In some ways, you’re looking at Ford’s next generation of ST performance technology. Not literally, of course. The 2019 Ford Focus ST-Line wagon, as well as the hatch, plugs the gap between the range’s civilised variants and its GTI-fighting ST.
The stuff we’re talking about lurks underneath in an embryonic state. Visually, the wagon stretches 4668mm in length, 290mm longer than the hatch, on the same wheelbase. And up back it houses a special rear multi-link suspension arrangement rumoured for the incoming Ford Focus ST.
And then there’s its engine, the new 1497cc turbo three-pot that shares its main measurement’s with the new Fiesta ST’s unit. Although with a higher compression ratio, and probably less boost, it produces a more civilised 134kW and 240Nm.
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Unleashed on winding roads it stays planted over the bumpy stuff, absorbing what’s thrown at it with grace and poise. Grip from Michelin Pilot Sport 3s is also good enough to expose a lack of seat bolstering. The rest, though, feels slightly under baked.
The problem is that front-end. The chassis shifts weight on the nose to find turn-in, but while the steering is direct, it needs more feel and a better sense of the front tyres at all speeds.
Tested and rated: MOTOR reviews
We get it, though, it’s a warm wagon, not some fire breathing ST model, and the powertrain feels just so. That three-pot moves with some enthusiasm from 3000 to 5000rpm and its eight-speed gearbox dispatches shifts smoothly. We just couldn’t unlock its growl no matter what mode we used. And we could not, after a good look, find a button to switch off the ESP.
Step back from it and it’s a sharp looking thing along with a refreshing niche among the metal we get to test. And although the Focus ST Wagon will need a big step up in response, power, shift feel and front-end point from this showing, the foundations are at least there.
2019 FORD FOCUS ST-LINE WAGON SPECS:
Engine: 1.5-litre inline-3, turbo
Power: 134kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 240Nm @ 1750-5000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with paddle shift