IT’S amazing how much fun you can have with 2.3 litres of petrol engine at the command of your right foot.
And Ford is doing plenty to ensure that buyers get a really interesting time behind the wheel with the 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine as, in the right circumstances, it can be a real blast in the Focus RS.
Take advantage of all this motor has to offer in this latest RS, for instance, and you can choose between normal, sport, racetrack, and drift settings for its software.
It brings exhaust popping exhilaration that sounds brilliant even at 50mph and slowing down because that’s when it gets the soundtrack of a supercar to create a brilliant feeling.
This is one of those motors you drive with the windows down, even on a cold day, when the surroundings let you bounce the sound off a hedge, wall or tunnel.
In the old days, RS meant a loss of practicality. You could have your bewinged sporty motor that looked like a family car but with only three doors it was invariably less convenient than might be totally useful.
However, this Focus RS is a five door so making good use of the back seats is easy. Most families these days prefer the convenience of a five door car so it’s easier to secure the kids and, let’s face it, there’s no good reason why the kids shouldn’t enjoy your sporty motor. At the same time, their presence in the back will discourage your hooligan tendencies and help protect your licence.
This is, after all, a car with about 350bhp and 347lb ft of torque at an extremely relaxed 2,000rpm.
No longer do you have to scream a performance engine up to the rev limiter to wring the best out of it when it comes to urge, although with maximum output delivered at 6,000 rpm you can be forgiven for letting the horses have free rein from time to time. After all, the top speed is 165mph, where such things are legal, and the 0-62mph time a mere 4.7 seconds.
Planting the power on the road is an all-wheel drive system that ensures consistent handling characteristics. Early RS cars, wearing the Escort badge well over 40 years ago, were rear drive models that could give their drivers a wild time. But modern road conditions don’t allow for such behaviour and 21st century drivers need to know that their performance car can cope with the more crowded roads.
Modern tyre technology helps, of course, but 4×4 gives the belt and braces combination for maximum enjoyment and safety.
Time was when high powered cars like this came with an equally high-powered and extrovert exterior. These days, most owners want a car that’s more discreet although the Focus RS can be accessorised to emphasise its character.
Distinctive colour schemes are one of the easiest and most effective methods, with the Focus RS offering buyers some discreet or more obvious choices that are exclusive to the model.
No matter which approach you favour to having a blast, with a combined fuel consumption of 36.7mpg the car should avoid driving a big hole through your motoring budget especially as the list price of £31,250 on the road means it’s not a rank outsider in price terms.
Equally at home in the world of supermarket trolleys or supercar line-ups, the Focus RS is a sheer delight.
Maurice and Annette Hardy
Car: Ford Focus RS 2.3 EcoBoost
Does it fit your ego:
0-62mph: 4.7 secs
Top speed: 165mph
Bhp: 350 @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 347lb ft @ 2000 rpm
…and your wallet…
CO2 emissions: 175g/km
Best bits: makes life a blast again.