From the moment the Recaros embrace your hindquarters, you know this isn’t just any Focus
This year was no different. We hopped off the plan in Charlotte, North Carolina, and into a car we have loved from the start. Rather than dreading a lame econobox rental machine, we were about to score more seat time in Ford’s hottest hatch — a 2016 Focus RS.
While our own Kelly Getz daily’s an RS, this writer doesn’t have one in the driveway, but we have spent time in the 350-horsepower, all-wheel-drive EcoBoost fun machine on the street and on the track, but we are never going to turn down a refresher course.
From the moment the Recaros embrace your hindquarters, you know this isn’t just any Focus. If you’ve spent any time in a base Focus or event he sporty Focus ST, the RS is familiar, but things are a big heightened. The Recaros are grippier, the shifter sharper, and when you push the start button, the exhaust burble is more robust.
Hitting The Road
It is once the car starts rolling that you really know this is Ford’s hottest hatch. We immediately adjust the driving mode to sport and enjoy the brisk acceleration and heightened handling it has to offer. The steering is so much quicker than even our own Focus ST daily that it really makes the RS feel like a grown-up go-kart.
The RS easily carves up traffic, accelerates to pass, and does it in a way that makes things fun. The ride is taut, but if you’ve lived with performance cars it’s what you expect. It is in those sweeping turn and corkscrew on-ramps that the RS’ all-wheel drive digs the Michelins into the pavement and pulls you around the arc like a boomerang.
With that sort of propulsion, we arrived in Myrtle Beach just in time to attend the annual Meet ’N Greet at Broadway at the Beach and were immediately surrounded by Mustangs. The RS holds its own in the Ford pantheon and we saw a few other hot hatches during the week, so we didn’t feel too out of place rocking the Stealth Gray EcoBoost machine in the midst all those pony cars.
In fact, for the purposes of covering the annual event, having a hatchback was immensely helpful for hauling our camera gear and refreshments around from event to event. It was particularly helpful at Myrtle Beach Speedway for the Autocross and Fun Runs, where it rained on and off, and we had to stash our camera quickly
Eventually, the rain won. As we made our escape over the track and into the exit line, we found out that the RS definitely gets respect from other Ford fans.
“Hey, nice car,” someone shouted as we crawled along in the line of cars leaving the track. Obviously, we replied in kind, but know that our hands would only grip the thick RS steering wheel for just a few days, it did incite a brief flash of sadness. We resolved to enjoy the hot hatch as much as we could for the next several days, and we did.
However, our trip was cut short due to hurricane Irma’s pending arrival, so we didn’t get the chance to drive the Focus RS as much, nor take as many photos as we would have liked. In the end, several days in the RS just reaffirmed how much we enjoy the car, but it still didn’t convince us that it was so great that we needed to replace our nearly paid off Focus ST, but we have to say it’s tempting…