When I presented this year's Best New Cars list, I lamented the fact that the list was... well, a bit light. But I also recognized that we were witnessing the birth of a truly great cars: The Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. (Okay, two of history's great cars.)
This week, I'm driving the second... third? Well, whatever -- I'm driving a Ford Focus ST, and I think it, too, will go down as one of history's greats.
You'll remember that I took a quick drive in a Focus ST at the annual Motor Press Guild Track Day event, and was blown away. Now I have one all to myself, and while my first day with the car was rather mundane -- shuttling kids, sitting in traffic on the way to a meeting -- I am beyond impressed.
I'm trying to work out the opening for my Focus ST review, and I think it's going to go like this: The mark of a great hot hatchback is that it feels nothing like the car on which it is based. And that holds true for the Focus ST. The regular Focus is a great car to drive, but the ST is completely transformed: Different sound, different demeanor, different feel. It reminds me of the Mitsubishi Evo -- the fact that it's based on a Lancer is purely a formality.
I have many more miles to put on the Focus ST, plus a run (or six) on the About.com Top Secret Curvy Test Road, but I don't see how the Focus will disappoint me. I have a hard-and-fast rule that I must drive a car before December 31st in order for it to qualify for a Best New Cars spot. Technically, I did drive the Focus ST in November, but that was only on a track -- and I've found cars (coughCaliberSRT4cough) that were fine on the track but miserable on the road. So far, the Focus ST is shaping up to be a great all-rounder, and I'm thinking I might have to bend that rule and add it to The List. I can tell you one thing: In twenty years, we'll look back on the Focus ST and hold it in the same regard as the Subaru WRX and the first-gen GTI. In my opinion, this car truly is one of the greats.
Photo © Ford