Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS, front action
Ford Focus RS, front action 2
Ford Focus RS, side static
Ford Focus RS, rear action 2
Ford Focus RS, moody street lighting
Ford Focus RS, full front action
Ford Focus RS, side action
Ford Focus RS, rear action
Ford Focus RS, dashboard
Ford Focus RS, boot

THE new Ford Focus RS is not just a hot hatch - it is a four-wheel-drive 345bhp monster that delivers supercar pace and power for family car money.

It is a real bargain and drives right to the top of the hot hatch tree.

Pound for pound few cars on the road can match it and it really is a supercar you can use every day.

It looks great, sounds fabulous as well as being affordable and isalmost as practical as any other Focus.

It 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 bythe 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 four-wheel 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 flat-bottomed steering wheel, alloy pedals and the RS blue 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.

Costing from £31,000 the RS is magnificent value for money and has no serious rivals at that price. You can add a luxury pack for another £1,000 and most buyers will opt to include it as well as the stunning Nitrous Blue colour scheme.

FAST FACTS

Ford Focus RS

Price:£31,000

Mechanical:345bhp, 2,298cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:165mph

0-62mph:4.7 seconds

Combined MPG:36.7

Insurance Group:40

C02 emissions:175g/km

Bik rating:30%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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