Ford Focus RS Review
The comprehensive Ford Focus RS review
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|Motoring||77%||"There’s not that much more to be said about the Ford Focus RS, except that we enjoy driving it. Immensely"||Read more|
|Car Sales||85%||"I can't help but feel something more extreme would have been a more fitting swan-song for the current-generation (LZ) Ford Focus RS, a car that single-handedly changed the hot hatch playing field."||Read more|
|Car Guide||83%||"Even with a 10 per cent price premium the Ford Focus RS Limited Edition is the hot hatch bargain of the decade. "||Read more|
How does the Ford Focus RS compare with its peers?
The complete Ford Focus RS review
Ford Focus RS Review: Overview & Price
In the fiercely competitive hot hatch market, Ford's Focus RS has a well-earned reputation as one of the most enjoyable and engaging drives around. The Limited Edition Focus RS – an apt name when you consider there are only 500 of these models in Australia – was a highly-anticipated arrival to our shores and has generally been very well received by motoring journalists.
Fast, funky and fun, the RS is often described as a true driver's car. With 257kW of power, dynamic handling and a six-speed manual gearbox, this is a model for passionate petrolheads. Its impressive on-road performance is matched by standout looks that give the RS an imposing on-road presence.
Most reviewers agreed that the included list of standard kit also represents good value for money, while the interior is reasonably practical to ensure that the RS is comfortable to use away from the track.
That said, a $60K price tag means the Focus RS Limited Edition is a sizable investment for most people, and choosing a performance hatch usually means making some sacrifices in terms of day-to-day functionality.
Is this limited-edition Focus RS the right choice for you? Let's take a closer look at what the reviewers had to say.
Engine and performance
Before taking a look under the bonnet, let's cast our eyes over the eye-catching exterior of the Focus RS Limited Edition. While there's nothing overly outlandish by class standards, this is still a model that's going to turn heads on the road. The "Nitrous Blue" colour scheme is suitably sporty, while the "Absolute Black" roof, spoiler and mirror caps also add flair. 19-inch alloys and a wide front grille complete the look.
From a performance point of view, the RS Limited Edition is powered by a 2.3L GTDi 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine that packs a 257kW punch. The turbo petrol engine sends power to all four wheels via an all-wheel drive system with launch control, while there's a Quaife limited-slip differential that distributes engine torque to the front wheels. This model comes with a smooth six-speed manual gearbox; there's no automatic available, so if you're sick and tired of changing gears when driving, you'll need to look elsewhere.
On the road, the engine packs plenty of grunt. The reviewers were impressed not only by its acceleration speed off the line but also the ample supply of torque in the mid-range, with the RS Limited Edition making the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in under 5 seconds and boasting a top speed of 266 km/h. This is backed by a sweet-sounding, growly engine that's very pleasing on the ear.
The official fuel consumption figure of 8.1L/100km is quite good for the level of performance on offer, with premium unleaded needed to fill the tank. However, some reviewers did point out that the 52-litre capacity of the fuel tank is a little on the small side.
|Engine Type||2.3L GTDi 4-cylinder EcoBoost|
|Maximum power output||257kW @ 6,000rpm|
|Maximum torque||440Nm @ 1,600-5,000rpm|
|Fuel tank capacity||52L|
Ford Focus RS Review: Handling
Top-notch handling performance is key to the success of any hot hatch, and this is one area where the Ford Focus RS Limited Edition drew plenty of praise from motoring journalists.
There are four drive modes available – Normal, Sport, Track and Drift. These modes adjust steering, stability control and a range of other settings to suit the type of driving you plan on doing.
Even in challenging conditions, the reviewers reported that this sporty Focus RS delivered balanced and agile handling, maintaining a confidence-inspiring planted feel in tight and fast corners. This is where the Quaife differential comes in for plenty of praise, helping to tame the engine's ample power and ensuring that the car goes exactly where you tell it to.
The 19-inch alloys are clad with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. These offer good grip in wet and dry conditions and will be a welcome addition whenever you rock up to a track day. However, the reviewers did point out that while the firm ride on offer will help you feel right at home on a track, it can make things a little uncomfortable on a rough road and detracts from this model's overall practicality for use in your everyday commute.
Happily, braking performance in the Ford Focus RS Limited Edition is excellent. Brembo front disc brakes help you shed speed quickly without producing any nasty surprises along the way.
Interior and other features
Step inside the Focus RS Limited Edition and the first thing you'll notice is the Recaro shell seats for you and your front passenger. They're supportive and comfortable – it feels more like you sit in them rather than on them. They also boast "Nitrous Blue" trim and offer a telltale hint at the sort of performance this car is capable of.
However, some reviewers did mention that the seating position is quite high – an arrangement which will annoy some drivers who like to feel closer to the road. The inclusion of these seats also means that there are no side airbags in the front seats, so you're not as well protected as you could be in the event of a side-impact collision.
The rest of the cabin layout is a little more conventional. The Ford Focus RS Limited Edition gets an eight-inch touchscreen and Ford's SYNC 3 multimedia system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both supported. Satellite navigation, cruise control, keyless entry and start, ambient lighting and a nine-speaker audio system are also included to ensure that you get good bang for your buck.
The list of active safety tech includes ABS brakes, brake assist, traction control and a rear view camera. Reviewers were also pleased with the addition of autonomous emergency braking for extra peace of mind on the road, but the Focus RS Limited Edition loses points for lacking blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.
The steering wheel is reach and rake adjustable and all the necessary instruments and information are easy to access when needed. Some of the interior plastics do look a little on the cheap side – you won't get the same level of quality you can find in a top-of-the-line performance hatch from Audi or Mercedes-Benz – but there were no major complaints.
Moving into the back seats, many reviewers were pleasantly surprised to find a decent level of comfort and space provided for rear-seat passengers. Travelling with a carload of four people should be reasonably comfortable, with sufficient legroom available, while there's a decent amount of storage space on offer (particularly with the rear seats folded down).
Ford Focus RS Features
|Dual-zone climate control||Yes|
|Keyless entry with push button start||Yes|
|Leather-wrapped RS steering wheel||Yes|
|Leather-wrapped gear knob / shifter||Yes|
|Auto rain-sensing front wipers||Yes|
|RS branded Recaro shell front seats||Yes|
|Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth integration||Yes|
|Satellite navigation system with voice control||Yes|
|Active City Stop||Yes|
|Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)||Yes|
|Hill Launch Assist||Yes|
|Rear parking sensors||Yes|
|Rear view camera||Yes|
|Tyre pressure monitoring system||Yes|
The Ford Focus RS Review Verdict
If you're looking for a practical and affordable hatch to help you get from A to B, the Ford Focus RS Limited Edition won't be the right car for you. But if you're in the market for a hot hatch that offers on-road thrills in abundance, this compact entertainer should be somewhere near the top of your shopping list. As its Finder score of 81.67% shows, this sporty and dynamic performer was very well received by all three critics.
With impressive power and handling, the Focus RS is a true driver's car. It's also surprisingly practical inside, ensuring that it's capable of handling a trip to the shops as well as tearing it up at your local track day.
That said, the reviewers did point out a few shortcomings. The level of tyre noise and the high seating position attracted some complaints. The firm ride isn't perfect for all conditions either.
A price tag in the $60K range may also be a stumbling block for some buyers. However, when you consider the fact that the Focus is still substantially cheaper than some of its European competitors, and in the same ballpark as Honda's Civic Type R and VW's Golf R, it's well worth a look for anyone keen to get behind the wheel of a performance hatch.
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