Our Favourite Affordable Performance Cars - Ford Focus RS

By: Lisa Harper

Next in our rundown of best performance car is the:

Ford Focus RS

Vital Statistics:

- 2.3 EcoBoost Engine
- 6-speed manual transmission
- 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds
- Top Speed 165mph
- Approximately 36.7mpg real world capability
- 175g/km of CO2
- 19” alloy wheels


- Car of the Year at the 2016 Vehicle Dynamics International Awards
- Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year 2016

Destined to be controlled but never tamed, Auto Express describe the Focus RS it as ‘one of the performance cars of the decade’.

Ford Focus RS Front View

Designed and engineered by the Ford Performance Team, every aspect of the Ford Focus RS has been fully optimised to create a hot hatch with performance and handling that dips more than a toe in the water of being an out-and-out sports car. Managing to reach 0-60mph within less than five-seconds it’s not much slower than Audi RS3 or Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG and makes the absolute most of its 350PS 2.3-litre Eco-Boost engine.

Improvements have been made to the already class-leading traction. By integrating a Quaife mechanical limited slip differential on the car’s front axle it delivers a better distribution of torque to each wheel. Whilst the Torque Vectoring Control operates at 100-times-a-second (33 times faster than the blink of an eye) to fully balance engine torque depending on road surface and conditions, for precise handling when accelerating through corners. 

The six-speed manual transmission allows you to slip seamlessly through the gears as you accelerate away. Whilst the effective but brutal standard launch control automatically holds revs at the perfect point for some of the fastest and most nail-biting getaways.

With three driving modes available; normal, sport or track, you can switch the electronic stability control to provide optimum settings for your drive. Normal and sport are ideal for day-to-day driving while the firmer damper settings in track mode enable you to enjoy the full-throttle thrill of a course.

Ford Focus RS Interior

Standard equipment and finish is high; the exterior features matt-black painted door mirrors, rear spoiler with foil roof treatment and new black cast-alloy wheels with striking blue branded brake callipers. Inside race-inspired Recaro seats trimmed with ebony and blue two-tone leather will provide ample support as you traverse corners. While the carbon fibre interior ensures an upmarket premium feel throughout. 

Day-to-day driving has been considered with a range of features to improve comfort and convenience, these include automatic headlights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, heated front windscreen, ten high-performance Sony speakers and a rear-view camera. The eight-inch touchscreen offers connectivity and entertainment with features such as Bluetooth, SatNav and DAB radio, all of which can be controlled via the Ford SYNC 3 system. Opt for the luxury pack and convenience is upgraded with rear-parking sensors, keyless entry and cruise-control.

Bi-Xenon headlamps create a striking front feature, as well as providing great practicality. They follow the road as you turn the wheel to give you incredible visibility as you manoeuvre. It’s also possible to adjust the headlamp pattern depending on speed, environment and conditions.

By maintaining five-doors the Focus RS retains a respectable level of practicality ensuring you can use it on your daily commute. There’s ample room for five in the back, with boot space that is adequate for the average-sized family. Plus safety has been fully considered by Ford; gaining the Focus RS a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

When buying a performance car fuel economy and carbon emissions are unlikely to be top of your priorities, however it’s no bad thing that the Focus RS is far from the most prolific gas guzzler. Carbon emissions are around 175g/km and whilst real-life mpg capabilities are unlikely to surpass 31.2mpg the Focus RS does feature stop-start technology, which will help to reduce fuel bills when your foot is less enthusiastically pressed to the floor. 

The only way in which the Focus RS might not fully meet your expectations is on pothole filled roads. With firm set race-inspired ‘Ohlins Tenneco’ suspension you’ll enjoy full connection to the road allowing you to experience highly-responsive steering feedback.  However after multiple trips to the local shop you may discover that this firmed up suspension is definitely more suited to the track, and daily journeys will be more jarring than the RS’s less sporty sibling. All-in-all it’s a small price to pay for one of the most exciting hot hatch experiences money can buy.

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