For my job reviewing cars for Public Radio I got to test drive the pocket rocket that is Ford’s Focus RS. Better put on your big-boy pants and racing shoes if you go that route.
In short, the RS is a blast to drive, and inexpensive as racers go, at roughly $37 grand.
Ford has been racing its Focus for years on the Rally circuit; RS here stands for Rallye Sport. Lately it has been Ford Performance, its special vehicle unit, creating the RS in Europe, juicing it up for folks wanting to race their Focus, or simply have the hottest hatch on the highway.
What’s so awesome about the Focus RS is that it’s a sneaky racer. Outside of its giant disc brakes and rear spoiler you’d think it an ordinary Focus, something mom or dad, or the resident teenager would drive to soccer practice or the grocery store.
But there’s a 350-horsepower 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged I4 under its short hood. Plus, the RS has all-wheel drive to put that power to the pavement efficiently. At the time I drove the Focus RS it reportedly would do 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, nearly as fast as a Mustang GT.
Further helping it perform were Michelin low-pro performance tires to give the RS good grip, and a sport-tuned suspension for better road feel. In back is a special short- and long-arm suspension system. No wonder the racers love to start their mods with this model.
Autoart’s version is true to the original in design and details, starting with its vibrant Nitrous Blue paint scheme that has a bit of a metal flake look to it. This one is certain to stand out in your display. Plus, all four doors, the hood, and hatch open easily and the front wheels are poseable too, which helps create a more dynamic presentation.
With this one look no further than its racy flat-black wheels that appear a spider has built a web over each wheel. There’s a Ford oval logo at the center of each and monster disc brakes behind along with blue Brembo-branded calipers to match the car’s paint scheme.
Molded-in door handles make for easy opening of each door and the blue and black spoiler includes the RS initials stamped on the spoiler uprights. Mirrors are reflective and there’s a tiny antenna atop the roof.
As you’d expect, the head and taillights look realistic with great depth and individual lenses and bulbs under the large outer lens. The black photo-etched metal grille also features a solid bar across the nose with RS engraved on it.
Under the free-standing hood is a packed engine compartment just as on the full-sized car. There’s a big turbo hose and giant engine shroud with Ford Performance labeling and a yellow-handled dipstick.
The model features black plastic wipers front and rear and when you pop open the hatch the cargo area is not only flocked, but includes a cargo cover properly attached so it rises as the hatch is lifted.
Inside are flat black to gunmetal gray seats shaped to imitate the Recaro race seats in the full-size Focus, along with cloth shoulder belts attached to the door frame. Door panel detailing is sharp and the dash and console look realistic too. Focus RS also features a flat-bottomed steering wheel, again with the Ford logo at the center of its hub. All windows are trimmed in black and there’s even a mock defroster grid in the rear hatch’s window.
Fancy? No! Racy, yes, right down to its two humungous chrome-tipped exhaust pipes exiting under the rear diffuser.
Vital Stats: Ford Focus RS
Stock No.: 72953 (Nitrous Blue)