look. The brake calipers are painted red and all trim levels will come with 18-inch wheels.

The upgraded models include HID headlamps and all models will have the signature LED lighting.

Overall, the package is comprehensive and complete. Sure, the Fiesta ST remains a great value for its solid performance and infinite tossability. But the Focus ST feels like the car adults can use for more than just canyon carving. It can drop the kids off at school, pick up the groceries, and still make some room for friends. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine will provide more than enough power to carve up some canyons as well, but it's everything else this car can do that the Fiesta can't that makes it just as special.

2015 Ford Focus ST© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Ford Focus ST
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