Watch out Toyota RunX RSi and VW Golf GTi, there’s a new player in the performance market. Ford has expanded its Focus range in South Africa and it includes the new two-litre ST170. How well will it do?

Watch out Toyota RunX RSi and VW Golf GTi, there’s a new player in the performance market. Ford has expanded its Focus range in South Africa and it includes the new two-litre ST170. How well will it do?

Included in the Focus range are three body-styles and three specification levels. For the first time, 1,6-litre and two-litre high performance models join the current two-litre derivative. The 1,6- and two-litre models are available in four- and five-door hatch and saloon versions, while the ST170 (the ST stands for Sports Technology) hatch comes in three-door guise. The engines are mated with five-speed manual transmissions.

The three DOHC, 16-valve petrol engines develop 74, 96, and 126 kW from the 1,6-litre Sigma, two-litre Zetec E and two-litre Duratec ST powerplants respectively.

The vehicles are spacious due to a longer wheelbase (2615 mm) and optimum shoulder room (1358 mm).

While sharing the three- and five-door front-end design, the saloon derivatives have individual rear styling. The saloon provides a more traditional tone with six-light profile and short tail containing a wide, deep luggage compartment. It has 490 litres of luggage capacity, which can be increased further by utilising the 60/40-split rear seatback.

Ford marketing manager Neal Hill said that having only the two-litre model until now meant that they did not have the critical mass on the roads. But all this will change with the new models, in particular the smaller engine.

“We know that the Focus represents a truly good package, which is enhanced by the inclusion of a 1,6-litre derivative, which appeals to a much larger audience," said Hill.

All Focus models are equipped with a key-operated hood lock, which prevents the engine compartment cover from being opened from inside the car. This simple innovation, together with PATS (passive anti-theft system), makes it almost impossible to steal the car by “hot wiring” the ignition system. Central locking is standard, with remote control and door auto-lock when the vehicles speed exceeds 6 km/h.

Standard features throughout the range include dual-stage driver and front passenger airbags, air-conditioner with a pollen filter, 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, radio/CD front loader with speed sensitive auto-volume adjustment, central locking and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). The 1,6-litre comes with front electric windows.

The 2,0-litre gains all round electric windows and a multi-function trip computer. It also has black mesh upper and lower front grilles, sports seats with special trim fabrics, instruments with unique graphics and a metallic finish gearshift knob and leather steering wheel rim. An uprated sports suspension is also standard.

The ST170 comes with a new six-speed Durashift manual transmission, side airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels, low profiles, six-disc CD shuttle, steering column multi-adjustment, Recaro sport seats and sport styling.

The instrument panel with silver-faced, electro-luminescent gauges features a 7,250-rpm-redline tachometer, 240-km/h speedometer and additional analogue gauges for oil temperature and oil pressure.

The ST170 has a large-honeycomb-mesh radiator grille and bumper grille, plus round, projector-style foglamps. It also features a new headlamp design that incorporates the turn indicator lamp at its inner edge.

The two-litre Duratec ST engine powering the ST170 churns out 126 kW. The claimed top speed is 215 km/h and Ford says it races from zero to 100 km/h in 8,2 seconds.

Ford says that 85 per cent of the ST’s peak torque (195 N.m at 5 500 r/min) comes at 2 200 r/min and a minimum of 190 N.m available between 2 500 and 6 000 r/min.

South Africans have already seen glimpses of the ST170, with the main characters in the television series Alias racing after terrorists in a blue Focus SVT, the American version of the performance car.

“The advent of the ST170 signals that performance has returned to Ford's product range,” said Hill. “This new ST170 has built on the strengths of the core vehicle and deepens its appeal to enthusiasts.

“With the ST170, we’ve created a performance derivative of the Ford Focus that truly builds on the dynamic foundation of the base vehicle. Enthusiasts will love to zip up and down through the six-speed gearbox, feel the power and torque of the Duratec ST engine and experience the impressive handling and braking capabilities, but they’ll also love ST170 for its unique style and features, its understated refinement and its dependability,” said Hill.

The new Focus features 15 000 km service intervals and a three-year/100 000 km warranty. Included in the price are Ford’s five-year/ 60 000 km Ford Protect Maintenance Plan and a new three-year unlimited kilometre Roadside Assistance package.

Prices:

Ambiente 1,6-litre (4/5 dr) R149 960

Trend two-litre (4/5dr) R181 885

ST170 (3dr) R211 330.

Original article from Car