Yeah yeah, but what’s it like to drive?

NZ Autocar - - New Arrival -

Around town, it’s much like the Fo­cus ST, with­out the wheel­spin. The clutch is light but with a def­i­nite bite point, and the ride is sporty but not harsh. It’s rea­son­ably quiet, and the en­gine doesn’t feel laggy; rather, it’s quite tractable. A quick cruiser on the mo­tor­way, the short gear­ing sees 100km/h reg­is­ter 2200rpm, but what it longs for is a good thrash­ing in the hills.

Ad­vanc­ing to Sport mode opens the ex­haust valve and brings on the en­ter­tain­ing bangs and pops on the over­run. The en­gine note is wor­thy, a sat­is­fy­ing mix of in­duc­tion and ex­haust bark. Hard on the throt­tle and there’s no wait­ing for the torque as the en­gine pulls hard from 2000rpm and revs quickly, though is done by 6000rpm, the lim­iter ar­riv­ing at 6700rpm. The man­ual slots gears eas­ily, even when you’re shift­ing with the ‘wrong’ hand. In Sport, the dampers re­main in nor­mal mode which helps sort the bumps (not that we en­coun­tered many), while the body roll is well con­tained. You can switch the dampers be­tween modes via a switch on the end of the in­di­ca­tor wand, but the hard set­ting is too harsh on road. The AWD is set to max­imise trac­tion in this mode and you can get hard on the gas early, the RS shoot­ing from exit to brak­ing point with max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. De­pend­ing on the bend and throt­tle ap­pli­ca­tion, you can feel the push from the rear end help­ing you through the cor­ner, a unique char­ac­ter in a some­what af­ford­able hot hatch. The steer­ing is su­per ac­cu­rate, and im­me­di­ate, let­ting you lock on to the turn-in point while the ex­tra steer­ing heft helps you keep it steady as it loads up in the cor­ner. Round­ing out an all-round per­for­mance, the brakes are strong with a pedal that bites early and feels good. The only is­sue could be tyre roar on our coarse chip high­ways.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.