Ford Focus RS proves itself in wet weather
Dan recently owned a Subaru Impreza WRX, making the Focus RS a perfect replacement
The Focus RS has returned an average of 26.3mpg during our time with it so far
The Focus RS is clearly up for the challenge of wet weather testing
It has proved itself more Mitsubishi Evo than Volkswagen Golf R in nature
Our Ford features all-wheel-drive making this the perfect place to test it out
A lot of our driving during our testing will be on urban roads, a far cry from these highland roads
Can the ride on urban roads match that of these fun high-speed roads? Wait and see...
Although rather a lone voice in the argument, I had yet to be been blown away by the latest Ford Focus RS.
As a fast Ford fan and former owner – well, I thought a 1.8 Focus was fast back then – I was sad that a 345bhp four-wheel-drive version hadn’t quite yet beguiled me in the way it had so many others.
A couple of sodden days in our Focus RS left me far more endeared to it. I still have some reservations but, short of a Nissan GT-R, I’m not sure what else I would have rather driven during that wet weekend in the Cotswolds.
On the road, in dry weather and with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, the limits of adhesion are rarely breached, but on a slicker surface the Focus RS comes alive; not in a wild and lairy way, but simply in a fashion that gives the driver more to do and more to be excited by.
A combination of the constant overspeed of the rear wheels through the GKN all-wheel drive system and a super-sharp turn in gives you confidence that the Focus RS will dive into a corner and then power out of it with a hint of oversteer.
Attacking a corner in such a fashion in one of the Focus RS’s front-wheel-drive rivals would result in understeer. In a hot hatch equipped with a Haldex all-wheel drive system, the experience is likely to be one of absolute grip. To feel a hot hatch such as the Focus RS powering out of a bend from the rear, and with the security of four driven wheels, is absolutely fantastic.
Our next tasks are to investigate a rattle from the speaker in the door card and to ascertain the maximum fuel economy we can manage. To achieve the latter, though, we’ll first have to restrain ourselves from having quite so much fun on greasy roads, which is easier said than done.
Read our previous reports below
How does it drive in the wet?
With the weather taking a turn for the worse, the roads are now slick with leaf mulch and standing water – perfect conditions for the Focus to prove itself. I have to say, though, that the bumpy roads round my way mean the RS’s super-quick steering, fierce springing and willingness to rotate into the corner on the throttle make more demands of the driver than I’d expected. As such, it’s proving itself more Evo than Volkswagen Golf R in nature and in no way dumbed down.
If you’re up for the challenge, that’s great news. Not so long ago, you’d have had to endure horrendous fuel consumption and weekly service intervals for this level of pace. That you can now get it in a Focus says much for Ford’s democratisation of performance.
Much as we’d love to spend the entire three months with the Focus RS in the Highlands, the fact is that a lot of its driving will be in town. It’s the same for many hot hatches, of course. And sadly the Focus doesn’t fare too well, with a tough low-speed ride, terrible turning circle and tricky visibility. Hopefully, more fun miles can redress the balance soon.
FORD FOCUS RS
Price £31,000 Price as tested £35,135 Economy 26.3mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 23.11.16