2016 Ford Focus RS
|Air Date||September 12, 2016|
Clap your hands. Here it is, nerds: Focus RS. Time to review this thing.
"(Slow clap) Oh. Here it is, here it is. Clap your hands like a seal, fanboys. Focus RS. --- INTRO SONG by THE ROMAN Whoa, whoa-oah-oah. Let's hear it for the Ford! --- MONOLOGUE by MR REGULAR The Focus RS is an open-minded varsity wrestler. And its Recaro seats' bolstering arms are holding me by my pelvis. And I trust him. It's... hard to move. I can't move enough to head check my blind spots. I can't move enough to look in the back seat. But it's okay. It's okay, I trust Focus RS. hold me Crank numbers! are a glorious three-fifty double. 350 horse, 350 torque. Pause for a moment and appreciate the 2.3-liter EcoBoost. Remember only two or three years ago when they put it in the Mustang and we all spoke with arms Akimbo, "I dunno, is the world going to accept a four-banger Mustang?" Never mind that they did accept a four-banger Mustang in the early '90s. And you can trace the 2.3-liter EcoBoost genealogy. And when you do you arrive at the 2.3-liter Lima. Yeah, that plucky single-jingle who refused to choke up on the bat and slap a safe infield grounder. No! it Kamehameha swung for the hot parking lot and took turbo boost like a champ. And the 2.3-liter Ecoboost is its grandson. Okay, over there, hey. Ford of Europeland? Hi, what's up, I'm wavin' from Jersey. A-are you getting this message? Can you feel Adam Smith's invisible hand tickling your peat bog bratwurst? We want your products. And, as over-MSRP dealer pricing at launch proved, we will pay - happily - anything to get them. So why did we have to wait for the RS for this long? Everybody in America was Oliver Twist and the Focus ST was yummy but we were all, "Please sir, may I have some more?" "MORE?" And then you held the RS porridge bowl over our heads for four. BLUEBALLED. YEARS. Not that we aren't grateful! Absence makes the dick grow thicker. But now it's time to drive this and please... please... live up to the Duke Nukem hype. --- POV Drive R: That's full throttle... --- YES! Yes, you can believe the hype! ...within the Ideal World of Physics. Remember the Ideal World of Physics? In high school? That wonderful place with no air resistance or variables when all things line up for a simple worksheet? Yeah, I'm a fairy English major and even I could solve those playpen slinky physics problems senior year. Once boost comes on in second gear - and sorry, no boost in first gear for safety or whatever reasons - the ECU nanny states your waste gate and don't worry, somebody'll find a way around that. When the boost comes on the RS rockets forward like a paperclip launched from three rubber bands from the other side of the band room right bulls-eye on the tam tam. IT'S A TAM TAM, IT'S NOT A GONG. (clapping) C'mon Subaru, get it together. Subaru! Ford just made a STI and they made it better than you did. Get it together. Driving position: snug. Clutch: light. Shifter throw: flickable. Turn-in: intuitive. Even high-gear pulls are acceptable. Ride in sixth ge- yeah, I know, sixth gear is nothing more than a highway gas-sipper gear and expect nothing from it. *sniff* Rear visibility: awful. High door sills and a drooping rear roofline means the rear-facing back-up camera- that thing should be on all the time, like a Tesla. Because you can't head check when changing lanes. There's little to see and that's unnerving. You're supposed to use those little mirror extensions, those mirror inserts there, those wide-angle things- they don't work. It's not enough. We have, in 2016, a Ford-designed problem that exists in nearly every car they make now. Even the Mustang. And... and I don't like this, I don't like that you can't see out of the back of Fords these days. And- and the solution is easy. All you have to do is make the multi-function screen be able to constantly show a feed from the rear camera. That's it. I mean, that's what they did with the Tesla, it's a software problem. They could do it, you could do it but Ford isn't doing it. Speaking of software... let's talk about Drift Mode. Drift Mode is a drive train management setting marketed as a tier above Sports Mode. All Drift Mode does is send the majority or maximum amount of power to the rear wheels. That's it, that's all it does. Let's get one thing clear here: Drift Mode doesn't help you drift. The Drift Mode on a Ford Focus RS doesn't help you drift. All it is is a power management setting. And what happened is... well, what happened was Darwinism. Already we've had a few Ford Focus RS crashes from kids trying to drift because they think when they press that button the computer's gonna help them hold slides. It doesn't do that. Yes, traction control is still engaged but it's not magical. Drift Mode doesn't help you drift. All it does is let you drift or set up the conditions where you can induce rear wheel spin. That's all. And as the good Doctor would say, anybody who presses that Drift Mode button and thinks it's gonna turn them into Ken Block or whoever else, you deserve whatever happens to you. And- a- yeah, I know, 70 to 100% to the rear wheels. Blah blah blah. By that logic the Vagabond Falcon has drift mode. IT'S CALLED ALL THE TIME. (Caption: I don't have any footage of the Vagabond Falcon drifting because I couldn't find private property on which to drive like a knucklehead.) And while we're on the subject of 350 horsepower, figure about 310 to the wheel, I know that's still a lot. That's according to the owner, Alfred. He claims the RS gets about 19 miles per gallon. Although he's gotten as much as 27 miles per gallon on a road trip to Maine... eh, that's about it. The Focus RS isn't an economy car anymore, not anymore. The Focus RS was built in Germany on April 18 so it shares a birthday with David Tennant, James Woods, Melissa Joan Hart, Conan O'Brien and Daisy from Angels (sic) of SHIELD. Engineers and designers are beginning to work around the horrible safety standards of 2016. We're finding ways to move the exterior bits of the car around to try to make it look good again and I'm happy for this. But in spite of this there are still a lot of issues that pop up with the Focus RS. For one, the turning radius is TERRIBLE. In fact, it's three feet worse than an Evo. And it makes a *ton* of brake dust due to its weird torque vectoring, although I guess that's more of a nitpick than a dealbreaker. It's- It's an old saying that the more ideal something is, the more the little problems about it will bother you. Like a girlfriend who makes an amazing casserole, doesn't complain about her mother all day and doesn't think handies are an adequate substitute for oral but she's got this annoying laugh like Spongebob Squarepants exploring the hidden worlds of his own PROSTATE. Oh, I need to add, there's no spare tire here either. Just Fix-a-Flat. It's also got far less trunk space than the Focus ST and the bolsters on the seat are too high. So it's a pain in the ass to get in and out of this thing. And maybe I'm just getting older but lumbar support is starting to become important. While Recaro seats are great, I can't fight the feeling that this car is going to leave my spine looking like a maze on the back of a children's dinner menu. Alfred gets a lot of heckling from guys in Evos who thinks (sic) he spent too much money on this. But that's kind of like throwing stones at glass double wides. Because those guys spent at least as much on modifications if not more. From an aesthetic standpoint... m'yeah. It's a handsome car. But there is RS badging all over this thing, like a pox. It's as if Ford couldn't bear the thought of people mistaking this for an STI or a Civic Type R. But hey, aesthetic and reliability means a lot to Alfred. He took it on a, uh, 1,700-mile road trip with his family from Virginia to Carlisle to New York City to Connecticut right up to Maine and back so it's not that surprising that none of these issues are dealbreakers for him. He has no plans to mod it. At all. Outside of getting a rear differential cooler once Ford puts one out. This is a man with a family so he needs something he can rely upon. And he can rely upon the RS. And if you're a family man, here's how to convince... 'The Team'... that an RS is good for the family. And it's the same thinking that went into the Focus ST. But this is a little bit different because the price point is higher than the Focus ST. What you need to do to convince your significant other that a Focus RS is "yes, that's good" is to do the old office politic trope of offering your boss two choices, one to accept and one to reject. First, you go CRAZY for the Mustang GT350. You rave about it. You go to dealerships and start looking at 'em. And your wife - sexist joke - is gonna go, "Oh no, no no no, you're gonna die, you're gonna kill the family and I'm gonna FUCK YOUR BROTHER." But you just power through that. You come home with brochures. You set the desktop wallpaper to a GT350, that's what you do. You get a Mustang keychain and put it on the keys for your Grand Am. EVERYTHING MUSTANG ALL THE TIME. And then as the cherry topping you pull yourself around the house just saying, "MUSTANG MUSTANG MUSTANG MUSTANG." And then, when you think she can't take it any more, you test drive an RS. And you take her with you. And then suddenly the RS looks amazing because you're not buying the death machine anymore. Ah, you found a good compromise, didn't ya? Yep, sporty five-door hatchback. You win. But then again, maybe I'm going about all this the wrong way. Why should marriage be a contest in the first place? It's like I'm Will Hunting looking at Robin Williams' painting of the guy in the sea and saying, very flatly, "You married the wrong woman." Oh, this got deep real quick, didn't it? "This is my dream car," Alfred told us. "I know it sounds funny because it's a hatchback but I wanted something I could share with my family. Some guys use their cars to get away from their family but I didn't want to keep things separate from them. I wanted to share things I love with them. And I get to do that with this." I know a lot of people use cars to escape, to retreat into solitude. But every car show you go to, every forum you post in, every subreddit and YouTube channel that gets your subscription - those are communities. And they have people in them. Real human beings who share a love for something. A love that can be hard to communicate with others who might not understand. Why wouldn't you want to share that? Sharing something you love with other people. It might not be all there is to life, but a lot of times it's the best thing there is to life. --- OUTRO SONG by THE ROMAN Another Ford Focus is kinda nice, But the Fords I like are the Fords like mine, When you're catchin' hell Ford puts someone to love it anyway, anyway, But what kind of person needs self esteem, When you just purchased a Focus to fulfill your dream, You don't need another person just to tell you that your car's okay, 'Oy' in Spanish means 'today'.