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Test Drive: 2016 Ford Focus Rs

This is a discussion on Test Drive: 2016 Ford Focus Rs within the News forums, part of the Site News category; by Kevin Harrison, 30 December 2016 Ford should give owners of Focus RSís unlimited access to their corporate legal teams, or in the very least ...

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Thread: Test Drive: 2016 Ford Focus Rs

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    Test Drive: 2016 Ford Focus Rs

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    by Kevin Harrison, 30 December 2016

    Ford should give owners of Focus RSís unlimited access to their corporate legal teams, or in the very least a prepaid X-Copper gift card. This car will cost you your license in no time. I drove a Nitrous Blue 2016 in November when the temperature was hovering around 9 degrees. The test car was wearing the stock Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, which are fiercely sticky and marvelous summer only tires; but the weather had somewhat limited their grip. Ford supplies every RS with a set of mounted winter tires at no extra charge as part of the standard equipment which comes with every available option. The only option you can have any say in is colour.

    There has been an overabundance of hype surrounding this car. The excitement is partially brought on by the fact that we have been hearing rumors of ultra-high strung hot- hatches for decades without ever be able to sample them. Finally Ford has made a global version that even the stringent North American rules have allowed, and gear heads are barely able to contain ourselves. But with so much excitement the potential for disappointment is almost overwhelming. Can the RS really be as good as rumoured, or were the Europeans just toying with us?

    Exterior

    There is not much separating the Focus line in terms of styling. The RS builds on the performance oriented looks of the ST with a slightly more aggressive body kit. The first feature I noticed was the larger air intakes in the front end; then the functional rear wing and a bulkier squatter stance. Other highlights include vertical fog lights and a front splitter that may come in handy for clearing snow. It is far more attractive than a Subaru STi, but what isn`t? And a Volkswagen Golf R cannot increase an onlookerís heart rate but the RS does. I am still not sure if that is due to styling or the hype that has surrounded this car for so long. Whatever the case, the RS will draw stares, especially in the ďover here officer, Iím the one youíre looking forĒ blue.

    The headlights are adaptive and quickly shine their light in the direction the tires are pointed, which is more necessity than convenience at the kind of pace ground can be covered. The ultra-sticky 235/35ZR19 Michelin tires wrap unique wheels which do their best not to interfere with your view of the large 4 piston Brembo brakes. The blue calipers are more than just a gimmick, these binders scrub speed like a tail-hook on an airplane.

    Interior

    Even less has been done to differentiate the RS from even a base Focus. Plastics are a grainy as ever, the dash design is function over form and you will question the sanity of paying $50K for a Focus. You do get the same secondary gauge cluster found in the ST mounted atop the dash to show you boost pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature. The biggest change is the Recaro seats that envelop you so tightly that it will begin to hurt after a while. Blue stitching on the flat bottom steering wheel, seats, e-brake handle and floor mats is used to keep things sporty. RS badges adorn the steering wheel, seats and scuff plates, just in case you forget what you are driving. The rest is pure Focus meaning you have numerous buttons and knobs, SYNC3 and a handy amount of easily accessed cargo space. You can actually fit all of your groceries in the hatch and the 60/40 folding seats open up endless cargo possibilities. I had 4 full grown adults seated in relative comfort, a 5th would have been pushing it.

    Under The Hood

    Any thoughts that the RS is just a slightly altered ST disappear as soon as you fire it up. The soundtrack is raucous and raw. Think of it as a muffled rally car, it even pops and burbles on overrun, a phenomenon I found myself unable to resist exploiting at every opportunity. Power comes from the 2.3L Ecoboost found in the Mustang, however, the RS version has been unleashed to develop 350 hp and 350 lb.ft of torque. This extra oomph comes courtesy of a massive turbo, an even larger intercooler, stronger cylinder liners and an enhanced cylinder head.

    All of that power is transferred through a slick and quick shifting 6-speed manual transmission with a stronger clutch that never felt overpowered even when Launch Control was used. The party piece has to be the remarkable AWD system that uses torque vectoring to send up to 70% of the torque to rear axle and then send all of that to either rear tire. What this means is the RS will exit a corner far faster than you may expect is possible from a FWD based car. If you felt a bit of understeer, in theory all you would need to do is press the throttle harder and the AWD would send more power to the outside rear tire. This has the effect of speeding up that tire and forcing the car back to your preferred line of travel. The front wheels are also controlled, but in place of torque the system relies on brake application to keep things in check.

    On The Road

    The Ecoboost engine is amazing. While it does exhibit a touch of turbo lag, all is forgiven once it spools up and a wave of torque presses you into the Recaroís. Keep the revs above 3,000 and you will never have to wait for power; the car lunges at the slightest throttle pressure egging you on. Driving on my favorite backroads the RS, with the suspension set to Normal, was an absolute blast. Every corner was rewarding, and the harder I pushed the better the car felt. The same run in Sport was even better, but as soon as I started to drive in a normal manner things became uncomfortable.

    At speed the car is a hero, but a normal pace in anything other than Normal is punishing. The suspension has already been made stiffer than the ST, by adding stiffer springís front and rear, 33% stiffer up front and 38% out back. By selecting a firmer damper setting a paved rural road begins to feel like a bombed out run way. In Track things are unbearable, the car jiggles and jolts you so harshly that after 10 minutes you feel like you went 3 rounds with an MMA fighter. Normal and Sport are the only modes that you can reasonably use on public roads; Track and Drift really are for track use only.

    The steering is sharp with immediate almost telepathic response. A slight twitch of the wrist can alter your direction of travel. The handling is so rewarding that I found myself always taking the longer route in search of twisty sections of tarmac. My foot always found the floor when exiting a bend and not once did the car exhibit either under or oversteer. Due to the cooler temperatures I dared not test out the Drift mode, nor was I able to even come close to reaching the limits of the RSís abilities. I would need a warm summer day and a track to do that and I still may not be able to.

    Fuel Consumption

    Anytime you add a massive turbo to any engine fuel economy will suffer. If you are concerned about saving money on fuel buy a hybrid. The RS is a rally car slightly detuned for street use and will therefore consume more than its fair share of Premium gas. According to the Natural Resources Canada guide the official numbers are 12.1/9.3/10.1 L/100km City/Highway/Combined. On the highway on a flat section at a steady 100km/h I briefly glimpsed 8.8L/100km, then I remembered what I was in and the foot went to the floor, fuel mileage be damned. In 250 kmís I burned ĺ of a tank. Driven hard you could probably watch the fuel gauge drop if you were brave enough to take your eyes off the road. So a green machine this is not, it is exactly as advertised a fuel guzzling beast.

    Conclusion

    Breathe a sigh of relief because it wasnít just hype The RS is ridiculously capable and quick; a wild beast of a thing that will thrill drivers and terrify passengers.. It is unbelievable that a car based on the FWD Ford Focus can be this good. It can be a track day monster while still being civilised just enough to take on the school run. Use as a daily driver may be stretch. By the end of the week I was sore and stiff, perhaps this was exaggerated by past injury but even my passengers found the ride punishing once the thrill wore off. It would make for the ultimate weekend car though. If I had $50K to spend on a toy, there is nothing else I would consider after driving this. Owning one would be like marrying a dominatrix, sure it urges you to be naughty, but after a few hours you are sore in odd places.

    Price as tested: $50,664

    Pros:

    Breath taking handling
    How can a Focus be so good?
    The soundtrack
    Comes standard with a set if winter tires and rims
    A beast of an engine

    Cons:

    Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tires are costly to replace
    Driven in a fun way tire life will be short
    Punitive ride and uncomfortable seating after an hour or so
    Drinks like a fish

    Immediate Competition:

    Subaru Impreza WRX STi
    Volkswagen Golf R

    https://haligonia.ca/test-drive-2016...cus-rs-177795/
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    Supporting Member wrecklass's Avatar
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    What? Is it true that the RS in Canada comes with only a color option and winter tires for no extra? I mean I guess I can understand the winter tires for the folks up north, but he talked as if the RS2 option was included at the base price, which my calculator puts around US$37,500.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrecklass View Post
    What? Is it true that the RS in Canada comes with only a color option and winter tires for no extra? I mean I guess I can understand the winter tires for the folks up north, but he talked as if the RS2 option was included at the base price, which my calculator puts around US$37,500.
    That is correct only option in canada is nitrous blue $995 extra.full load only with winter tires and car cover.

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Size:  648.7 KB here is my window sticker,add gst tax and pst tax and ext warranty total price $60.101.65 Canadian.quite a bit of pocket money

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    I don't have a problem with the stiffness of the suspension, and I would not even go as far to say it was that stiff! Maybe I am just used to aftermarket suspensions on previous cars that are less than soft?

    As for the fuel consumption......that only comes down to how eager I am with the loud pedal. So far in the first 1000 klm's of ownership I am averaging about 10litres per 100klm....less than I had in my MY11 WRX.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sikmrex View Post
    I don't have a problem with the stiffness of the suspension, and I would not even go as far to say it was that stiff! Maybe I am just used to aftermarket suspensions on previous cars that are less than soft?

    As for the fuel consumption......that only comes down to how eager I am with the loud pedal. So far in the first 1000 klm's of ownership I am averaging about 10litres per 100klm....less than I had in my MY11 WRX.

    Totally agree, in the 'softer' mode the suspension is far from stiff, from my first impressions to now, the suspension is more than comfortable and is in no way what I call stiff suspension!

    My fuel consumption is floating in the low 10's(Not that I care at all, it uses what it uses) What does amaze me is just how good it is on fuel when you are just cruising around.
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    What dealership is allowing test drives?


    Sent from me using some bull****

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    RS Senior Member VizJedi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xesvuli420 View Post
    What dealership is allowing test drives?
    I was able to get a test drive in July at my local dealer. (Jack Schmidt Ford- Collinsville, IL) I had been working with the internet salesperson since January and they said they would call when they had one in. They called and I ran down and put about 10 miles on it. Very fun drive and confirmed it was what I wanted. The disappointing part is, when I went in to order one (the one I drove wasn't like I was wanting), they gave me a BS story about the 2017s being sold out and I would have to take one of their pre-ordered allocations (also not anything like I wanted). A week later, I had an order the way I wanted at a different dealer. The best part is, the pre-ordered allocation at my first dealer was built 10 days before mine and will likely be on the same boat as mine. It's too bad my local dealer decided to be a ****. I've bought 3 trucks from them, but no more.
    ScottST1 likes this.
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    Well consider yourself very very very very very very lucky, because as far as I know everybody in here that talks about test driving is full of ****. But of course it is a forum, and it is on the Internet and some of the people here dont have the means to buy, even though they claim to have 3 supercars and 2 RS's. have you got a Vin yet?

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    RS Senior Member Lefty04LevelII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xesvuli420 View Post
    What dealership is allowing test drives?
    I'm parroting myself, but:

    I came from a 2004 Ford Ranger with FX4 Level II off-road package that has it's suspension modded to:
    -Race Car Dynamics' 5.5 inch torsion bar to coilover suspension kit
    -Fox 2.0 shocks all around, with front running remote res and 650# hypercoil springs
    -Rear: OEM 2.5in rear lift blocks deleted via 2.5in lift Deaver leaf springs
    -OEM 31x10.50x15 BFG ATs on 15x7 Alcoas swapped to 33x10.5x15 BFG AT KO2 on 15x8 Eagle Alloys

    I've never driven anything more powerful than the above ranger (has the 4.0 SOHC in it, no engine mods - yet). I walked into my dealer on Nov 5, simply to just look at any STs and compare them in-person to my wife's 2013 5-spd Focus SE hatch. No intention to test drive and didn't. Before leaving the house I checked dealer inventory to see they happened to have 3 RS'. My wife and I did our thing on Nov 5, merely looking and no test drive. On the way home she looked at me and said let's go back next weekend to see if we can test drive both an ST and RS. I promptly agreed, but then also informed her that per the forums and other sources I'd heard that an RS test drive would most likely not be an option. She said fine, if we can't test drive we can't get. I said nothing in return.

    Nov 12 we arrive, salesman recognizes us from the previous weekend. We state our interest in doing a test drive of both the ST and RS. He winced at the mention of the RS. He said he'd check with his manager on the RS and would get the ST rolling to front so we can drive. I politely and plainly stated to him that the ST was strictly a test drive as they did not have an ST with the package or color I wanted. We provided the necessary background info for a test drive. While that was being ran he also got a credit and background check going on both of us. Cleared on the driver license side, we did the ST test drive. I mentioned during that test drive that neither myself nor my wife have ever driven anything regularly over the HP of my ranger. My wife has drive F-250s and -350s for Los Alamos National Lab when she was a student employee, but that's a whole other beast. I also stated the test drives were greatly hinged upon which vehicle we ultimately went with and that our number crunching allowed us flexibility to go either way - SOLELY dependent upon test drive or drives... We returned from the ST test drive, salesman spoke with manager, we were cleared to test drive the RS based upon our credit and background checks. I got into my RS with 6 miles on the odometer and took it home with 12 miles.

    I CANNOT state this enough, had I not been able to test drive the RS then I'd currently be waiting for a 2017 ST or possibly would have taken my money back to the drawing board to decide on what other cars/trucks might have been of interest.

    I don't have 3 supercars, and even though my Ranger loves to hate me, I do have 3 super "cars" in my 04' Ranger, '13 Focus 5-spd hatch SE, and my '16 NB RS.
    Last edited by Lefty04LevelII; 01-01-2017 at 09:24 PM. Reason: typos

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