Review of Ford Focus RS

What is the Ford Focus RS?

The ultimate version of Ford’s popular hatchback. Equipped with 300bhp and 440Nm of torque, Ford’s engineers have developed a car that carries true racing pedigree onto the road. The introduction of a successor to the original Focus RS, which ended its production run six years ago, was in doubt for some time – but with the public demanding such a vehicle, the Mk II has arrived.

In the words of Jost Capito, director of Ford’s Global Performance Vehicles,
“This is a serious machine with the performance, traction and precision to match far more exotic sports cars. The RS badge is not something we treat lightly and I believe this car proves it.”
While many performance Ford fans will be satisfied with the impressive ST, the RS version offers that little something extra with only a few real competitors in the sector.

Ford focus RS
Ford focus RS

Around the car

There are subtle and not so subtle differences that set the RS apart from the rest of the Focus range.

Almost every body has been changed from the standard car, with the most distinctive addition on the front being the large air intake below the number plate. The RS gets revised bumpers, flared wheel arches, and side air vents. At the rear, the huge spoiler is one of the many styling cues taken from the Focus World Rally Car, maintaining the connection between road and race car. The car is available in just three colours; Ultimate Green, Frozen White and Ford Performance Blue.

Ford focus RS interior
Ford focus RS interior

Inside, driver and passengers benefit from Recaro sports seats, designed and trimmed in an authentic motorsport microfibre that provides the grip and support needed when driving on the limit. There is plenty of carbonfibre-looking trim and brushed metal. Interior areas that have been ‘sportified’ in such a way include the air vents, door handles and the switches. A three-spoke steering wheel and a short-shifting gearleaver are other highlights.

Why would you buy one?

Performance! If the 225bhp from the Focus ST just doesn’t float your boat, then the RS is the car for you. Ford has managed to create an overall package that offers performance, with plenty of creature comforts and plenty of appeal on the inside. The likes of Subaru and Mitsubishi should take note.

There is plenty of technology onboard too. ABS with electronic brake distribution is standard, along with ESP, which has been tuned specifically for the car, limiting its interference.

To help combat torquesteer, which unsettles the car under acceleration, there is Revoknuckle. This device adds traction in certain situations thanks to a two-part suspension knuckle – one part fixed to the strut, and another that rotates with the car’s steering line. The bottom line is increased safety and more fun to be had on the road!

Is it any good?

In a word: Yes. There will be many do-gooders who question what use is all that power in the real world, but for sheer entertainment, the RS takes some beating.

On the inside there is refinement, and you would not think you were in a road car/rally car hybrid. The 19in tyres supply an enormous amount of grip, while the steering is delightfully weighted and intuitive. The engine begs to be revved, and offers a claimed 30.5mpg on the EU combined cycle.

Having such a sporty setup, the ride quality may not be to some people’s liking, but don’t let that spoil what truly is an engineering masterpiece.

Ford Focus RS Info

Ford focus Rs Rear
Ford focus Rs Rear
  • Model tested: 2.5-litre Turbo
  • Engine size: 2,522cc
  • CO2 emissions: 225g/km
  • Price: From £24,740
  • For: Competitive price, performance, engine
  • Against: Sporty ride, limited production run
  • Alternatives: Honda Civic Type-R, Subaru Impreza STi, Mitsubishi Evo X
John Challen

John Challen

A car fanatic all of his life, in 2000 John Challen landed his dream job, which involved driving and writing about cars. Over the years he has sampled hundreds of different models, from a Daewoo Matiz to a Bugatti Veyron, and plenty in between. His car reviews aim to steer readers in the right direction, suggesting what they should and should not be driving. If you're about to buy a new car, or just want to find out a bit more about a certain vehicle, his verdicts could prove invaluable. website

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