Ford has really stepped up its performance game in the past few years, starting of course with the 2011 Mustang GT and the return of the 5.0 liter V8. But Ford didn’t stop there, also bringing in EcoBoost engines to the Taurus SHO and, most recently, the Ford Focus ST. While the Taurus SHO has a very high starting price of $39,200, both the Focus ST and Ford Mustang can be had for around $25,000, or a little more if you go for a lot of options/the V8 engine.
Which brings us to a very important question for all you Ford fans out there…would you rather have a fully-loaded-to-the-hilt Focus ST, or a base model Mustang GT?
It is a question worth delving into as a loaded Focus ST and a base model Mustang GT are actually very close in price. For while the 247 horsepower Focus ST starts at $23,700, once you include the $795 destination price the Focus ST really starts at $24,495.
And options on the Focus ST aren’t cheap. The 202A package will add $4,435 to the MSRP, which adds heated leather Recaro racing seats touch screen navigation, 10 speaker Sony audio system, dual zone climate control, HID lamps, and Ford’s SYNC system adds a whopping (though still a great deal) $4,435 to the final cost. That ain’t cheap, but the package also includes MyFord Touch ambient lighting, a rear armrest, and of course Ford’s 247 horsepower 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine.
If you were to go all-out and opt for the moonroof ($895), floor mats ($179), and the awesome Tangerine Scream Tri-Coat ($495) you’d end up spending $30,499 – a monthly payment of around $518.
That is almost exactly what a base model Mustang GT coupe will cost you. In fact, after destination charges, the Mustang GT coupe comes out to $31,095, a difference of just $596. For that money, you get air conditioning, cloth seats, a six-speed manual transmission, and a single-disc CD player.
But what you’re really paying for is Ford’s 420 horsepower 5.0 liter V8 engine, which delivers almost twice as much horsepower as the Focus ST. But the Focus ST is also quite a bit lighter, and while it may be front-wheel drive, Ford has made great strides in improving the handling of its front-drive performance vehicles. Just ask the Brits, who love their Focus RS hot hatchbacks.
There is a slight advantage to fuel economy due to the obvious smaller displacement of the ST; the 2013 Mustang GT is rated at 15 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. The Focus ST gets a 23 city rating and 32 highway rating. That’s about on par with the 19/31 rating of the 305 horsepower Mustang V6 that you could get fully loaded for the same price as a loaded Focus ST.
At the end of the day, your preference comes down to a personal choice. Some people might not care as much about rear-wheel drive and V8 engines as they do about practical performance and comfort. Others might not give one red cent about Ford’s SYNC system or Recaro leather seats so long as they get that unbridled Mustang performance. For some people, rear-wheel drive is a deal breaker; for others a Focus is still a Focus, turbocharger be damned.
So sound off and let us know what you’d rather drive; a fully-loaded Focus ST, or a base-model, cloth-seats-and-manual-transmission Mustang GT?