Ξ Comments are off

2017 Ford Focus RS Review & Test Drive

posted by  
Filed under Automotive, Ford, Test Drives


In the recent couple of years, I have come to the conclusion that Ford means business. Not only have I had a chance to experience many of their high-performance vehicles as of late, but the new Ford Focus RS has graced my garage for a week, and I can say without a doubt that it’s my favorite vehicles in its segment.

The new Ford Focus RS has injected respectable performance in a platform that has thrived for many years as a notable economy vehicle that came in either a sedan or hatchback flavor. When it comes to the Focus RS, Ford takes the hatchback formula and injects it with a variation of its Mustang’s EcoBoost 2.3-liter engine but re-tunes several aspects of the engine to produce a healthy dose of 350 horsepower and matching 350 lb-ft of torque.

>> Get the best price on the Ford Focus from a network of local dealers now. <<


The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the new Focus RS is an eager powerplant that gets mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the only choice available, which sends power to all four wheels through a dynamic torque vectoring all-wheel-drive system using a clutch pack that can transmit as much as 70% of power to the rear wheels. Moreover, the advanced all-wheel-drive system can split power to each rear wheel taking that 70% rear-biased power and split it as much as 100% to a desired rear wheel. Part of the all-wheel-drive system’s torque vectoring comes into play with the infamous Drift Mode, which I found to be somewhat of a difficult feat to conquer as the ultra-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires found on my test vehicle were rather grabby and didn’t like to slide around.


Ford’s performance outfit has certainly paid attention to what enthusiast want, and it mostly starts with the 6-speed manual transmission bolted to a nicely-tuned turbocharged engine that surges through the RPM band in the new Focus RS. There isn’t much noticeable turbo lag, and most of the rev range the engine breathes well enough as to not suffer from much loss of power at high RPMs near redline.


Ford has paid its dividends and some when it comes to the newest 2.3-liter engine found in the Focus RS. Once I took a good friend’s fresh off of the new assembly line Focus RS for a quick spin and for some reason it didn’t feel as lively as my new test vehicle. Regardless, the Focus RS is a thrasher and feels as if it may have a bit more than the stated 350 horsepower at the flywheel. Speaking of flywheels, the rev range and the engine’s ability to permit easy shifts is a major plus. Though, the clutch pedal/pressure plate is somewhat heavy, a complete opposite to something like the new GT350 from Ford. The bite point of the clutch is almost immediate upon a lift from the floor. That and the longer throws do take a bit to get used to, but once you have mastered the assuring and rewarding manual transmission the Focus RS puts and keeps a smile on your face.


Part of keeping a smile is the Ford Focus RS’ ability to remain somewhat efficient getting up to 25 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. While the figures are far from other lower-trimmed Focus models, they are mostly consistent and can be pushed slightly beyond 25 mpg as I saw nearly 27 mpg on the highway with careful right-foot action.


Ford purposely introduced several different aspects of the new Focus RS’ dynamics when compared with something like the new Focus ST. Apart from the obvious differences in the RS being all-wheel-drive and having a lot more power to work with, the new Focus RS has a tight suspension setup with two-setting dampers that appear to always been on the firm side even in the normal mode. The Sport mode setting for the adaptive dampers, something you reserve for the track, can be jarring at times and nearly unlivable on a daily basis. Of the four drive modes, Normal, Sport, Track, and Drift, Sport is the desirable spot with just enough weight in the steering wheel and the right amount of throttle response. Moving to Track mode automatically places the dampers in their firmest setting, which reiterates the gauge cluster’s color LCD screen message of “Track Use Only.” Overall, the ride quality, be that it is a bit firm and bouncy at times, is overly assuring to most drivers followed up with exceptional handling that feels as if the Focus RS is on rails. Never did a feel as if the Focus RS was pushed too hard on public roads where it went exactly where I pointed it. You can say the new Focus RS is, sharply “Focused” in more than one way.


On the inside of the new Ford Focus RS is a familiar cabin that gets its uniqueness from only a few aspects, such as the heavily bolstered heated Recaro front seats. The front seats are not for everyone. They hug you in just the right places to match the nearly off of the charts lateral handling and acceleration of the Focus RS, reaching 1.04 g in the corner with the Cup 2 tires. I suspect that those with extra-large posteriors may find the seats a bit too narrow and uncomfortable on long road trips. Still, the seats are quite welcomed among hardcore enthusiasts to keep you in place on those turns that generate over 1g. Out back, the Focus RS is mostly what is expected in any other new Focus hatchback with room to spare for cargo and just enough seating area for a couple of adults.


Ford’s latest Sync infotainment system is a welcomed change that finally gets it right with a quick-responding touch screen and easy-to-use menu sets and controls. Readily available updates to the system are said to add features like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which was not included as part of the firmware on my test vehicle. Still, the system is quite an improvement and functions just as you expect in a 2017 model year vehicle.


Within the likings of Ford Performance vehicles, the Focus RS is a nice addition that doesn’t necessarily break the bank with a price tag starting at $35,900. However, adding on many of the desirable features, such as heated seats, voice-activated navigation, power/heated mirrors, and the sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires wrapping a set of 19-inch forged wheels, the price will rise to my test vehicle’s $41,550 out-the-door mark. The Ford Focus RS is undeniably ‘THE’ Hot Hatch to buy right now!

>> Get the best price on the Ford Focus from a network of local dealers now. <<

>> Get the best price on the Ford Focus from a network of local dealers now. <<


  • Price: Base Focus RS $35,900 / As-Tested $41,550
  • Engine: 2.3-liter EcoBoost (Turbocharged) 4-cylinder 350 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 350 ft-lbs. torque @ 3,200 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 104.3 in.
  • Total length: 172.8 in.
  • Total width: 71.8 in.
  • Total height: 58 in.
  • Track: f/r-60.9 / 60.0 in.
  • Fuel tank: 13.9 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-38.3 /38 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-43.1 / 33.2 in.
  • Rear Cargo Capacity (seats in place): 19.9 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,434 lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
  • EPA mileage: 19 mpg/city, 25 mpg/highway

>> Get the best price on the Ford Focus from a network of local dealers now. <<


You May Also Like


Automotive Manufacturers & Categories