Today I drive my friend Nick’s Ford Focus RS to Curated, where they’re having a Cars and Coffee style exotic car event. Along the way with some shenanigans mixed in, we try to answer the question: Is this all the car you really need?
Acceleration is pretty quick for a hot hatch, and launch control is incredibly fun for a car of this class. 345 HP is plenty for daily use and on track, but once you’ve driven some cars with over 450 HP, 345 doesn’t feel like it would pull like a freight train. However, this is easily remedied by some aftermarket parts, with people pushing well over 400 HP to the wheels! Hopefully I can get one to test.
Unlike many other BS tests by automotive journalists, we will not measure handling on the road. To do so would be extremely dangerous and foolish as you’d have to drive like a complete idiot to get anywhere near the limit on a public road. We’ll reserve handling tests for when we can take the car to a track, because it is impossible to get a true feel for a car’s handling on a public road.
When you’re not driving like a bat out of hell, the Focus RS drives like, well, a Focus. It’s calm, relaxed, comfortable, and doesn’t try to bite your head off.
The Focus RS can be optioned with some good tech like Ford’s awesome Sync 3 system, and has all the usual stuff like Bluetooth Audio, Navigation, keyless entry and start, and all the goodies. It doesn’t have the latest gadgets like Adaptive Cruise Control and Rain Sensing Wipers, but the adjustable traction control system couple with AWD makes for some interesting driving dynamics, including that famed Drift Mode. You can also get it with a Sony sound system, which sounds great with some good tunes.
The Focus RS is a Focus, so it retains it’s base car’s conservative styling, however the aggressive front bumper, rear wing, and bright Nitrous Blue paint job give it a “boy racer” look. However it isn’t so outlandish that everyone within a 1/8th-mile radius thinks you’re some kind of ricer with a souped-up single-cam Civic. Drive it normally and most people standing on the side of the road don’t bother to even look at you, you’re invisible to them. You’re driving a Focus. An everyday car. Drop a few gears and start weaving through traffic like a madman, and the car’s styling definitely won’t help you. How this car is perceived is based upon how it’s being driven.
It’s a five-door hatchback. Got kids? No problem. Got dogs? Put the back seats down, it’s fine. The car isn’t incredibly low either, so you won’t have a problem clearing speed bumps.
The seats are comfortable, even with the heavy bolstering. It isn’t jarring, but there is plenty of cushion for your ass. However, the ride is quite stiff since this is a performance car, and in Sport and Track modes the suspension gets even stiffer. It isn’t so stiff that it’s a dealbreaker, but driving around the rough Miami roads isn’t the most pleasant experience.
This car would normally get a 10/10, seeing as it’s a brand-new car from one of the world’s top auto manufacturers, but recent issues with headgaskets on completely stock cars knock it down a few points. Although I’m not 100% sure of what Ford’s stance is on the issues, hopefully they will be resolved soon!
Interior quality is good for this price point. There’s soft-touch materials where you’d normally touch, but some parts have a hard plasticky feel. However, assembly is good and on par with my Mustang, so it’s what I would expect for a $35,000 sporty hot hatch.
The Focus RS is a pretty decent car from a value standpoint, it’s a do-everything car with plenty of performance, space, look-at-me styling, and it’s plenty practical for daily use. This car should hold it’s value fairly well and I don’t expect depreciation to hit it like a brick, so I gave it a slightly above average score.