Ford Focus RS – 2016-2018

The Ford Focus RS has become one of the most iconic hot hatchbacks in the British market. For many years, fast Fords have been the go-to car for those wanting that extra excitement and thrill, when driving and pushing hard around country roads. The new Ford Focus RS is arguably the best fast Ford yet.

The fast Ford craze has been around for decades with models like the Sierra Cosworth, Escort Cosworth, Fiesta RS2000 and the Escort RS2000 along with many others. Some of these cars performed and achieved tremendous success in various Rally competitions around the world, highlighting just how good these cars were.


The first Ford Focus RS was produced way back in 2002, with just over 200hp. A second-generation model was launched in 2009 with an increased power output of just over 300hp and fitted with various suspension upgrades. This new model (3rd generation) started production in 2016 and Ford have pushed the boat out to create an all-round road/rally car. Gone is the FWD system and in comes a brand new AWD system to help with traction, handling, power and torque. The new Ford Focus RS is bordering on being an all-out sports car, not just a hot hatchback and will also be the first RS model to be sold all over the world.

The hot hatchback market is full of fantastic cars such as the Honda Civic Type R, The VW Golf R and Audi RS3 to name just a few, so the new Focus RS will have its work cut out. Have Ford created a car to compete and beat its rivals? Let's find out.

Continue reading the yoauto review to help you decide if the Ford Focus RS is the right car for you. If the Focus RS doesn't tick all of your boxes, then don't forget to visit our Used Car buying page, where you will find thousands of cars available across the UK at excellent prices.

Engine, Power and Performance

The new Ford Focus RS has received its most powerful engine to date. It is the same engine found in the iconic Ford Mustang, a 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost unit that the Cosworth team have remapped to produce 345hp and 440Nm torque. There is a 'boost' function which increases torque up to 470Nm when accelerating. The Focus RS will go from 0-60mph in 4.5secs and climb to a top speed of 165mph. The engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, which is great for us who like the old school feel and control, but with no option to have an automatic transmission, Ford may have missed a trick.

With four-wheel drive and a smart launch control system, the Focus RS grips and accelerates better than most of its rivals off the line, even if you're not a racer, it is easy to manage. The engine roars through two large exhaust pipes when you accelerate and creates loud pops and bangs when you take your foot off. It's so much fun to play with and makes teenagers turn and stare as you drive past, with a huge smile on their faces. They like it too.


There are several aftermarket upgrades available for the Ford Focus RS to make it faster and improve overall performance. Ford tuning specialists Mountune, have created two upgrade kits called 'Phase One' and 'Performance Upgrade' (FPM375) and both have been approved fully approved by Ford Performance. Other companies offer a variety of upgrade packages and kits, but the Ford warranty doesn't cover these.

The Focus RS is fitted with high spec Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres as standard designed specifically for the RS. There are some sticker tyres available, at an extra cost, called Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 but are more suited to track day driving not everyday use. There is a choice of driving modes available, from Normal, Sport,  Track and finally a new feature 'Drift'. The 'Drift' mode allows you to make the Focus RS drift with ease, even if you're a novice. Cleverly distributing the power around the wheels and controlling the traction of each wheel. If you try it once, you will want to keep doing it, and you will be smiling all day long.

Interior quality and design

Much of the interior in the Focus RS is the same as can be found in the less powerful Focus ST, with just some minor tweaks and sportier RS upgrades. The standard seats are part-leather Recaro sports seats, which are very comfortable but also figure-hugging to keep you in place when enjoying the full capabilities of the RS. You can opt for the Recaro RS sports seats, which look even better in the car and compliment the interior. The seats are set quite high, which some people may not like and could take time to get used to, but I quite like the position of them. There's a good amount of adjustment in both the seats and steering wheel, to find a good driving position for everyone.


The Focus RS comes with an 8-inch colour touchscreen supporting the Sync3 infotainment system. Some of the standard features included are sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone mirroring and voice control. Other excellent features which come as standard are adjustable adaptive dampers, automatic headlights, rear-view camera and a 10-speaker Sony sound system.

There's an optional Luxury Pack to upgrade to, which features rear parking sensors, cruise control, keyless entry rear privacy glass and Active City Stop to name just a few. This is undoubtedly a pack well worth investing a little extra money in, as it gives some much needed safety-assist systems, not included as standard.

Space, Practicality and Safety

The amount of space inside of the Focus RS is basically the same as the Focus ST. In the front, there is more than enough room for 6ft+ drivers and passengers to feel comfortable. In the back, space is not so good, with little legroom for passengers, even shorter passengers could feel a bit of a squeeze. Although it seats 3 in the back, the middle seat is very narrow and firm which would make travelling any real distance very uncomfortable.

The boot is slightly smaller in the Focus RS, compared with the ST, due to the new AWD system fitted, which means there is no spare wheel, just a tyre inflation kit. The boot capacity comes in at 260-litres and 1045-litres with the rear seats folded down. Compared with its rivals, like the Honda Civic Type R or the Audi RS3 the latter as a capacity of 380-litres, which highlights just how small boot space is.


The Ford Focus RS itself has not been safety tested, but it is based on the standard Ford Focus model, which scored a top 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP tests. Given that the Focus RS has four-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control as standard, there is no reason to believe the RS wouldn't score top marks as well.

The Ford Focus RS offers excellent performance, power and fun to brighten up your day. It is a technical masterpiece and will undoubtedly prove to be a very popular car! Especially with petrol-heads and drivers who love the buzz and sense of excitement the Focus RS gives. It is the new fast Ford and the benchmark for all future fast Fords to aspire to.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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