What is it?
This Focus RS is the third Ford Focus to be fitted with the iconic RS badge.
It is the fastest yet and boasts four-wheel drive to make the most of the 348bhp available.
But at £29,995, is it the bargain it seems when compared to the opposition?
We hit the road and track to find out…
- The 2.3-litre turbo EcoBoost engine, which – before Ford Performance breathed on it – is the same fitted to the current entry-level Mustang. It boasts an almost supercar-rivalling 345bhp, a top speed of 165mph and 0-60 acceleration in just 4.7 seconds.
- It sounds great too – more like a six-cylinder than a four. On top of the fruity howl when accelerating, we love the fact that if you move it into other driving modes, you’ll get plenty of pops on the overun to add to the smiles.
- However, considering the performance and all-wheel drive system, we think it’s impressive that the Focus RS is still capable of 36.7mpg on the Combined Cycle and has CO2 emissions of 175g/km. Although we don’t believe that the consumption and emissions will be high on the list of priorities for Focus RS buyers!
- How the Focus RS drives is going to be key and this hyper-hatch doesn’t disappoint. Around town it’s no more difficult to drive than the standard Ford hatch. However, when the roads open up, you first notice the quicker, more direct, steering, then there’s the meatier six-speed manual transmission and the standard Brembo brakes are the perfect antidote when you come to a stop.
- Then there’s the handling; bodyroll is negligible and with the impressive levels of grip from the adaptive four-wheel drive system, plus that sharp steering, you’ll be impressed at how much speed you can carry in and out of corners. The Focus RS really is a B road weapon.
- Fancy getting out on track? Well, the Focus RS will be perfect for that task, as on top of Sport, there are Track and Drift drive modes of the all-wheel drive system built for this. In track mode, the main difference over standard is the stiffer damping. Drift mode on the other hand is designed to send the car sideways – fun in the right place!
- Outside, you’ll not miss the Focus RS’s aggressive look – although it’s more toned down than fast Ford RS hatches of the past – remember the Escort Cosworth and that whale tail? At the front, there’s the unique front airdam, with its bigger air and brake ducts. At the side, there’s the choice of 19-inch alloy wheel designs. Move to the back and the rear look of the latest RS is finished off with a rear diffuser, twin exhausts and the RS-branded rear spoiler. According to Tyrone Johnson, vehicle engineering manager of Ford Performance, “Nothing on this car is for show”. In fact all the styling mods are designed to reduce lift, or aid cooling.
- Unlike the last two Focus RS-generations, the latest RS is now based on the five-door version. This means the same practicality as the standard car and a practical boot.
- £29,995 might seem a lot for a Ford Focus hatch, but if you consider the giant-killing performance and useability, we actually reckon it’s good value, as it’s still cheaper than the most powerful Golf, the R. There’s also the exclusivity of owning a Ford RS model. For example, even examples of the Focus RS MK2 are already appreciating in value.
- It might offer more practicality in five-door form, but we wish the Focus interior felt a bit more special. There’s nothing wrong with the dashboard and interior design, but we’re not sure its special enough to justify the almost £30,000 list price.
- Our test car was fitted with a lovely set of Recaro RS, Race Style shell seats, but they are costly at £1,145 and in our opinion, mounted too high.
- With the Focus RS’s 175g/km CO2 emissions and 32% charge, it is definitely going to be a business car bought with the heart not the head.
- On the standard 19-inch alloys of the Focus RS, the ride is sportily firm. It’s even more unyielding in the Sport and Track modes.
Verdict on the Ford Focus RS
If emissions and consumption aren’t at the top of your buying list for your next business car – but buying the ultimate hot hatch is, then the Focus RS should be at the top of your list.
We reckon the hottest Focus hatchback is best, being great to drive, practical, but more importantly impressive value when you compare it with rivals.
This fastest Focus is worthy of the RS badge and will be as sought-after as the other performance Fords before it.
The lowdown on: Ford Focus RS
|Doors and body style||5-door hatch|
|Engine/gearbox:||2.3-litre 4cyl turbo/6-speed manual transmission|
|Power/torque:||345bhp/470Nm (with overboost)|
…..and what it costs
|Monthly business rental (ex VAT)||£n/a|
|Road tax (VED)||£210 first year|
|Company Car Tax Bands 2016/17 to 2018/19||32%, 34%, 36%|
|Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 2017/18||£9,486, £10,079, £10,672|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)||£1,421/£118|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%)||£2,842/£237|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)||£1,897/£158|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)||£3,795/£316.25|
|Figures correct at time of posting||April 2016|
|For latest figures||Use our company car tax calculator|