Drool-worthy supercars and sports cars are -- face it -- largely out of reach for the average human. But there's great news for piston-lovers everywhere, too: hot hatches are here to stay, largely due to earth-bound prices, impressive speed that belies their smaller displacement engines, great amenities, and everyday practicality that dwarfs many sedans. To that point, something momentous occurred in the automotive world in 2013. An American car took over the hot hatch throne from the strong Germanic rule of the Golf GTI. That new regent takes the form of the riotously quick and aggressively capable 2013 Ford Focus ST, a pocket rocket that can't be touched by the competition.
Introduced in 2012 as a 2013 model, the Focus ST more than adequately fills the gaping hole left in the hearts of those who lamented the departure of the SVT Focus way back in 2004. Ford does so by way of a slick body that looks just as good looming in the rear-view mirror as it does blasting past. Ford’s high output 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine provides a hefty 252 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, but it’s not just pocket power that the ST boasts: razor-sharp handling from the lowered and sport-tuned suspension and the absence of left-pulling torque steer makes for the kind of driving fun delivered by far more expensive cars. The electrically assisted steering is fantastically quick and impressively precise, and, what’s more, its suspension is comfortable during both weekend track and everyday commute driving.
Ford made sure the ST's interior delivered the goods as well. The ST’s cockpit and its sporting intentions demand your attention. Triple gauges on the dash for oil temp, turbo boost pressure and oil pressure stare at you lovingly. A thick, grippy steering wheel keeps hands at 3 and 9, while the optional Recaro seats hold your tuchus in place as you carve the corners like a modern-day budget-minded Juan Manuel Fangio. This delicious concoction of potent performance, racy attire and happy usability puts the Focus ST at the top of the hot hatch heap. That's a great place to be.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
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