The hot-hatch segment is one of the most exciting in the automotive industry. A compact size, a high-output engine, and agile handling are all one can dream of when wanting a sports car. However, hot-hatches offer all that plus utility and near perfect balance.
With cars like the Volkswagen GTI, Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, and the Ford Focus ST, buyers in this segment have many options to choose from. Well, Ford has added yet another option and one that has taken the industry and the segment by storm – the all-new 2017 Ford Focus RS. The Ford Focus RS has been on sale in other markets for many years, but it is now finally being offered in the United States and that couldn’t make us happier. The king of Ford’s hot-hatch segment, the Ford Focus RS has years of legacy and a fan club that is excited to see this pocket rocket come to the stateside. We finally had a chance to get some seat time in the new Ford Focus RS and we’re here to tell you how the car stacks up against its competitors. Let’s get started.
The exterior of the Ford Focus RS is based on the regular Ford Focus Hatchback – especially the Ford Focus ST. Nonetheless, the exterior of the Ford Focus RS is definitely more dramatic and more functional than its siblings. Ford designers worked extremely closely with Ford Performance to make sure that functional factors were carefully incorporated into their design. The design team focused on aerodynamic downforce, balance, and cooling off the engine and brakes into their philosophy while keeping an aggressive character at the forefront.
The front end of the Ford Focus RS is highlighted by a sharp trapezoidal grille that sits right above the splitter that makes way for a large opening to allow for better engine cooling. The front is further enhanced by sharp bi-xenon HID headlamps, wide fenders, and lower wings. There are also large openings on the side of the Ford Focus RS that allow the air to flow through to cool the brakes.
The rear of the Ford Focus RS clearly stands out with a giant roof spoiler and a large diffuser that allows for cooling the underbody. All of that is wrapped in a mean-looking body design that features the unmistakable RS logo.
The new Ford Focus RS rides on 19-inch RS alloy wheels that feature a lightweight design which allows for a weight savings of 1.3 pounds for each wheel.
The 2017 Ford Focus sits on a wheelbase that measures 104.3 inches with an overall length of 172.8 inches. The width comes in at 71.8 inches and the height comes in at 58 inches.
Line the 2017 Ford Focus RS up against its competitors, and this pocket rocket definitely stands out from the crowd.
Take a seat inside and you’re welcomed by a very sporty cabin that features Recaro racing seats (with RS logos of course), a flat-bottomed steering wheel, alloy pedals, and performance gauges on the center console that display the oil pressure, oil temperature, and the turbo boost pressure.
Tech-wise, the 2017 Ford Focus RS comes with the brand’s 8-inch touchscreen display with SYNC3, navigation, climate control, AUX/USB connections, and Bluetooth connectivity. There’s not really much else that you need here, but you can opt for heated seats, a heated steering wheel, an upgraded Sony sound system, leather seats, and more.
Interior space-wise, the 2017 Ford Focus RS offers 19.9 cubic feet of space with the seats in user position and 43.8 with the rear seats folded. Front leg room comes in at 43.1 inches and rear leg room comes in at 33.2 inches.
Here is where the 2017 Ford Focus obviously shines. Power comes from a 2.3-liter EcoBoost inline four-cylinder engine that produces an outstanding 350 horsepower at 6,000 rpm that redlines at 6,800-rpm. Maximum peak turbo boost comes in at 23.2 psi, with the peak torque at 350 lb-ft at 3,200 rpm.
The engine is mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission that allows it to go from zero to sixty in just 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 165 mph. While all that performance sounds fun already, the Ford Focus RS is also an all-wheel-drive vehicle and with the help of Ford Performance, the hatchback also features Dynamic Torque Vectoring that allows for outstanding grip and dynamic handling while you take sharp turns at high speeds. The car is perfectly balanced as you take corners and has more than enough power to keep you smiling through the straightaways.
The 2017 Ford Focus RS also offers four different driving modes including Normal, Sport, Track and of course, the awesome and insanely fun Drift Mode. The Drift Mode allows you to take your skills to the next level with controlled oversteer drifts – which we recommend you only attempt in a safe designated area.
Fuel economy-wise, the 2017 Ford Focus offers an EPA-estimated 19/25 mpg** (city/highway).
The 2017 Ford Focus RS offers a range of safety features including a rearview camera, electronic stability control, a seatbelt reminder, front seat side impact airbags, and dual-stage front airbags.
If you haven’t experienced the fun the 2017 Ford Focus offers, we really recommend heading to your local AutoNation Ford dealership for a test drive- and be prepared to be blown away. All this performance in a practical package carries a starting price tag of just $36,120*.
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.