Keep your eyes peeled everyone because the Focus RS review wave is coming in hard! No less than 4 publications were able to get their hands on the Focus RS for a test ride and they all have great things to say about Ford’s new super hatch. To make everyone’s life a little easier, here’s a summary of the key points for everyone to read; the good, the great, and the bad.
Probably one of the most exciting aspect of the RS is the four drive modes: normal, sport, track and drift.
TopGear claims that normal mode pretty much does what it says on the packaging, a little bouncier compared to the Golf R but still not overly stiff. Sport mode is one step up with the dampers stiffened by 40%, sharper throttle response, more weight added to the steering wheel and those all-important exhaust pops and crackles. EVO initially didn’t think the extra steering weight was necessary but that changed when the Focus RS was taken in a corner, the steering became crisp and detailed instead of muted.
Track does everything sport can do but with the electronic stability control switched to the second setting allowing for more slip and the rear drive unit is tweaked to keep you in line. Your front end run wide in the Focus ST you say? Well no worries, the RS’ rear end will help and bring your car back into line.
The first three modes were the good and here’s the great Drift mode we’ve been dreaming about. Unlike sport or track, the dampers in drift mode are softened up for more movement. Pair that with the 70% torque diverted to the rear and you’ll soon be drifting like Ken Block. If you’re afraid of going wayward in a drift, fear not because the RS’ system is constantly monitoring you; if you’re not applying the lock quick enough the electronic stability control system will step in but if you are applying the lock at the right time, the system will reward you with an increased drift angle.
As positive as the reviews are, they did point out a few areas where the Focus RS is lacking, namely the interior. Auto Express thinks the boot is cramped at 260-litre, Evo says the RS cabin lacks the luxury feel of its German rivals, and all three agree that the seating position is a little too high. The last one may become a non-issue later on since Ford says they’re already working on a fix for it and the German rivals’ cabins may be more luxurious but they also cost more too.
The Verdict delivered by autoexpress.co.uk:
Its aggressive looks won’t be to all tastes, yet the blistering performance and acrobatic handling are hard to fault. The highlight is the clever all-wheel- drive system that delivers involvement rivals can’t match. The stiff ride could be an issue in the UK, but in all other respects the RS is a performance car bargain.