Batten down the hatches! Ease the sheet! Increase your tire budget!

The yells continued long and loud into night; the revelry gaining in momentum as more and more folks across the land got the news: there was a new Ford coming, and with it, the return of one of the preeminent nameplates in every motorhead’s lexicon.

And no, we’re not talking about the new Mustang, not the new Shelby GT350 variant, either; we’re not even talking about the new GT, all respected Blue Oval brands in their own right. Nay, it’s the letters “R” and “S” we speak of, as in “Rallye Sport”, and soon, they’ll follow “Focus” on tailgates here in Canada, a phenomenon we haven’t seen here from Ford for… well, forever.

It’s an exciting time for RS fans, but here’s the thing: the RS isn’t here yet, and amongst all the hootin’ and hollerin’, it was easy to forget that the performance version of the Focus that we have seen here for quite some time now – the ST – has also been upgraded for 2015. Upcoming RS or not, it should be forgotten about at the peril of those who want bit of bang for their daily commuting buck, a little “oomph” for their grocery run.

Upon first glance, it’s tough to spot the changes for 2015. Actually, that’s not quite right. It’s not that it’s tough to spot the changes; it’s just tough to spot why the new car looks so much more purposeful than the old one does. It’s like when you encounter the stealthy SR-71 Blackbird display at the Smithsonian for the first time; you are aware of its presence, but it somehow exists on a different, ahem, plane than the rest of us.

I’ll do my best to break the new ST down for you.

It’s been given a new hood that now features a nice big tapering bulge down the middle, to hint at the power bursting from within. There are also new headlights (that come standard with LED DRLs on the ST); they’re on hand to help usher in the “New Face of Ford” to the brand’s bread-and-butter model. The grille placement below the headlights is another feature, and the ST gets a blacked-out version as opposed to the metallic items found elsewhere in the lineup. It’s all topped off by optional racing stripes (which our car had, at a cost of $500) and new wheel choices, with the special painted 18-inchers on our tester costing an additional $800. That price includes red-painted brake calipers, too.

Indeed, it looks much more bespoke than the pre-facelift ST did, and you realize how much more you had to strain your eyes to spot the difference between that car and a garden variety focus; recently, upon seeing the last model, I did a double-take that would make Cosmo Kramer proud because I couldn’t believe how tame the thing looked.

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