The swift version of the Focus  hatchback has received a make over. The 2015 Focus ST was previewed recently at the GoodWood Festival of Speed, in England.

Changes include exterior and interior tweaks as well as some new tech, and suspension upgrades. Engineers have fussed with the suspension with the goal of improving the driving experience.

“We are proud Ford has long enjoyed a reputation for producing performance hatchbacks with superb driving dynamics, and the new Focus ST further ups the ante,” said Raj Nair, Ford Group V.P.  Global Product development.. “The engineering enhancements to the suspension and steering deliver greater responsiveness, agility and precision – all of which will reward the performance enthusiast with an exhilarating driving experience.”

To make good on these promises, the ST has received new front springs and more aggressive shock absorber tuning all around. The electrically assisted steering has been fettled to provide better driver feedback, something essential in any driver oriented car with sporting aspirations.

The engine is the same 2L Turbo-charged 4 cyl. as the outgoing model year. It makes 252 hp and 270 lb-ft torque, not to mention a very nice noise when pushed.

There is only one transmission. It is manually operated (thank you Ford) . The shifts are crisp and throws short through all 6 gears.

The exterior styling seems to have taken cues from the Fiesta ST, perhaps an effort to distinguish the ST gene throughout the family. I find the new front and rear fascia to be a vast improvement.

The headlights are leaner and more serious looking, and  the fog lights are now rectangular.

Further adding to the more sporty appearance is the lower and wider stance, and the sculpted hood. Other new exterior bits include body colour skirts, a rear spoiler, and the twin hexagonal exhaust with diffuser elements on either side.

The redesigned grille and bumper provide a wider, meaner look, thus eliminating any chance someone could mistake it for the tamer family friendly Focus.

Inside you find Recaro seats up front, with optional 8 way adjustment and an all new center stack. The new stack has more storage and will charge your phone/mobile device twice as fast as the last gen USB port. The climate controls have been improved in both feel and function.

The steering wheel is a new flat bottomed model covered in soft leather and can be had with heating.

In keeping with its Predecessors, the new ST retains the three gauge bank, situated above the central console. These gauges display turbo boost pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure.

Adding to the premium sporting feel of the interior are the satin chrome pedals,  gear lever and door grab handles. A nice touch are the illuminated aluminum scuff plates.

While only a mid-cycle refresh, the 2015 Focus ST has upped its game significantly by focusing on the feel and look of the car. Rather than throwing more power at it Ford chose to iron out the weaker aspects of the 2014 model. Having spent time in the old ST I am eager to drive the new one.

Will you be taking one for a spin?