We’re now past the 10,000-mile mark in our long-term Ford Focus ST, and that’s plenty of time to get over the initial impressions of sensational performance and handling for a £20,000 car and look more at the practicalities of everyday ownership.

The first we’ve noticed is that this car’s screaming out for a bigger fuel tank. We’ve averaged less than 200 miles between fills, although when feeling particularly brave we’ve edged up beyond 250 miles. But that’s still meant 50 trips to petrol stations to get to 10,000 miles. By comparison, our diesel Focus did it in less than 30.

The jury’s still out on the optional £350 keyless entry system fitted to our car. Personally, I like it. You can leave the key in your pocket, pull the handle and the car opens. When locking the car, simply press the door handle’s black rubber button and the car’s locked. The major bone of contention, however, is the ‘fake key’ in the steering column that you turn to start the car. It’s a bit notchy, needs the clutch pedal nailed to the floor and doesn’t switch the ignition on when the boot’s open. Also, as one driver pointed out, it looks like there’s a key in the ignition when the car’s parked [1], increasing the chances of a neanderthal-induced smashed window.

Other things that come to light as we spend more time with the car include the fact that the superbly supportive and comfy big leather sports seats in the front impact upon legroom, especially behind the driver.

Fuel consumption’s been a real rollercoaster so far, and the average of 22.6mpg covers a spectacularly light-footed high of 29.6mpg [2] and a leadfooted low of 15.9. In the main, anything above 21mpg around town is impressive, with economy rising to around 26mpg on longer runs. That compares with an unachievable official combined figure of 30.4mpg.

Apart from a poor turning circle caused by those big wheels [3], the 225PS turbocharged Focus ST is as easy to live with as any other Focus, if you can foot the fuel bills.