(Full Disclosure: Our Editor-in-Chief, that’s me, got a week in this 2016 Ford Focus RS to write a feature article for RFD (keep an eye out for it coming soon!). Part of that week was spent driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains, watch the video to see what we did with it.)
First of all, it’s a Focus
You can take that as a positive or a negative. The “its just a Focus dude” side will point to its basic underpinnings and economy car interior as a down side. And they’re not entirely wrong; this car, which is easily $15,000 more than the 2014 Focus ST I had, has pretty much the same interior. It’s no luxury car, but the small changes with color-matched-to-the-exterior stitching on the seats and other places inside the Focus RS really stand out as nice updates. The seats, Recaro-only, available in partial or full leather, are ridiculously good, although the same girth limitation applies to this car that applied to my Focus ST. Those too far over the 200 pound mark could feel a little confined.
Then again, the fact that this is “just a Focus dude” is an amazing feat of engineering. I experienced G-forces in the RS that I have not always felt in cars that retail for three to four times as much. This thing changes direction like a damn laser pointer being chased by a cat. It’s that nimble. With the “track only” drift mode selected, I made fast work of back roads along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Looking around the exterior, it’s obvious that this is a Focus. Of course its a Focus, says so on the back. But, the upgrades to the lower fascia, sides, rear, and of course the big spoiler mounted to the hatch, make it also pretty clear that this bitch means business.
How does it make you feel?
In short, it gives you “the tingle” down there. No, not in your genitals per-se, perhaps somewhere in the bottom half of your body. It’s that “wow this car is special” feeling that almost every other car I have driven lately is missing. I tried to stereotype what the Focus RS would be if it were a person. It’s a God damn decathlete who runs a moving business when he’s not training for the Olympics. The fact that this 4-door hatchback, with the ability to haul around your crap, can also haul more ass than anything I have driven recently—the McLaren 570GT excluded—and still be under $40,000 is phenomenal. Starting MSRP is $35,900 plus packages/options. And sure, dealers are marking them up, but it’s early, the hype will die down a bit; you’ll have access to more cars on the market (used, and new) and can ideally pick up one of these ridiculously good drivers’ cars. OK, so as you saw in the video, the ride sucks. But other than that, it’s as good as you’ve heard. Maybe better.
Keep an eye out on Jalopnik for the coming Focus RS review and back here on RFD for a tuned Focus RS vs. tuned Focus ST feature.
Trans: 6-Speed Manual
Engine: 350-hp 2.3L GTDI EcoBoost
Exterior: Nitrous-Blue Quad Coat
Interior: Charcoal Black
Destination Fee: $875
Packages & Options
- Nitrous-Blue Paint $695
- RS2 Package $2,785
– 8-Way Power Driver Seat
– Black Leather Recaro® Seats with Miko®-Dinamica inserts with RS Logo
– Heated Mirrors
– Heated Front-Seats
– Heated Three Point Steering Wheel
– Voice-Activated Touch-Screen Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link
Total MSRP: $40,225