Top Gear's ultimate hot hatch test...
….featuring the ultimate driver. But which car will prevail?
Posted: 22 May 2013
This is just as well, because when you start to analyse it, a few things come to light. Chiefly a lack of traction and abundance of torque-steer. The ST has neither the limited-slip differential or clever front suspension design of the Megane and Astra. Both were fitted to the old Focus RS, but they've been ditched here for cost reasons.
So you punch the power, and the steering wheel wriggles and shrugs, and the ST wanders off line. It's actually sort of charming, and at least you know the car is busily working away. You have to live with it in the wet, but, in the dry, you can get round it by being smooth and progressive. However, while that's what the GTI and Astra respond best to, the Focus is that bit more scrap-happy. Sounds awesome, too, all toothy induction note. It really loves corners and rewards you for having a proper go at them. That sharp steering pitches the soft-yet-controlled body in hard, to the extent that it's often the rear wheels that give way first. The ST is easily the most tail-happy of these four and is, in fact, the
only one that really enjoys a bit of lift-off oversteer.