There are a couple cars that automotive journalists cling to each year. In 2016, the Ford Focus RS was that car. Everyone had their “hot take” on the car that jumped the pond. While I maybe late to the party, I figured I’d throw my hat in the ring.
The 2016 Ford Focus RS has a 2.3L turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine and six speed manual transmission. The 2.3 is a fine engine, and drives like any other boosted four: no power at the bottom and all the power at the top. The engine is a part of the “Ecoboost” family of engines, offering fuel efficiency at the bottom end for cruising, and high boost up top for passing and acceleration. This is the same engine found in the Mustang and Ranger. The six speed is firm and engaging, and that’s all I can ask for from a modern stick shift. Manual is the only transmission option for the RS trim level. With the engine and transmission out of the way, the RS has one more party trick up its sleeve: all wheel drive. Unlike it’s younger sibling the Focus ST, the RS is all wheel drive, minimizing nonsense when pulling away from stoplights. The all-wheel drive system isn’t perfect, but I believe it’s the one thing keeping the RS’s head above water. Without it, the car is really just a Focus ST with an engine that’s a hair larger.
The interior is decent, but nothing popped out at me. For the price, I get it. My only complaint is with the seats. Now, this is a unique complaint since I am a larger man than most. The seats are harsh and uncomfortable, and it’s the bolsters fault. The seats were seemingly designed for a one-hundred-and-twenty-pound boy racer. The bolsters are high and tight, which is great if you’re just ending your month long hunger strike. For me, I sat more on the seats than in them: which is not comfortable.
The RS is a sporty hatch back, but that’s nothing new in today’s market. What makes it stand out is the all-wheel-drive. As a package, the RS is incredible fun. I just couldn’t see myself daily driving a car that is so uncomfortable to sit in.
Watch my video review: