2018 Ford Focus RS review
Our Rating

5/5

2018 Ford Focus RS review

Based on the dependable everyday hatchback, the Focus RS is a completely different animal and can really excite. We find out what it’s like.

Introduction

The Ford Focus is one of the country’s favourites – and rightly so, thanks to its practical layout and excellent reliability, as well as being one of the best hatchbacks to drive.

Well, whenever the Focus has been around, an RS has duly followed and here is the latest version – and the third generation packs a mighty punch.

Standing for ‘rallye sport’, the RS moniker is one that evokes memories of classic fast Fords, like the RS1600 and the Sierra Cosworth, and having to follow on from great cars such as those is no easy task.

So can this newest version of the Focus RS perform as well as its predecessors and continue the brand’s great hot hatch heritage? We take a look…

2016 Ford Focus RS

Performance

Under the bonnet of the Focus RS is a 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine that is paired with a six-speed manual transmission and – unlike other RS models before it – four-wheel drive. The engine produces a huge 345bhp and 470Nm of torque – plenty of punch the for the three-door hot hatch.

That setup combines to get you from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 165mph – figures that are quite staggering for a car that costs just over £30,000. This is the only engine option, but why would you want anything else?

2016 Ford Focus RS

Ride & Handling

As you would expect with a sporty Ford, the Focus RS is built to be great to drive, and as far as we can tell, Ford has passed this challenge with flying colours. By teaming up with Ford Performance and world-renowned stunt driver Ken Block, the car’s developers were able to make a car that is fun to drive everywhere and offers you four driving modes to suit you. With Normal, Sport, Track and Drift modes at your disposal, the Focus RS gives you plenty of options to how you want the car to feel – although latter two should definitely be used on a circuit only as they’re quite ferocious.

In Normal mode, the car can be a bit firm and you may feel that the RS can be too much to handle at times, but if you want to push on, the four-wheel drive system really helps you get the most out of the car, as it grips well and allows you to enjoy the huge amount of power on offer.

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2016 Ford Focus RS

Interior & Equipment

With the RS angled, obviously, towards performance, you still get a lot of equipment to make this car practical for the daily drive – even if the car’s setup doesn’t always make it seem that way. Even though the materials surrounding it aren’t the best quality, the dashboard is centred around an eight-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 system, which includes a DAB radio, satellite navigation and is paired to a 10-speaker Sony surround sound system.

Other kit that you get as standard includes electric windows, electric windows, air conditioning, multifunctional steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, alloy metal pedals and a rear view camera.

You can tell that it is a Focus at its heart, but Ford has really gone to town on the looks by adding some sporty details, such as the RS performance spoiler on the back, the dual exhaust and a more aggressive front grille.

Other kit to make this car as sporty as possible includes Brembo brakes, launch control and dynamic torque vectoring, while Ford also fitted 19-inch alloy wheels, RS-branded Recaro seats and the choice of bright blue paint for the bodywork.

2016 Ford Focus RS

Cost

As one of the top hot hatchbacks on the market, the Focus RS does demand quite a high starting price – £32,795 in fact. But considering that many rivals, like the Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R start at a similar cost, that doesn’t look too bad at all.

With the sportier nature of the RS, fuel consumption isn’t the best at 36.7mpg, while emissions are set at 175g/km CO2 – meaning running the RS won’t be as cheap as a standard Focus.

2016 Ford Focus RS

Verdict

Even though you can drive this like a normal Focus, there is always that sense of the power it beholds, and when you take the reins off the RS can show you exactly what it’s made of. Fast, fun and great to drive, the RS is one of the best driver’s cars at the moment, and you still get the practicality of the family hatchback with it. Although not all the materials fitted to the cabin are of the highest quality, you can look past all of that when you pin the accelerator to the floor and let it fly. The Focus RS really is a superb hot hatch and continues the Ford tradition on with aplomb.

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