Share This Article

FOCUSING ON PERFORMANCE

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Jun 19, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

© All photos by Harvey Schwartz

FOCUSING ON PERFORMANCE By HARVEY SCHWARTZ

With the introduction of the new ST model, Ford is once again sharpening the Focus's performance characteristics. It's been three year's since Ford dropped the SVT model Focus, but this new ST version brings some of the SVT's looks and driving fun back into focus. For 2005, Focus again offers four unique body styles with new, simpler model and trim designations. The range includes the three-door hatchback ZX3, a four-door sedan ZX4, a five-door hatchback ZX5, and a station wagon ZXW. The entry-level trim series is S, followed by SE and SES, which have higher levels of standard equipment and options. The range-topping ST performance model that I tested is only offered in the ZX4 body style. Every 2005 Focus receives new front-end treatment that echoes cues from Ford's new flagship sedan, the Ford Five Hundred. The new hood and fenders fall away less sharply than the original design, so the car appears more substantial. Detail changes include new headlamps with reshaped clear lenses, a larger grille with a new diamond pattern ringed in chrome and a new fascia with wider, lower air intake and round fog lamps. Sedan models also receive new tail lamps and new rear bumper fascia.

The most dramatic design departure is the new interior, reflecting the priorities Ford has set for its cabins: clean and modern looking, highly functional and built of high-quality materials. The new, sportier instrument cluster is symmetrical and easy to see, the driver and front passenger areas are divided by two rectangular climate control registers-the hazard switch and a shallow center stack for the audio and climate control systems. New storage areas include a storage drawer for six CDs, located by the driver's left knee, and an open storage space located just below the climate control dials. The floor console houses the stick shifter, two-cupholders, parking brake lever and optional features such as the traction control on/off button. An overhead console with sunglass holder and space for a garage door opener is a new option. The front doors now include molded-in beverage holders. The high-performance Focus ST adds, on the outside, body-color door handles, ground effects kit for the front and rear fascias, a satin alloy grille, lower side extensions, unique 16X6.5 five-spoke aluminum machined alloy wheels, a 3-inch round, chrome exhaust tip, aero-styled, power-heated exterior mirrors, and a rear spoiler. Under the skin is the powerful Duratec 2.3-liter, aluminum alloy, DOHC Inline four-cylinder engine with a performance-tuned exhaust that generates a robust 151 hp at 5,750 rpm and 154 lb. ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm, a performance tuned, fully independent suspension and four-wheel power-assisted disc brakes with ABS.

The ST's interior is more sportier with sport bucket seats with leather and suede inserts and more side bolstering that adds to your lateral support, silver-faced gauges, and a tilting/telescoping, leather-wrapped, sport steering wheel with matching leather shift knob, both with contrasting red stitching. Standard equipment includes solar tinted glass, A/C, manual seat height adjustments, front map/reading lamps, interior trunk release, audio/cruise control buttons on the steering wheel, power rack & pinion steering, variable-speed wiper/washers, power windows/door locks, pull perimeter carpeting with front/rear floor mats, 60/40 split folding rear seats, and a center console with padded top. Options include a power moonroof, 6-disc indash CD player with Sony speakers including a trunk mounted subwoofer. Standard safety features include 3-point safety belts for all seating positions with pretensioners/load limiters up front, front/rear crush zones, steel beams in each door, child LATCH system, child-proof rear door locks, and an energy absorbing steering column. Side airbags are optional. After a test drive you'll agree that the new ST model Focus is more fun to drive and only comes with a smooth shifting 5-speed manual adding to your excitement behind the wheel. The MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension easily guides you on your chose path with quick reaction to your inputs via the rack & pinion steering while the front and rear stabilizer bars keep the body from leaning during spirited driving.

You are thrown back into your seat whenever you mash your foot down on the throttle in first, second or third gears. The traction control system helps negate unwanted wheelspin, especially the dreaded 'torque-steer' during launch time. The big power assisted steel disc brakes with ABS help the Focus ST quickly and safely slow down from speed. While not as powerful as the all-new 200hp Chevy Cobalt SS or 230hp Dodge Neon SRT-4, the new Ford Focus ST will give them a run for the money, with plenty of change left over as prices start at just $17,705.00, thousands less than the competition Chevy or Dodge. © All text and photos by Harvey Schwartz For more information on Suzuki products, go to www.fordvehicles.com. More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2005 Ford Focus ZX4 ST Price of vehicle: $17,705.00 base, $19,830.00 loaded Engine type: 2.3 liter Inline four-cylinder DOHC all-aluminum block/heads Horsepower: 151 at 5,750 rpm Torque: 154 lb. ft. at 4,250 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine, front-wheel-drive Transmission type: 5-speed manual transaxle Front suspension: Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, gas-charged shocks, stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Independent, control blade with multi-links, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar Wheels/tires: 16X6.5 5-spoke, aluminum machined alloy wheels, P205/50R16 all-season radial tires. Brakes: Front: 10.9 in. vented steel disc with dual-piston calipers Rear: 9.6 in. solid disc with single piston calipers ABS Overall length: 175.2 in. Overall width: 66.7 in. Overall height: 56.8 in. Curb weight: 2,738 lbs. EPA mileage specs: 23 mpg/city, 32 mpg/highway O-60 mph: 7.4 sec.

You Might Also Like These Articles:

close-up of a hydrogen pump for a gas station.

Hydrogen-Powered Cars & Trucks

a baby-blue Porsche 911 RSR, with only two wheels on the ground, coming around a corner of a racetrack.

The IROC Porsches

the sign from the Olympics, at the front entrance to L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

NASCAR At The Los Angeles Coliseum

VW Italdesign Machimoto with a bunch of guys in overalls and helmets riding in it.

Cool Concept Cars - by Volkswagen

a white 1977 Lotus with small winglets sticking out where the wheels should be.

The Pete is Poppin’