Ford’s new Focus RS is an excellent example of exactly why it’s such a great time to be a car enthusiast.
Because while the last several years have seen an almost unprecedented number of fun, affordable driver’s cars hit the market — think the redesigned Mazda MX-5, FIAT’s 124 Spider, Toyota’s FT-86 — the level of performance and practicality that the Blue Oval has instilled in its sweet little pocket rocket is almost unbelievable.
With a starting price of just over $36,000, RS models come at a significant premium over the standard Focus, but buyers are getting one heck of a lot of car for their money. First up, there’s the engine, a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder which also sees duty in the company’s Mustang EcoBoost. In this application, it’s tuned to deliver a very-healthy 350 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of twist, which sends power to all four wheels via the company’s innovative all-wheel drive system.
That’s enough to launch the car from zero to 60 in a brisk 4.6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 165 mph. Even with all that power on tap, the Focus RS still manages to deliver respectable fuel economy. And the practicality doesn’t stop there. Because since it shares its chassis with the more staid Focus, that means rear-seat passengers will have plenty of room, and the folding rear seat and hatch make it easy to transport bulky items or stock up on supplies at a grocery store.
Of course, while RS is a great choice for daily driving duties, it’s also robust enough that it’ll be able to tackle the occasional track day without breaking a sweat. And if you buy one of these wicked little machines? You should seriously book some time at your local circuit to see exactly what it’s capable of.
Another recommendation? While it comes shod with super-sticky Michelin Super Sport tires, we’d suggest replacing them with something with a slightly higher tread wear rating if you’re going to daily it, as performance rubber isn’t cheap, and doesn’t handle rain or cold temperatures as well as a proper all-season.
We’re expecting to get our hands on the RS early in 2017, but there are plenty on AutoNation dealer lots now, so if you’re chomping at the bit to find out how it drives, head out and schedule a test drive today!