Ford Focus RS review – is Ford's hyperactive hatchback a cut price Audi RS3? (2016 - 2018) - Ford Focus RS vs rivals

The Focus RS impresses with strong performance and great handling

Evo rating
Price
from £32,795
  • Incredible pace while being fun and adjustable
  • Interior lacks sophistication and quality of German rivals

Now in its third incarnation the Focus RS has developed a strong following but how did it fare when we pitched it up against SEAT’s Leon Cupra 300 and the new kid on the block, Honda’s latest Civic Type-R in our Supertest in issue 241?

The RS looks to have it all on-paper – nigh on 350bhp, four-wheel drive to keep it in check and a tweaked and lowered chassis set up. Plus it looks the part with aggressive styling and couples this with an entertaining soundtrack. It’s blisteringly quick but does it have the finesse to go with its outright speed?

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Weight, dimensions and performance data

Thanks to its four-wheel drive it’s the heaviest car here at 1569kg – 220kg up on the SEAT and 150kg more than the Type-R – but even this can’t stop the RS from being the fastest to 60mph from rest, and by quite a margin. At 4.9sec it’s a full second quicker than the Type-R and 1.3sec faster than the SEAT. Extracting that figure is a brutal process though and not one for those with an ounce of mechanical sympathy as the RS’s launch control effectively involves dropping the clutch at 5000rpm. The Focus’s brakes lagged behind the Civic’s though, taking 15 metres longer to stop from 100mph.  

> Click here to see the Supertest

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Lap time and track driving 

On Bedford’s West Circuit the Focus RS was somewhat hampered by its weight – it was fast at the beginning of the lap but its times dropped off as the brakes and tyres struggled towards the end of each lap. At 1:26.9 It was faster than the SEAT (by 0.9sec) but 0.7sec slower than the tenacious Type-R.

The RS’s unruly nature saw it struggle in some of the faster corners such as Tower where the Civic could manage an 83mph maximum, nearly 10mph faster than the RS which was impeded by its tendency to oversteer. Ultimately the RS was fun, but not the quickest.

Supertest data and specs table

Ford Focus RSHonda Civic Type RSEAT Leon Cupra 300
EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 2261cc, turboIn-line 4-cyl, 1996cc, turboIn-line 4-cyl, 1984cc, turbo
Power 345bhp @ 6000rpm316bhp @ 6500rpm296bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque
347lb  @ 2000-4500rpm295lb  @ 2500-4500rpm280lb  @ 1800-5500rpm
TransmissionSix-speed manual, four-wheel drive, torque vectoring rear differentialSix-speed manual, front-wheel drive, limited-slip differentialSix-speed manual, front-wheel drive, electronically controlled LSD
Tyres235/35 R19 front and rear, Michelin Pilot Super Sport245/30 R20 front and rear, Continental SportContact 6235/35 R19 front and rear, Pirelli P Zero
Height/width1472mm/1823mm1434mm/1877mm1423mm/1810mm
Weight1569kg as tested (1547kg claimed)1412kg as tested (1380kg claimed)1347kg as tested (1300kg claimed)
Power-to-weight223bhp/ton using test-car weight (227bhp/ton claimed)227bhp/ton using test-car weight (233bhp/ton claimed)223bhp/ton using test-car weight (231bhp/ton claimed)
0-60mph4.9sec as tested (4.7 to 62 claimed)5.9sec as tested (5.8 to 62 claimed)6.2sec as tested (5.7 to 62 claimed)
Top speed166mph (claimed)169mph (claimed)155mph (limited)
evo mpg22.2 (average over duration of test)26.6 (average over duration of test)27.6 (average over duration of test)
Basic price£32,265£30,995£30,155
PCP monthly price£445 (36 months, £3500 deposit, 9000 miles per annum limit)£491 (36 months, £3500 deposit, 10,000 miles per annum limit)£409 (36 months, £3500 deposit, 10,000 miles per annum limit)
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