Ford Focus Rs Hatchback
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The Ultimate Review Of The Ford Focus RS Hatchback
Fast Facts: 2016 Ford Focus RS
- Engine: 2.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo
- Price: £29,995
- Power: 345bhp
- Torque: 450Nm (470Nm with over-boost function)
- 0-62mph: 4.7 seconds
- Top speed: 165mph
- Fuel economy: 36.7mpg
- CO2 emissions: 175g/km.
[vc_single_image image=”4254″ img_size=”medium”]Ford has an illustrious history when it comes to making high-performance vehicles obtainable to the average person. At the summit of the Ford performance pyramid are cars that carry the ‘RS’ badge. These are the quickest, the meanest, and the most hot-blooded machines that Ford produces – the working class hero on four wheels. Now after a six-year absence, the ‘RS’ emblem has returned in the form of the new Ford Focus RS.
We headed to Northamptonshire to put the new Focus RS to the test and see what the most ferocious ever Focus had to offer.
The Ford Focus RS Drive
[vc_single_image image=”4257″ img_size=”article-image”]Powered by an extensively modified version of the 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine found in the new Ford Mustang, the new Focus RS packs a mighty punch. The relatively small four-cylinder turbo engine produces 345bhp, enough to catapult the car from 0-62mph in a rapid 4.7 seconds, and onwards to a top speed of 165mph. It sends this power to the ground via a new sophisticated all-wheel drive system, and it’s this fresh layout that gives the Focus RS its distinctive ‘rally car for the road’ feel.The engine is a real delight; powerful, smooth and blessed with an angry, growly tone that’s sure to impress anyone who takes a drive in one. The real story, though, is the way the Focus RS drives. That all-wheel drive system is remarkable, virtually eliminating understeer as the car can shuffle spare torque to the back wheels to give the rear more dominance. The grip levels are astonishing, and while you can feel this grip in action more on a circuit, it is on the road where it really pays off. With this much cornering ability and all that power being delivered to the wheels, it is quite possible that the Focus RS is the fastest real-world car on sale today. On our bumpy, pitted roads it feels absolutely ballistic, and corners that could easily make supercars blush are gobbled up with an aggressive panache.
To Ford’s credit, it has opted to keep the purist-approved six-speed manual gearbox. Many performance cars now end up with an automatic gearbox with paddle-shift, but the involving feel of the Focus RS lends itself to the more old-fashioned way of changing gears. It’s a beautiful ‘box too; assuring and solid feeling – and just like the rest of the controls – it has simply bags of feel. The brakes, for example, are sensational -, another brilliant Brembo-produced package, capable of pulling your face off when the need arises.[vc_single_image image=”4258″ img_size=”article-image”][vc_single_image image=”4259″ img_size=”article-image”]
Inside the Ford Focus RS
Very little has changed over a Focus ST inside. There’s new RS-specific seating that carry the RS logo and a renewed steering wheel that feels smaller and chunkier in the hand – even if it doesn’t seem to look any different. Overall, the interior is a rather bland and dark affair, but everything you want to feel good does. The seating is comfortable and very supportive as well as rather stylish, and the touch points are all adequate. For once, though, it’s good that the interior space isn’t so special because it keeps the price of the Focus RS down, and obtainability is a key characteristic of an RS product.
This is still fundamentally a Ford Focus, so there are five doors, a large boot, and plenty of head and leg room in the back – even for adults. No compromises have been made to the practicality of the Focus RS so, if you want it to be, this is still a sensible family car.
Ford Focus RS Running Costs
Despite being a four-cylinder turbo-charged engine, there are some doubts as to the efficiency of the 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine that the Focus RS is powered by. Combined mpg is quoted at 36.7, but in the real world, you’ll be struggling to get anywhere near that figure. Despite that, it is still a fabulous power unit, and CO2 output remains fairly low with a figure of 175g/km. This means you’ll pay £300 road-tax in the first year and £210 per annum thereafter. For a vehicle with rally-car levels of performance, that really isn’t too shabby.The real headline here, though, is the cost. It starts at just £29,995, and for what you are getting that is a remarkably low price. Ford deserves a lot of credit for bringing this car to the market at such a competitive price.[vc_single_image image=”4260″ img_size=”article-image”]
Is the 2016 Ford Focus RS any good?
2016 Ford Focus RS vs. Honda Civic Type R vs Volkswagen Golf R
The anticipation surrounding the new Ford Focus RS has reached fever pitch over the last couple of weeks with the UK launch taking place at Silverstone. Available to order from £29,995, we take a look at the Focus RS alongside its main rivals – the Honda Civic Type R and the Volkswagen Golf R.
Honda Civic Type R vs Ford Focus RS
[vc_single_image image=”4261″ img_size=”article-image”]It is the only car in our comparison that is front-wheel drive, so you would think that it is at a distinct disadvantage, but that isn’t the case. Sure, on greasy roads and in the depths of winter it won’t be as secure as the Focus RS or the Golf R, but the famous understeer that plagues high powered front-wheel-drive machines is difficult to find.
Handling is exceptional, you can pinpoint exactly where the wheels are and on what surface. It really is very communicative through the wheel and the seat, and has a lovely six-speed manual transmission to throw into gears.Japanese firm, Honda, is rightly proud of the Civic Type R. It looks and drives like a weapon, and is a seriously quick machine on both road and circuit. For the first time, Honda has added turbocharging to the famous 2.0-litre VTEC engine and, as a result, the car now produces 306bhp. 62mph is reached from a standing start in 5.7 seconds, and a top speed of 167mph is quoted. This is plenty enough for most sane people, and absolutely ballistic for a Honda Civic.[vc_single_image image=”4262″ img_size=”article-image”]It really involves you as the driver, and that’s a key field in any performance car. Its brakes are supreme – the finest here – and even hold out well during circuit use. The downside to this terrific driving experience is the ride comfort. It is the firmest of the trio and it may start to wear on you over time.
Volkswagen Golf R vs Ford Focus RS
The Volkswagen Golf R is – of these three at least – the thinking man’s, or woman’s, hot hatch. It is refined and somewhat reserved in character, but it still packs one hell of a punch. It is powered by another 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, here producing the lowest figure in our comparison, but 297bhp is still a lot of horses. It reaches 62mph quicker than the Civic Type R thanks to the all-wheel-drive system, and brings up the figure in just 5.1 seconds, and onwards to a limited top speed of 155mph.[vc_single_image image=”4264″ img_size=”article-image”][vc_single_image image=”4263″ img_size=”article-image”]This is the only car in our comparison that comes with a choice of gearboxes. You can have a good old-fashioned six-speed manual, but you can also have the lightening-fast DSG automatic gearbox. Choosing the latter makes acceleration slightly quicker, but really this is a choice of personal preference.
We would wager this is the most refined car in our comparison test. The Golf R has the nicest interior design and uses the best materials.You have to admit that it is far better dressed than the Focus RS and the Civic Type R. Over time, this is the car that is most likely to be easiest to live with; even if it doesn’t thrill quite as much as the motors it is up against.
There isn’t really a downside to the Golf R; it’s just that it doesn’t feel quite as exhilarating as its opponents. The power is there, the handling is there, the grip is there – but the little X factor is missing. Some people will find that because Volkswagen hasn’t done everything to turn the Golf into a weapon, it is a better option for them. But, when in the company of the Type R and the RS it looks and feels a little bit underwhelming. Let’s also remember that it has the longest options list, making it potentially the most expensive set of wheels here.
These are all exciting cars, but when put alongside each other it is easy to see a clear winner. The Ford Focus RS is the fastest, the most involving, and the best when driven on the limit. It represents the greatest value for money and also strikes a good design balance of aggressive styling in hot hatch proportions.
While the Honda Civic Type R is accomplished, it loses something to the others by not having all-wheel drive. For a front-wheel driven hot hatch it is truly exceptional, but it will always be a little bit behind, especially in unfavourable conditions. That said, it is the hatch that stands out the most here, and it is exceptional to drive on circuit – even if you will eventually find understeer at the upper limits.
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