Which Would You Choose: 2013 Ford Focus ST Or 2013 Mazdaspeed3? #YouTellUs

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2013 Ford Focus ST

2013 Ford Focus ST

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The hot hatchback wars are about to heat up as Ford launches the new 2013 Focus ST, but who will be the king? Today we present the facts and then ask which hot hatchback would you choose: the 2013 Ford Focus ST or the 2013 Mazdaspeed3?

Many people would say Mazda is the go-to brand when it comes to the smile-per-dollar factor. There's no question the Mazdaspeed3 lives up to the Zoom-Zoom marketing tagline. A turbocharged four-cylinder producing 263 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque sits under the hood of the Speed3. It bleeds character from its torque steer off the line to its smiling front end. It's exuberant. 

We've begged Ford to bring the tuned version of the Focus that it offers in Europe to America for years. Now we are about to get the 2013 Focus ST featuring a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine producing 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. It features electronic systems including a form of torque vectoring to help minimize torque steer, and it does an admirable job. While it doesn't have a big smile on the front end, it does feature a unique design not seen on other Focus models, with a gaping grille that sucks in the air for engine cooling.

Both of these hatchbacks are aimed at enthusiasts. If you want an automatic or dual-clutch transmission you'll have to look elsewhere. The only transmission option in both cars is a six-speed manual.

Making the choice even more difficult is the fact that both of these hot hatches have a price tag that starts just over $24,000.

So, what will it be? Which of these two hot hatchbacks would you choose to purchase and have in your driveway? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments (19)
  1. I'm biased since I have a ST on order; however, I had my reasoning for choosing it over the MS3. While the MS3 offers a slight advantage with power and has a true LSD, the ST3 offers much more refinement--both with handling and the interior. Let's face it, the interior of the ST is phenominal. Also, almost any review you'll see will say that the ST is a better car for the daily driver compared to the MS3. The technology in the ST is much better, the seats are amazing and I personally like the styling more. I've heard great things about the gearbox and steering in the ST as well. Add it all up and the decision was easy. Those are my two cents.

  2. the speed 3 willout corner the st in all time attack or apexing

  3. Wrong Lisa. ST dominates the MS3 in the corners.

  4. I have a speed 3 and it's much more aggressive driving, better acceleration, i put on the same sized tires as the ST and my speed now out handles it quite well, I love the looks of both, don't know how I feel about the electronic controlled road noise/ exhaust dampening of the ST, and the ST costs a good chunk more, but I would still take it because of how amazing the clutch is and how poorly done the Mazda one is. I test drove an ST a little while ago and just the clutch alone sold me... so good!

  5. been looking at both the MS3 and the ST as my top 2 choices for months now and can't decide. heard good rumors about the ST being more mpg friendly but knowing that the MS3 is faster kills me. thanks for putting up this article. been waiting for a breakdown of the two cars side-by-side for months. any word on when the official release date for the st will be. im 51/49 MS3 because of the price point. MS3 has power but ST has mpg. price is my tipping point

  6. The money you can potentially save in fuel costs can out weigh the price tag. Save $500 today with a Speed, but save thousands more in fuel costs over the life of a Focus ST.

  7. You control the MPG with your right foot. Plus, if you really want economy, get a COBB AccessPort and get with an e-tuner and tune for both MPG and Power (Yes, you can do that) and get the best of both worlds. 30 mpg and 300 whp is easily achievable on the MS3.

  8. I get 30mpg in my speed 3, with 50/50 driving but thats babying it. The ST I believe is rated around 32 so I imagine even better babying it.

  9. For looks, give me the Focus. But because of its well-earned fun-to-drive rep, I have to go with the Mazdaspeed3.

  10. I bought a MS3 for what it offers "bang for the buck". NOT for fuel economy. If you worried about fuel economy then do not buy a performance oriented car.
    Also the current generation of the MS3 has been out since 2010, with that it has minor appearance and package tweaks. The next gen or next year in model will more then likely have some very nice updates and make it even more competitive.
    The Ford ST can have this year, but it will be short lived and the MS3 will continue to drive on past the Ford ST.
    *cough true LSD FTW cough*

  11. I agree.. Ive always been a coupe guy (had a 2004 rx8) but now with the family, my only option is a hot hatch if I want a fast car.. The ST is ok, but Ive always been a Mazda guy..
    The looks of the MS3 are not to love but Im hoping the 2014 will get my juices flowing.. Cant wait to see the next gen..

  12. Im waiting for the redesigned 2014 Mazdaspeed3...
    I believe it will leave new ST owners wishing they waited too!!

  13. I have owned a 2010 speed3 and for performance it's the best bang for your buck Period!!!! it handles like it's on rails and is Freaky fast,I was addicted to the turbo boost kick in... However.....the clutch is an on off switch, if your not paying attention or are distracted you are stalling at every light, and two premium fuel requirement and horrible MPG. those two reasons are the very two top reasons why I used the past tense owned. I had to trade it in for a car with similar performance and better MPG and takes regular gas...However I was waiting the the Focus ST but did not wait long enough and I'm glad that I did.
    I now own a 2011 V6 Camaro

  14. I got my 2012 MS3 for 21k, and I get 30 + mpg on the freeway when I'm not thrashing the car. This is really a no brainer frankly, you can't get near this price with the new ST and the performance differences are trivial frankly.

  15. I recently purchased a 2013 MS3, mostly for a 30 mile round trip commute to work. I looked at both the MS and the Focus ST - they are different cars. The MS is just pure FUN. The MS begs you to drive it, you feel the ground and are one with the road; it's an exprience that puts a huge grin on my face everytime I drive. I dig the MS's unusual, but muscular looks, and it fits the entire family. I suspect anyone that test drives the two will either be hooked on the Mazda's fun factor, or appreciate more the ST's "refinement," which requires less from the driver. I've owned Mazda's previously and appreciate their excellent reliability too.

  16. I own a 2012 MS3 and get 30 mpg + at 65-70 mph. The fuel economy is all in how you drive it. I have a pal that has an ST and when it comes to cornering and flat out power (fun) he regrets his purchase. When it comes to the daily grind of Monday AM drives to work or longer trips the ST is more refined and comfortable.

    I'll take the fun any day.

  17. After driving both a few times in the past few days I am left with the following. I want to like the Ford. I do. I really do.

    But, try as I might, the Mazda wholly won me over. It feel faster. It feels tighter. The tech is better. It is roomier. On paper they are equal or even leaning toward the Ford, but in person the Mazda is a blast and way better loaded at a much better price.

  18. I drove both the ST and the MS3 and bought the MS3. The MS3 simply has a better engine/power/torque than the ST. As far as handling goes, the MS3 comes with really, really crappy tires which I replaced at about 100 miles. The ST comes with about the best tires available. When I put on my new Michelins, the handling "problems" the MS3 had disappeared. Much better turn-in, goes where pointed, excellent in the curves, etc. The mechanical LSD on the MS3 is a big deal. I don't like the electronic LSD in the ST and wait to see the number of problems it produces on the next couple of years including brake/braking problems. A couple of reviews I've read on the ST indicated smoking brakes after a lap on a track, one lap!

  19. I forgot to mention the looks. The MS3 has its grin which reminds me of a shark that has just located a seal for lunch. Kind of a purposeful grin! The ST looks like, well something grumpy - maybe a pissed off goldfish. I'll also take the MS3's interior. Much higher quality materials and doesn't have the Recaro's of the ST which are flat out uncomfortable for any more than about 5 minutes.

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