Ford Focus RS Review: Is it the best hot hatch? | finder.com.au

Ford Focus RS Review

The comprehensive Ford Focus RS review

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Ford Focus RS
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finder score: 81.67%

Avg. critics score: 81.67%
3 critics
How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of Motoring, Car Sales and Cars Guide to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
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Critic reviews

WebsiteRatingNotable quotes
Motoring77%"There’s not that much more to be said about the Ford Focus RS, except that we enjoy driving it. Immensely"Read more
Car Sales85%"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 Guide83%"Even with a 10 per cent price premium the Ford Focus RS Limited Edition is the hot hatch bargain of the decade. "Read more

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How does the Ford Focus RS compare with its peers?

Data updated regularly
Name Product Boot displacement ANCAP rating Price (from) Finder Score Read Review | Find a deal
Hyundai i30 N
381L
5 stars
$26,490
86.25%
Read Review
Find a Deal
on Georgie’s website
Ford Focus RS
316L
5 stars
$50,990
81.67%
Read Review
Find a Deal
on Georgie’s website
Audi RS3
335L
5 stars
$80,240
80.33%
Read Review
Find a Deal
on Georgie’s website
Renault Megane RS
434L
5 stars
$44,990
79.67%
Read Review
Find a Deal
on Georgie’s website
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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 Type2.3L GTDi 4-cylinder EcoBoost
Maximum power output257kW @ 6,000rpm
Maximum torque440Nm @ 1,600-5,000rpm
Transmission6-speed manual
Fuel consumption8.1L/100km
Fuel tank capacity52L

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 controlYes
Keyless entry with push button startYes
Leather-wrapped RS steering wheelYes
Leather-wrapped gear knob / shifterYes
Auto rain-sensing front wipersYes
RS branded Recaro shell front seatsYes
8-inch touchscreenYes
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth integrationYes
Satellite navigation system with voice controlYes
USB ports2
Active City StopYes
ABS brakesYes
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)Yes
Hill Launch AssistYes
Rear parking sensorsYes
Rear view cameraYes
Tyre pressure monitoring systemYes

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.

Compare some options to finance a Ford Focus RS

Data updated regularly
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Monthly Repayment View Details CTA
Plenti Car Loan
From
4.89%
(fixed)
5.44%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.89% p.a.
Borrow up to $100,000 with a Plenti Car Loan and benefit from no early repayment or exit fees.
Loans.com.au - New and Dealer Used Car Loan
From
4.67%
(fixed)
5.22%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.67% p.a. based on your risk profile
Finance a new car and benefit from features such as fast approval, no ongoing fees and an optional balloon payment. Settle the loan before 30 November 2021 and enter the draw to win a $1,000 fuel gift voucher. T&Cs apply.
IMB New Car Loan
4.99%
(fixed)
5.34%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 4.99% p.a.
A low minimum borrowing amount of $2,000 that you can use to purchase a new car or one that's up to two years old.
Credit Concierge Car Loan
From
3.85%
(fixed)
4.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

You'll receive a fixed rate of 3.85% p.a. with a comparison rate of 4.91% p.a.
Get access to over 20 providers to fund a new or used car.

NRMA New Car Loan
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
Purchase a new or used car up to 2 years old and benefit from a fixed rate and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Wisr Secured Car Loan
From
4.74%
(fixed)
5.01%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 4.74% p.a. to 16.01% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible car loan from $5,000 - $63,000 with personalised rates and rewards for strong credit customers.

NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed
From
6.99%
(fixed)
7.91%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% (13.56% comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
OurMoneyMarket Car Loan
From
5.35%
(fixed)
5.65%
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
You'll receive a fixed interest rate from 5.35% p.a. to 14.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Borrow between $2,001 and $75,000 to finance a new or used car up to 10 years.
CUA Secured Fixed Car Loan
6.79%
(fixed)
7.16%
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate of 6.79% p.a.
A secured loan with a high maximum borrowing amount up to $100,000. Redraw facility and no monthly fees.
Latitude Personal Loan (Secured)
From
5.99%
(fixed)
7.26%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.99% p.a. and 21.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Lock in a competitive fixed rate when you offer security. Loan can be used for any purpose and repayments are flexible. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
Stratton Finance New Car Loan
From
4.05%
(fixed)
5.63%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.05% p.a. depending on the lender you are approved with
Apply for up to $250,000 and use cash or trade in a vehicle to use as a deposit. Optional balloon payment available.
SocietyOne Car Loan
From
6.99%
(fixed)
6.99%
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Driva Car Loan
From
3.95%
(fixed)
5.1%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.95% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 3.95% p.a.
Borrow up to $250,000 with loan terms from 1 to 7 years. Get access to a range of lenders.
RACV New Car Loans
From
4.99%
(fixed)
5.69%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 4.99% p.a.
A larger loan of $5,000 or more to help you buy a new or used car. 5-hour pre approval available and no ongoing fees.
NRMA Used Car Loan
From
6.49%
(fixed)
7.19%
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.49% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
You'll receive a fixed rate from 6.49% p.a.
Finance a used car with NRMA and benefit from a fixed rate term and no monthly fees. Pre-approval available within 5 business hours.
Symple Loans Personal Loan
From
5.75%
(variable)
6.47%
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
People's Choice CU Discounted Personal Loan (Car Loan)
From
4.65%
(fixed)
4.99%
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
Borrow over $20,000 and secure with a new or used car less than 2 years (manufacture year 2018).
Pre-approval, no monthly fees and fixed rate for 5 years.
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Compare car insurance side-by-side and get quotes

Data updated regularly
Name Product Roadside Assistance Accidental Damage Storm Choice of Repairer Agreed or Market Value
Budget Direct Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Awarded the 2019 Finder Award for the Best Value Car Insurance, this policy offers solid coverage at a low cost plus you will get 15% discount on first year's premium when you take out a policy online. Budget Direct’s claims service has received a 4.2/5 based on nearly 5,000 customer reviews.

Who it might be good for: People who want a comprehensive policy without breaking the bank.
QBE Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: QBE is a sustainable insurance company and also Finder's Green Insurer of the Year 2020 Award winner. This policy offers the highest level of protection available from QBE including three-year new car replacement. You can also save $75 when you purchase a new comprehensive policy online. T&Cs apply.

Who it might be good for: Those that are looking for a more environmentally friendly insurance choice.
Bingle Comprehensive
Market
Finder's summary:Bingle consistently comes up as one of the cheaper insurers out there. It only covers the basics, so you don't get to choose your own repairer, you're not covered for personal items in the car and unless you add it as an option, you won't get a hire car if your car is stolen. But this keeps its premiums low.

Who it might be good for: Someone who wants a low-cost option that covers them for the basics.
Coles Comprehensive
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Coles have two-tiers of comprehensive car insurance to choose from. You'll earn double flybuys points at Coles supermarkets and you can get $10 off your Coles grocery bill every time you redeem 2,000 Flybuys points. If you're over 30, you can get roadside assistance free for a year.

Who it might be good for: Coles customers and Flybuys collectors.
Poncho Comprehensive
Agreed
Finder's summary: Poncho works like a monthly subscription – you pay monthly and can cancel and leave at any time. You can also list multiple cars and drivers under one policy, making it ideal for families and groups living together under one household.

Who it might be good for: People who want their car insurance month to month.
Qantas Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: You'll be able to choose how comprehensive you want your cover to be with optional extras like choice of repairer and the option of agreed or market value. Plus earn Qantas Points for joining and paying your premium. Sign up by 2 May 2021, you can earn up to 30,000 Qantas Points (points awarded will be based on your premium). T&Cs and eligibility apply.
ahm Comprehensive
Optional
Both
Finder's summary: ahm comprehensive car insurance lets you choose higher excess to reduce your premiums plus you can get up to 15% off when you purchase a new car insurance policy. T&Cs apply. Additionally, their Fixed Kilometre Plan can save you up to 30% compared to their standard comprehensive cover.

Who it might be good for: People who drive less than 15,000 km per year.
Virgin Comprehensive
Optional
Optional
Agreed or Market
Finder's summary: Finalists for the 2019 Finder Awards for Best Value Car Insurance, Virgin Comprehensive provides a good level of cover for a decent price. Get 15% off on your first year’s premium when you purchase a new eligible comprehensive car insurance online. T&Cs Apply.
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