2016 Ford Focus RS

By Jaedene Hudson on 18 November 2016
2016 Ford Focus RS hatch

Engine
Transmission
Fuel Economy
16.4 L/ 100km
Output
ANCAP rating

Not Tested

What is it?

Ford's super-hot Focus RS hatch. This Focus RS is the new version of the one released back in 2010. It has more power and torque and now features AWD. Available exclusively as a five-door the new RS is bigger than the model that precedes it, and even better, it's cheaper. It's so popular the wait list is well into next year.

Why is it creating such a storm?

Four reasons:
1. 257kW of power
2. 440Nm of torque
3. 0-100kmh in 4.7 seconds and
4. AWD

How much is it?

From $50,990 plus on road coats. There are a two options - a performance wheel package for $3500 and $450 for metallic paint which means the RS is still under $60,000 including ORCs.

What are its rivals?

In this space, the Volkswagen Golf R is the closest in money and performance (priced from $52,990 +ORCs) and then you head into the upper end of the spectrum that features luxury rivals such as the Audi RS3, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and BMW's M140i.

What does it get?

Standard features include: 8-inch colour touchscreen with satellite navigation, driver selectable sports suspension with adjustable dampers, partial leather RS branded Recaro seats, dual zone (and voice controlled) climate control, cruise control auto headlights and wipers, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift, auto dimming rear view mirror, RS logo scuff plates, Sport RS pedal, smart key, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, rear camera and 19-inch alloys.

Standard safety features include: six airbags, ABS with EBD, stability control, emergency brake assist, emergency brake lights, hill launch assist, torque vectoring control, all-wheel-drive, and tyre pressure monitoring system.

What's it like inside?

It's not as premium as you'd expect from a $50,000-plus car but you can forgive this pocket rocket to some degree as the RS is all about "bang for your buck". However, it's up against the more premium feeling, and only marginally more expensive, Golf R.

There is not much difference between the RS and the lower Focus models in overall design and layout which means the RS lacks the performance flair you'd expect. There are also cheap looking plastics through the cabin.

The Recaro race seats are super comfy, have great support and feature partial leather and faux-suede fabric. The RS models do get some interior touches however, such as nice feeling leather wrapped flat-bottomed steering wheel, the three small gauges that sit on top of the dash board that house the turbo and oil pressure and temperature.


What's it like to drive?

Heaps of fun! This is why the RS is so popular.

Under the bonnet of the Focus RS is a 2.3-litre four-cylinder 'EcoBoost' engine, based on the same unit that powers the Mustang. There are some key differences though. The RS has more power (257kW v 233kW) and more torque (440Nm with 470Nm on overboost v 432Nm). Ford has also tuned the engine for sharper acceleration response, and also made the burble on deceleration from a larger exhaust. This is mated to a slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox. The gearbox is smooth and not notchy, the only gripe is the extremely sensitive clutch – it's on or off - that takes a bit of getting used too.

Claimed fuel consumption is not bad for the performance figures at 8.1L/100km.

The Focus RS is quick, really quick especially off the line. The AWD system puts all of the 257kW down on the road with ease and as the turbo spins up the 440Nm gives you a good shove in the back.

Steering is super sharp and precise with absolutely no torque steer which was a very pleasant surprise given a good percentage of that massive torque is going through the front wheels. That said, it's not quite as nimble as some of its lighter rivals, such as the Golf R.

The suspension is sophisticated and automatically adjusts depending on the drive mode selected. In Normal mode the ride is bone jarring though and in Race mode its bone shattering but that's a trade-off for excellent handling. Just make sure you test drive on rough roads as you may not be able to "live with it" as an everyday driver. Around tight twisty country roads with lots mid corner bumps, and on poor quality road surfaces, the RS was sure footed and composed. Clearly all the RnD from years in in World Rally Championship has filtered down to the RS. In fact, former WRC driver and world famous Gymkhana video star Ken Block was involved with the development of this car and it shows!

There are four drive modes that vary the car's performance and handling depending on your preference. The first three utilise the car's all-wheel-drive system and provide lots of grip, then there's Drift mode which effectively makes the RS a rear drive monster. Push the button and most of the power goes straight to the rear and turns off the traction control. Just remember - "drifting" a car on public roads is an offence.

For me, the higher driving position was great and the lack of seat height adjustment didn't bother me but some have found it an issue.

Being a performance car is it more expensive to run?

From a servicing perspective no. The RS is covered by the same lifetime capped price servicing plan as the rest of the Ford range. Service intervals are 15,000km/12 months and over the first three years it will cost you $1205 to maintain; only $205 more than the Focus ST.

Should I consider one?

Yes. The RS is a great hot hatch and one of the best value offerings in this market. Its sharp, has loads of grunt, sounds great and is well-priced. Just make sure you can live with the ride before you sign on the dotted line.

Quick Facts

Make

Ford

Model

Focus RS

Category

Small

Year

2016

Body type

5-door hatchback

Pros

Fantastic performance
Great handling
Well priced

Cons

Super firm ride will be a deal breaker for some
No seat height adjustment
Not as premium inside as rivals

Country of manufacture

Germany

Available from

18-Nov-16

Priced from

$50,990 plus on road costs

Specifications

Engine

Number of cylinders

4

Engine size

2.3 L

Engine aspiration

Turbo charged

Fuel

PULP

Claimed max power (kW)

257 kW @ 6000 rpm

Claimed max torque (Nm)

440 Nm @ 1600 rpm

Transmission

Type

6-speed manual

Wheels

Driving wheels

AWD

Size

19 "

Tyres

Spare tyre type

Temporary

Size

235/35 R19

Dimensions

Kerb weight

1524 kg

Length

4390 mm

Width (including mirrors)

2010 mm

Ground clearance

NA mm

Seating capacity

5

Fuel capacity

51 litres

Acceleration - Test results

0 - 100km/h

4.7 secs

Fuel Consumption

Claimed fuel consumption

8.1 L/100km

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