Used cars: how to buy a second-hand Ford Focus ST (2006-2010) | CAR Magazine

Used cars: how to buy a second-hand Ford Focus ST (2006-2010)

Published: 20 March 2012 Updated: 01 February 2015

When the Focus ST launched back in 2006, it served up something genuinely different in the hot-hatch segment. Yes, there’s that unique 2.5-litre, five-cylinder turbocharged engine, endowing the ST with a beautiful, Ur Quattro-like warble and bags of easy torque. But it’s more than that: the whole feel of the Focus ST – while undoubtedly sporty and great to drive – is also laid back, thanks to an incredibly compliant chassis, which soaks up the worst of a British B-road while maintaining excellent composure to ensure you get the best from it too. In fact, the Focus ST feels a lot like a Jaguar, a company which was – back then, remember – still under the Ford umbrella, so perhaps that’s no surprise.

Today, you can pick up an ST from £5k, with a choice of three specs, from bare-bones ST, through to ST-2 and all-the-toys ST-3. Value for money and that laid-back feel, together with the option of a five-door bodyshell, gives the ST a real USP over its big brother, the hard-riding, three-door-only, far more expensive Focus RS.

Buying and running a Ford Focus ST

Specialist Graham Goode Racing says Focus STs have proved generally strong and reliable over the last six years that they’ve been dealing with them. There are, however, several things to be aware of:

• Some owners have experienced problems with the clutch pedal not returning to the up position, especially during, or after, hard driving. This is generally due to the hydraulic fluid boiling and air bubbles forming. Bleeding the clutch and using high boiling-point DOT 5.1 fluid usually solves this problem.
• The abundance of torque means that Focus ST front tyres do a lot of work, so they can wear quickly, especially on the very inner edges. So what looks like a healthy and legal tyre on the outside can sometimes be worn through to the canvas on the very inner edge.
• A diaphragm in the combined oil filter/engine breather housing can sometimes split, causing some or all of the following problems: erratic running, poor performance, excessive oil consumption, blue smoke from the exhaust, and strange noises from the engine. The engine warning light may also illuminate.
• A turbocharged engine is easily tuned, and there have been instances where uprated cars’ cylinder liners have cracked. This can be misdiagnosed as head-gasket failure, but is far more serious. Graham Goode Racing reports that the problem seems to be restricted to the earlier models, as the Focus RS uses a stronger cylinder block, which was also used on later ST models.
• When CAR ran a long-term ST, we struggled to top 20mpg, way off the claimed combined figure of 30.3mpg. To put that in context, we got similar mpg out of our 6.2-litre Mercedes E63 AMG.
• Ford recommends you service the ST every 12,500 miles, or annually, whichever comes first. Check the service history to make sure your potential purchase is up to date.





PRODUCED: 2006 to 2010
ENGINE: 2522cc 20v five-cylinder turbo, 222bhp @ 6000rpm, 236lb ft @ 1600-4000rpm
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual,  front-wheel drive
SUSPENSION: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
WEIGHT: 1392kg
LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT: 4337/2019/1500mm


1 25-year-old, three points, car parked on street, five years’ no claims’ discount. £636, with £200 excess, fully comp
2 35-year-old, three points, car parked on drive, full no claims’ discount. £435, with £200 excess, fully comp
3 45-year-old, clean licence, car garaged, full no claims. £371, £200 excess, fully comp




ST-2, 2005, five door, 50,000 miles, standard car, full main dealer service history, 12 months MoT, xenon headlights, private. £5250
ST-2, 2006, three door, 85,000 motorway miles, Ford service history, xenon headlamps, heated mirrors, 12 months’ MoT, four month’s tax, trade. £5650
ST-3, 2006, three door, 68,000 miles, full service history with last service 1000 miles ago, heated leather seats, electric heated mirrors, rain-sensitive wipers, trade. £6950

Click here for Ford Focus ST cars for sale



Headlight: £83
Exhaust backbox: £356
Shock absorber (front): £67

Thanks to: Goode Racing, 0116 244 0080

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By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator