On Owning A Hot Hatchback…And Becoming Obsessed With Them

Focus ST-1

[Ladies and Gents, welcome Jason Connor to the Hooniverse family. He’s going to regale us with his story as he upgrades his new Focus ST. Also, he owns this… and you KNOW we’ll be diving into that machine. –J.G.]

For us car enthusiasts, there comes a time in which performance and practicality need to mesh in order to find your perfect daily driver. As much as a manual-transmission rear-wheel-drive snorting-V8 revives my inner 10 year old into a rolling giggle factory, they aren’t typically practical as a daily commuter. I drive a fair distance, and fuel economy is a high priority. Still, driving a boring car is a low priority. 

I have a car problem; yes, I am the first to freely admit it. In 18 years of driving I have owned 14 different cars. From F-Body Camaro SS’s to a Lexus LS400, I feel I have enjoyed the flavor of most types of cars while trying to maintain interest in the car at hand. Maybe it’s car A.D.D. or that I just get bored easily, but switching cars every couple of years doesn’t make sense for me and hopefully I will wise up.

After the Lexus bored me rather quickly I moved to my first hot hatch; a 2010 VW GTI. The GTI was a good car, yet I never felt myself smiling while driving it. After seeing car review after car review of a new giggle factory, I decided to jump ship for a new vehicle that has made my commute into a combination of sore cheek muscles and left leg clutch cramp… and I’m happy about both.

It’s time to Focus.

Focus ST-2

The Ford Focus ST a car that has many up in arms but for me it’s been a joy every day I drive it. Yes there are a few things that can be annoying but character in a car means more to me than something stuffy and clinical. I originally wound up in Carlsbad California on a terrifying row of car dealerships. I hate buying cars; that’s funny considering I’ve owned so many, but the process is tedious and I don’t enjoy the sales pressure from either the front end or the back end in financing.

Many cars were driven that day, yet when leaving the area an Oxford White Fiesta ST parked on the corner of the Ford dealership got me into a parking spot and walking up towards the drivers door.  The Fiesta was simply amazing! The lightness, the power delivery of the Ecoboost engine, the feeling of how tossable it was in the corners… I had found enthusiast nirvana. My only reservation was in regards to the overall space. I had carried our Christmas tree in the back of my GTI a month before and I was concerned about being able to do that in the Fiesta. I also saw a Focus ST parked nearby and decided to have a go in that. Holy Torque Steer was the Focus a blast! It felt so planted, sure-footed, and itching to go faster. After a few quick off-ramp tests of lift off oversteer and fast sweepers I knew I had to get it. Hours of deliberation later, the delivery of a specific Focus from Orange County occurred at 9:30 p.m. A mere 6 and a half hours after my dealership adventure had begun, it was over. 

Focus ST-3 

The past tells you that you need to be easy on a new car. The owner’s manual tells you that there is no engine break in period necessary. I tried being easy but I had a few pulls in my first 1000 miles that ensured I had purchased the right car. I haven’t owned a manual daily driver in a few years and the slick shifting Focus ST and growl from the 2.0 Liter Ecoboost felt brilliant. Even though the Focus ST felt strong I had an urge to test the aftermarket. After forums searches and Facebook groups I had decided that my warranty was something I needed to maintain intact. Modifying my daily drivers in the past meant knowing what headaches lurk after a possible blown engine or destroyed transmission from tinkering with something to get that bit of extra horsepower or psi of boost.  I needed a warranty-backed tuner, I needed something sophisticated and non-boy racer, I needed a tuned car that could still be a sleeper to the untrained eye. 

One word, Mountune

  Focus ST-4

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