Independent, impartial advice for car buyers and car owners

Find an Expert Rating: 
Expert Rating

Ford Focus ST (2012 to 2018)

Our unique Expert Rating Index combines scores from 35 of the top UK motoring websites to give you a definitive rating on every new car

Expert Rating

Ford Focus ST (2012 to 2018)

Not a current model


    The Ford Focus ST has long been the ‘sensible’ performance version of the mass-selling hatchback range, a true ‘hot hatch’ with extra potency but not quite to the outlandish standards of the Focus RS. This is the third-generation version which was available as a hatchback or estate from 2012 until its removal from sale in 2018.

    A hot hatch that Car Key‘s Richard Bush said “will happily put a smile on your face just as quick as it will save you money at the pumps”, the Focus ST received positive reviews from the British motoring media during its time on sale, praised for its raw performance and value-for-money, as well as its practicality. The diesel versions were also particularly highlighted for their fuel economy.

    “The Ford Focus ST is not the fastest, sharpest-handling, or best-looking hot hatch”, explained Mat Watson when he wrote for Auto Express. “None of that matters, though. For most people, most of the time, it’s the most fun hot hatch currently on sale.”

    No longer in production, the third-generation Ford Focus ST holds an Expert Rating of 76%, based on 17 reviews published by British motoring sources. This score currently surpasses the percentage score of the current Focus ST model.

    Focus ST highlights

    • Impressive performance
    • Good value-for-money
    • Petrol and diesel engine options
    • As practical as a regular Focus

    Focus ST lowlights

    • Steering lacks feedback
    • Comparatively small boot
    • Some of its rivals were faster

    Key specifications

    Body style: Five-door hatch and estate
    petrol, diesel
    Price when new:
    From £22,005 on-road

    Launched: Summer 2012
    Last updated: Summer 2015
    Replacement due: Summer 2018

    Media reviews

    Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

    Auto Express




    Business Car


    Car Keys








    Honest John


    Motoring Research




    The Sunday Times


    The Telegraph




    Safety rating

    Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

    Overall score: 5 stars
    Date tested: May 2011
    Date expired: January 2019
    Read the full Euro NCAP review

    Adult protection: 92%
    Child protection: 82%
    Vulnerable road users: 72%
    Safety assist: 71%

    Notes on safety rating

    The third-generation Ford Focus was originally crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2011 and awarded a five-star rating. This rating also stood for the performance-enchanced Focus ST.

    However, this rating expired in January 2019 and is no longer valid as the car no longer meets the standards required for such a rating. This is normal practice, as Euro NCAP reviews its ratings on most cars annually with most ratings expiring after about six or seven years.

    However, if you are comparing a used Ford Focus to vehicles of similar age, whose ratings will have probably also expired, its safety rating score is still useful.

    Eco rating

    Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

    No eco rating

    The Ford Focus ST was not lab tested by Green NCAP during its production cycle as it pre-dated Green NCAP’s formation.

    Reliability rating

    MotorEasy logo 600x167

    Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

    All data based on MotorEasy average workshop costs for extended car warranty claims

    As of May 2023, the Ford Focus is slightly above average for reliability with a score of 56%, according to exclusive data provided by our commercial partner, MotorEasy. This covers the current Focus and Focus ST model lines, as well as previous (pre-2018) models, which is worth bearing in mind if you’re looking at a used car.

    The good news is that most of the potential Focus problems are relatively inexpensive. Braking and electrical system problems are comparatively cheap, but unfortunately the big-ticket expense, engine issues, is also the most common Focus fault. Gearbox faults are less common, but are also quite expensive.

    If you’re looking at a used Ford Focus, make sure any extended warranty cover you purchase covers all of these potential problem areas.


    Trophies, prizes and awards that the Ford Focus ST has received.


    • Carbuyer Awards – Best Hot Hatch


    • Auto Express Awards – Best Hot Hatch
    • Top Gear Awards – Best Hot Hatch (estate)

    Similar cars

    If you’re looking at the Ford Focus ST, you might also be interested in these alternatives.

    Audi RS 3 | BMW M135i | Cupra Leon | Honda Civic Type R | Hyundai i30 N | Mercedes-AMG A 35 | Mini Countryman John Cooper Works | Renault Megane RS | Skoda Octavia vRS | Toyota GR Yaris | Volkswagen Golf GTI

    More news, reviews and information about the Ford Focus ST at The Car Expert

    Ford adds ‘Track Pack’ to Focus ST options list

    Ford adds ‘Track Pack’ to Focus ST options list

    Buy a used Ford Focus ST

    If you’re looking to buy a new or used Ford Focus ST, The Car Expert’s partners can help you find the right car.

    Auto Trader logo 600x300

    Search for your next new or used car with Auto Trader. Find out more

    Carwow logo 600x300

    Discover great deals available on both new and used cars. Find out more

    Cazoo 600x300

    Buy a car online from your sofa. We’ll deliver it. Find out more

    Motors 600x300

    Search less, live more. We make finding the right car simple. Find out more

    heycar 600x300

    We’re putting the feel good back into car buying. Find out more

    The UK’s automotive search engine. All the cars in one place. Find out more

    Subscribe to a Ford Focus ST

    If you’re interested in a car subscription, The Car Expert’s partners can help. (PS: What’s a car subscription?)

    Mycardirect subscriptions – 600x300

    Car subscriptions from Mycardirect.
    Find out more

    Wagonex logo 2022

    Car subscriptions from Wagonex.
    Find out more

    Elmo logo 2022

    Electric car subscriptions from Elmo.
    Find out more

    Onto logo 600x300

    Electric car subscriptions from Onto.
    Find out more

    Used car finance

    Looking for an alternative to dealer finance? The Car Expert's partners can help
    We Finance Any Car 400x200

    Used car finance from We Finance Any Car.
    Find out more

    Blue Motor Finance

    Used car finance from Blue Motor Finance.
    Find out more

    Happy Motor Finance 600x300

    Used car finance from Happy Motor Finance.
    Find out more

    Quick Car Finance logo 800x400

    Used car finance from Quick Car Finance.
    Find out more

    Sell your car

    Do you have a car to sell? The Car Expert's partners can offer you a great price
    Motorway 600x300

    Get a free valuation in seconds from Motorway.
    Find out more

    Cazoo 600x300

    Get a free and instant offer for your car from Cazoo.
    Find out more

    Carwow logo 600x300

    The free, easy way to get 3,000+ dealers all over the UK bidding on your car.
    Find out more

    Auto Trader logo 600x300

    Get a cash offer for your car in minutes from Auto Trader.
    Find out more

    This page last updated:

    This page contains links to some of our commercial partners. If you click on any of those links, we may receive a commission.

    Best car rankings

    The top cars in every category

    The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites. We're adding more cars and more lists all the time, so keep checking back for the latest results.

    Best car rankings

    The top cars in every category

    The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites. We'll be adding more cars and more lists all the time, so keep checking back for the latest results.

    The third-generation Ford Focus ST wasn't the most agile hot hatch around, but its performance and practicality made it an appealing package.Ford Focus ST (2012 to 2018)