Ford Focus RS Quick Review

By Ash Westerman, 18 Jul 2016 Car Reviews

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Ford Focus RS

Meet Ford’s hot hatch which has the fun police all riled up!

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

It’s the third generation of Ford’s most high-performance five-door hatchback, developed by the company’s Performance division to deliver uncompromising performance, both on road and track. It’s targeted directly at serious driving enthusiasts.

STRENGTHS

  • Turbo-charged four-cylinder engine delivers plenty of immediate response from modest engine speeds, so does not require high revs to deliver swift performance.

  • The six-speed manual gearbox has a pleasing shift action, and enhances the driver’s sense of connection with the car.

  • The all-wheel-drive system is specially configured to give the car the sort of sporting balance keen drivers normally associate with a rear-drive vehicle.

  • It’s a easy car for even modestly skilled drivers to push hard, yet still rewards expert drivers. 

  • A Drift mode, suitable only for racetrack use, allows a skilled driver to push the car into highly desirable controlled slides.

Ford Focus RS rear

  • The steering is super responsive and provides a great sense of what is going on at tyre level.

  • High performance brakes provide massive stopping power, and are strong enough to withstand punishment on a racetrack.

  • Deeply sculpted front seats locate both driver and passenger very securely, and provide great comfort.

  • Five-door body provides excellent passenger- and cargo-carrying flexibility.

  • Keenly priced, given the exceptional performance on offer.

Ford Focus RS interior

WEAKNESSES

  • No automatic transmission is offered.

  • Even with the suspension’s dampers in the Normal mode, the ride is very firm, and can be jiggly and uncompromising at urban speeds.

  • The suspension’s Sport setting is much firmer still, making it suitable only for racetrack use.

  • The front sports seats are deeply supportive, but not height adjustable, and taller drivers may feel they are seated too high. They are also less easy to slip in and out of than conventional seats.

  • The turning circle is big, reducing the car’s manoeuvrability in tight conditions.

  • The instruments’ graphics appear a little basic and not especially attractive.

Ford Focus RS drift mode

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

The Volkswagen Golf R is considered a segment leader due to its combination of strong performance, excellent finish, high level of equipment, and general liveability. It’s only a few thousand dollars more expensive than the Focus RS, however it would concede a little in outright performance, especially on a racetrack.

The Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG produces even more power than the Focus RS, is even quicker in a straight line, and is underpinned by a similar hard-edged performance philosophy. It’s also a super-fast point-to-point car, but costs around $30,000 more than the Ford before options.

Likewise the Audi RS3 - fast, beautifully finished, but not a direct rival for the Focus RS due to its circa-$79k price tag.

Click here to read the full review on the Ford Focus range.