I love oddball cars!
Little known fact. When Ford discontinued the Ford Focus SVT in 2004, it was replaced with the Ford Focus ZX4 ST. Now you are asking what is the Focus SX4 ST? Exactly my thoughts. To appease the enthusiast crowd who loved the SVT Focus – Ford debuted the Focus ZX4 ST. But no one ever knew that and it could be the best enthuasist car in the market that no one knows about.
What makes it special?
The Focus SVT was special because of it’s 170-hp Cosworth tuned Zetec engine. It’s hard to top that engine, but Ford might have done that. The 2005 Focus ZX4 ST heart is actually a Mazda Duratec engine (Mazda makes everything great). A 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 151-hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. Down 19-hp but up 9 lb-ft of torque – that all translates to only 0.2 seconds slower to sixty mph. The suspension wasn’t as taught as the SVT, but to some that might be preferred. It sports the same dampers, but softer spring rates. It gets worse. All-seasons replaced the summer tires. Sixteen-inch wheels replaced the seventeen-inch wheels. And all that translates to a drop in it’s skidpad performance – 0.87 g to 0.81 g. But all that can be corrected quite easily and cheaply in the aftermarket.
Did removing the “V” from the Focus SVT hurt the Focus SX4 ST?
It’s not all about the “V,” or is it? Motor Trend did a comparison in 2005 and felt like the soul of the car was taken away when you remove the Cosworth tuned Zetec engine. But Car and Driver said “...despite being shorted one letter and a handful of horsepressure, the ST holds its own on the track while adding some class and maturity.” And that was in 2005, today the Focus SX4 ST is an absolute bargain and a perfect candidate for track or rally cross.
Go buy and enjoy it
You don’t always need to have the race trim of a model to have fun. Typically the chassis used in the performance model is the same as the lower base models. There isn’t an excuse to race anymore with all the cheap enthusiast cars available. Go out and race.