Fire breath­ing hatch

Rutherglen Reformer - - Motors -

It is im­pos­si­ble to buy any other car that can match the Ford Fo­cus RS for the same money.

For the new Ford Fo­cus RS is not just a hot hatch - it is a four-wheel-drive 345bhp su­per­car that de­liv­ers blis­ter­ing per­for­mance for fam­ily car money.

It is a real bar­gain and for me sits right at the top of the hot hatch tree.

With its wild looks, stun­ning per­for­mance and supreme han­dling, you would have to spend at least ten grand more to try and match it and even then you would have a very lim­ited choice.

It is a mega hatch that looks great, sounds fab­u­lous as well as be­ing af­ford­able and is al­most as prac­ti­cal as any other Fo­cus.

It has the firepower to de­feat any of its ri­vals, is well built and has bags of kit and its tur­bocharged en­gine packs huge punch and makes all the right noises.

The only down­side is that you will have so much fun it could do se­ri­ous harm to your li­cence and fuel bill.

This is the third Fo­cus to sport the RS badge and it is pow­ered by the same 2.3-litre EcoBoost en­gine that features in the com­pany’s Mus­tang mus­cle car, but it has been tuned even fur­ther to de­liver even more power.

With 345bhp on tap the fastest ever RS model sprints to 62mph in just 4.7 sec­onds and thun­ders on to an im­pres­sive 165mph.

And thanks to its clever four­wheel drive sys­tem you can keep it in a straight line.

It looks mean from any an­gle and other mo­torists are in­stantly aware that the RS is no or­di­nary Fo­cus.

It stands out thanks to a huge grille with matt black sur­round, a front split­ter, mus­cu­lar and bulging wheel arches and a sub­stan­tial tail­gate spoiler that helps to keep it glued to the road.

Large 19-inch al­loy wheels and twin tailpipes help to cre­ate a rally car look but all the de­sign features have pur­pose.

The in­te­rior is also pretty im­pres­sive with body-hug­ging Re­caro sports seats, a new flat­bot­tomed steer­ing wheel, al­loy ped­als and the RS colour scheme.

You also get an extra bank of gauges and Ford’s SYNC con­nec­tiv­ity sys­tem which pro­vides ac­cess to au­dio, sat nav, cli­mate con­trol and mo­bile phones via voice con­trol or the eight-inch colour touch­screen and the Sony 10-speaker sound sys­tem.

Wedged into the Re­caro seats you can then se­lect from a num­ber of drive modes. Th­ese in­clude Nor­mal and Sport as well as Track and Drift which are de­signed to turn the fun up an­other notch.

If on the other hand you are not in the mood, the RS will cope with ev­ery­day mo­tor­ing. Yes the ride is firm but it is not harsh enough to make you wish you had set­tled for a lesser Fo­cus.

The RS will al­ways at­tract at­ten­tion be­cause of its ma­cho looks and dis­tinc­tive sound­track but it is happy enough to go about its busi­ness within the speed lim­its.

But when you do de­cide to have some fun it is mag­nif­i­cent. Choose your drive mode and then make full use of the slick six-speed man­ual gear­box to push it to your limit.

If you re­ally want a quick get­away, there is a launch con­trol but­ton to help you man­age it. You would need to be on a track day to fully ap­pre­ci­ate all of the driv­ing modes and that is where you will need to go if you re­ally want to play hard safely.

Oth­er­wise you will just have to en­joy the fan­tas­tic per­for­mance, steer­ing and brak­ing as best you can on nor­mal roads.

If you be­have your­self you still won’t get near the claimed 36.7mpg fig­ure but I av­er­aged just un­der 28mpg which is not bad for a car of this sub­stance.

The stan­dard RS costs £32,265 to put on the road and you can add a lux­ury pack for a fur­ther £1,000 that will give you pow­er­fold door mir­rors, rear park­ing sen­sors, a key free sys­tem, cruise con­trol with speed lim­iter and pri­vacy glass.

An­other £325 buys the win­ter pack with heated front seats and steer­ing wheel and £200 more gets you Ac­tive City Stop. If you want a sun­roof it will cost you £575.

This is the best RS yet and you would have to spend con­sid­er­ably more cash to find anything that would even come close to match­ing it.

£32,265 345bhp, 2,298cc, 4cyl petrol en­gine driv­ing four wheels via 6-speed man­ual gear­box 165mph 4.7 sec­onds 36.7 In­sur­ance group: 40 175g/km 30% 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

Hot stuff The Fo­cus RS de­liv­ers blis­ter­ing road per­for­mance

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