But it was the 2015 Focus ST that grabbed me by the eyeballs and didn’t stop there. In resplendent “Race Red” and a thick double black stripe spilling down the rakishly curved hood, this cocky hatchback leered at me. I could tell by the beefy grille and squat stance, this was no popemobile.
This, in fact, was the Magic Mike of the Focus family. All cheeky manmeat, inviting me for a lap dance with a down and dirty grin. And quicker than you can say “Ride My Pony,” I had slid in behind the black leather-wrapped wheel, sighed back into the well-bolstered leather seats, and hit the start button. Gripping the firm six-speed gearshift, I slid into first and the sporty gadabout rumbled forward.
I should note here that Toronto has been preparing for the 2015 Pan Am games, which meant our local obsession with congestion had been ratcheted up, especially since most highways and major streets were down a lane. Yes, the Einsteins in charge of the roads had designated the passing lane as a “high occupancy vehicle” (HOV) lane reserved for official games transport, and vehicles with three or more people inside. Luckily, I found the ensuing traffic chaos was largely limited to rush hour. And driving out to the west end mid-morning, many of the vehicles cruising in the HOV lanes were single drivers, and even a couple of motorcycles.
Driving this bad boy made it tempting to blast past the speed limit, but I stayed in the allocated lanes and still made good time – possibly because the Focus ST made it such fun to nip in and out of traffic. Naturally, I had the benefit of Sirius radio pounding out the beats, so we grooved along the Gardiner and eventually, up my favourite routes on the Niagara Escarpment.
As the road snaked around stony elevations and grassy meadows, the Focus showed off its smooth moves. We muscled through corners, eased up slopes with the brute strength of a warrior, whirled around century farmhouses and estates quickly and cleanly. The ST worshipped the asphalt, flexing its 252 horsepower engine at my command, the gyrations of its turbo power fluttering through my hand on its shifter.
But like Magic Mike himself, the ST was charming and well-mannered when it had to be, ferrying family members to a movie here, a luncheon there, even a birthday party. One of the few four-door hot hatchbacks out there, the ST had a surprisingly practical side that belied its bawdy looks. I toted a goodly number of groceries, cat food and litter, even a set of brand new dishes in that roomy hatch, without nary a bump or grind.
Still, when all was said and done, it was the chiselled features and lascivious moves of the ST that had me hooked.
This is a car that can lead you into some serious sinning.
Thank goodness I’m not a Catholic.