Launched in 2016, the Ford Focus RS is a high-performance variant of the Ford Focus hatchback. The Focus RS comes with a turbocharged engine providing blistering acceleration, and standard all-wheel drive keeps the wheels glued to the road.
Ford Focus RS Overview
The hot hatch segment is popular with enthusiasts on a budget, since it's home to affordable cars that have exceptional performance capabilities. The Ford Focus RS is a standout in this talented class. It's not the only high-performance variant in the Focus family, since there's also the Focus ST to consider. However, the Focus RS one-ups its sibling by offering a more powerful engine and standard all-wheel drive.
Ford's Focus RS is a high-performance hatchback with seating for five, and it's packaged in sheet metal that's angular and aggressive. A bold grille with RS badging covers most of the front fascia, while a side view reveals the meaty alloy wheels. From the rear, the Focus RS presents a pronounced rear spoiler that works to heighten the car's aerodynamics.
The Focus RS comes with a single engine choice, but it's an impressive one. All models are motivated by a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that generates a robust 350 horsepower. Standard all-wheel drive enhances performance, and the sole transmission offered is an enthusiast-friendly six-speed manual.
With that much power under the hood, it's no surprise that the Focus RS accelerates with awesome ferocity. Its all-wheel drive helps the car hug corners at high speed and works to keep the hatchback stable in rough weather. Still, there is a price paid for this superlative performance: stiff ride quality that transmits bumps and jolts to the cabin.
While it lacks the refinement of certain rivals, the Focus RS's interior is attractive and ergonomically designed. The front seats are heavily bolstered to keep you secure in sharp turns, but they may be a tight fit for larger drivers. There's not a whole lot of legroom in the second row, but this is a common shortcoming within the segment.
The Focus RS won't leave you starving for feature content. Standard amenities include performance brakes, an adjustable suspension, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth connectivity. You can upgrade your Focus RS with features such as heated side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats and a navigation system.
For the 2017 model year, the Focus RS added Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration to its list of standard features.
Rival models to the Ford Focus RS include the Volkswagen Golf R, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Subaru WRX STI. For a more upscale experience, consider the Audi S3, Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG or BMW M235i. Even in this supremely skilled pool of candidates, the Focus RS shines by offering a pleasing balance of performance and affordability.