I wanted to post a review for all those guys who won’t really mod the car too much, or will be using it as a daily driver and may have concerns. I thought about all the early reviews I read in 2016 from various automotive media outlets who all raved about the car and their test drives on a track or a nice back road and thinking that these review all really just said the same thing over and over and didn’t give me any real world data.
Before I launch into the real world data, I want to offer some background on myself to help give context to the review. I am 47, married with 2 kids, 6’ 2”, 230lbs, broad shoulders, on a budget and I am unlikely to track this car (blasphemy, I know). In the late 90’s and early 2000’s I was driving a mildly upgraded (bolt on’s) 97 Integra GSR. This car was a lot of fun to drive even though it wasn’t really that fast (smooth revs to 9000, what?!?!?) and I could put my family in the backseat and use the hatch to load the groceries or gym bag or whatever. I had always wanted a faster car but for some reason (read budget for minivan) never got into the WRX or the Evo and for budgetary reasons never got something more expensive. For the last ten years I have been driving a minivan, cr-v, accord and an 07 jag type s. All automatics and fairly dull.
So, along came the RS and I thought to myself, this is it. This is a car that costs roughly the same as my Honda Odyssey, can fit my family and still offer the performance to make it a really fun daily driver. I was concerned about fitting in the car, I was concerned that maybe it wouldn’t really be that fast or agile since I hadn’t test driven one and all the hype reviews felt more like advertisements than real data. Regardless, I placed an order in May (MY17, Frozen White (I don’t like the flake in the toothpaste blue color), RS2 package, forged wheels and a moon roof) and the car arrived this week. 200 miles in, having commuted and run errands all week, I want to offer my impression for all those average Joe’s who might have similar situations.
When I saw the car for the first time at the dealership, it was siting under the work bay lights and frankly, it took my breath away. I was exiting the dealership building and just stopped and immediately I grinned like an idiot. I think now that all the drama of negotiating/dealing with the sales people and waiting for the car combined with how utterly awesome the car looked right then just blew my mind.
Because of the way the deal worked out, I already had my license plates from the DMV so I spent the next few minutes installing the rear plate. Then because the service bay was closed for the day the dealership they couldn’t install the front plate and I would have to come back. If you are married and your wife doesn’t understand why you don’t want to install the front plate….ever, this will help you. Pick up the car after the service bay is closed. This gives you time to own the car without the front plates and conveniently forget to go back to the dealership
In every car I drive, I have to move the seat all the way back, lower the seat to the lowest setting, etc. to get comfortable. I was worried I would have to do this in the RS as well which would make it impossible for someone to sit behind me. I also read reviews where the driver did not like the way the seats place you in the car and took some getting used to. I have also read the recent review where the guy didn’t fit into the seat due to his size. For me, this was the first car I did not move the seat all the way back. The way the seat supports my legs and because the clutch has a long throw, I needed to sit closer and I am comfortable sitting closer. This was a huge win for me because it means the whole family can fit in the car and be comfortable. The bolsters on the seat are very tight for me. I completely fill the seat with my hips and shoulders. I like this feeling of total support, but it means I need to take a moment to place myself into the seat, there is no quick entry and go for me. So the interior is tight for me, but not overly so. I like everything else about the interior, the controls are all easily reachable and adjustable and I can see what I need to see to commute safely. I will say that I cannot wear a jacket or coat and fit in the seat. Luckily I live in a mild climate so this isn’t a problem.
Prior to picking up the care, I watched a youtube video titled, “The SECRET fifth drive mode” (
) and didn’t fully understand why the reviewer needed it until I had driven the car on normal streets and highways. I like the engine to be in track or sport mode for full power and the much heavier steering input, but I do not like the suspension in these modes and I generally want the traction control engaged for daily driving (and tire wear). The suspension is super tight, I feel everything when driving in normal mode. The suspension in sport and track modes is ridiculously tight, to the point where the driver is bouncing up and down constantly on normal streets. I am not exaggerating here, my wife and I could not have a conversation because the jittering was so bad. We both just ended up stuttering instead of talking. So, now I put the car in track mode, set the dampening to normal and re-engage the traction control for my normal driving. Its a bit of pain to get all the settings done every time you want to go for a drive or just go get the milk at the grocery store but I think its minor compared to the enjoyment of the driving experience.
Fake engine noise:
This thread (http://www.focusrs.org/forum/30-foc...abling-fake-synthetic-cabin-engine-noise.html
) tells you how to disable the in cabin, piped in, fake engine noise. I highly recommend you do it immediately for two reasons. Number one, for me the droning of the sound was too loud and got bothersome after while. Number two, it overpowered the audio system and made listening to a pod cast or music less enjoyable. In my opinion, you don’t need the fake engine noise and the fact that the car interior is decently quiet is awesome for daily driving.
Driving home from the dealership:
Since I am being honest here I will admit that I stalled the car when exiting in the dealership…I just hadn’t used a clutch is so long and wasn’t sure exactly where in the long throw the engagement kicked in. Anyway, super embarrassing, my wife still jokes about it and probably will for the next 3 years. Afterward, I figured it out and got accustomed to the clutch and put the poop eating grin back on my face as I mostly ignored the break in period warning. Car was in normal mode and the steering was way too sensitive on a street with any real speed or acceleration. The car is crazy fast, as in I would have to be out of my mind to go any faster or try to accelerate any quicker.
Using the secret 5th mode (track setting, normal dampening, traction control re-engaged) the care is a super fun to drive. I was worried that with all the bumper to bumper traffic managing the clutch would become bothersome, but it has not. The handling is so tight and clean that just turning left or right puts the grin back on my face every time. I have found that the driving errands I loathed are now opportunities to drive the RS and I look forward to them. Total game changer.
At this point, I can’t imagine making the car faster. I can’t really handle all it has now. That may/will probably change in the future once I have more time behind the wheel, but for now I don’t plan to change the performance. As for aesthetics, I want to do two things, buy a carbon fiber hood with the air vents and get inlay stickers for the RS lettering on the spoiler. I think its lame that they are white. Check out “Sleepers build thread” (http://www.focusrs.org/forum/53-focus-rs-builds/12025-sleepers-build-thread.html
) for the hood and I bought the inlay stickers from DMB graphics. I got the nitrous blue to match the brake calipers and other logos on the car, but for a while I was considering the carbon fiber.
Sorry for the crappy pic, its been raining here so I can’t exactly go out and figure out a good scene and I work all day so its dark when I am outside anyway.
I love this car. It has made driving a pleasure for me again. It was totally worth the hassle and waiting to get it.