Driving a Tangerine Scream

The Ford Focus ST was never lacking in performance, but the Mountune upgrade from Ford Performance is a welcome upgrade.

Anywhere else in the world, a Ford Focus ST in “Tangerine Scream” is synonymous with “cop magnet” — the radical, bright orangey-yellow paint begs attention. But when Ford dropped off a Tangerine Scream loaner here in NYC, the paint job made for some damn good urban camouflage. The ST disguises as a taxi with teeth.

Working my way off the island, the ST also proved to be an eager little city car. The tall first gear made life infinitely easier in the gridlock of Midtown, and the extra push from the Ford Performance Mountune upgrade ($1,900) tipped the light-to-light drag races with the other yellow cabs in my favor.

Ford Focus ST Specs w/ Ford Perfromance Mountune Upgrade


Engine: 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder
Transmission: Six-Speed Manual
Horsepower: 275
Torque: 295 lb-ft
Drive System: FWD

The Ford Performance Mountune kit brings the ST to 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft, 23 horsepower and 26 lb-ft over stock. So to stretch the hot hatch’s legs, I set off to Bear Mountain to drive during the midweek, midday emptiness of the windy roads. It proved to be a worthwhile long lunch, paired with an early-afternoon hillclimb. The base ST never lacked in performance, but the extra push of the package definitely was welcome on the inclines of Bear Mountain. Aggressive bass and gurgle from the exhaust enticed more spirited driving, which was limited only by the still-damp roads and occasional park ranger. Back in the city, where the practicality of a hatchback — living life as a family-hauler and errand-runner — comes in handy, the midnight racer exhaust started to overstay its welcome. But, nonetheless, it’s a nice little reminder of what the ST has on tap, and it’s loud enough to let people know they can stop hailing you down.

Buy Now: $23,350

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