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Focus RS mk3 review


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So I've had the RS for a month now and thought I would share my initial thoughts and opinions good and bad about this much anticipated car. This thread will only be for my on-going thoughts and opinions rather than any mods or other upgrades that I complete. If you are interested in those please see my other thread Philf1's Nitrous Blue Focus RS.

This is my daily driver so it has to be able to do everything any other car can do as well as having the performance abilities the RS is best known for.

In my first month of ownership I have covered just over 1200 miles of totally reliable driving. The car has not missed a beat once. I have driven a mixture of roads, motorway, A roads and country B roads. All have been handled impeccably. The steering is very precise point it where you want it to go and that is exactly where you end up. Acceleration is savage, when required, but more than able to be driven sensibly in built up areas. It's almost like having two cars in one.

The ride is really comfortable compared to my previous car, the Fiesta ST with Mountune 215 power upgrade, in normal mode. Power is put down well no drama in any gear and brakes are quite amazing. The standard seats certainly help in the comfort area as well as being heated which isn't an option on the Shell seats. However put the car in Sport mode and the it is transformed into something quite different. Throttle response is quicker, steering stiffens as does the ride, quite considerably and more like the Fiesta. The throttle response is so sharp that you have to take extra care in town driving. The stiffer suspension makes for far better cornering than normal mode but can be switched back to normal ride whilst still retaining sport acceleration and steering. Sport mode also gives you the infamous pops and crackles from the exhaust, always fun when unsuspecting pedestrians are around, or in tunnels.

The cabin is a good place to be. Not very much different to any other Focus except for the flat bottom steering wheel with RS logo and blue stitching. However everything is there in easy reach and familiar to any Ford driver. I was fortunate enough to get Sync 3 due to delivery delays and I'm please with that. From all accounts it seems to be better than Sync 2. The large touch screen display is clear and relatively easy to navigate and set up. Sound system, I have Sony Speakers and sub-woofer in the boot, is clear and good quality. DAB reception is as good as the signal so a bit hit and miss, I use a mini usb for my own music and sometimes my iPhone as well, all are good. and the display shows not only track information but a the album cover for the track being played. The sat nav is straight forward and includes 3D rendering in town centres. Also displays the current speed limit and has speed camera locations and warnings, very useful. Directions are clear if sometimes a little close to the actual junctions. I previously used tomtom and don't think this Ford system is as good but it is certainly capable.

All the instruments are well laid out and clear. The heating is extremely efficient getting warm really quick even on the coldest mornings. Auto lights are good but not convinced about the auto wipers yet. I've not really found a satisfactory setting for the sensitivity yet. The bi-xenon headlights are very good. Excellent beam pattern that adjust dependent on external conditions they also feature an adaptive cornering feature at low speed.

I was initially sceptical about 4 doors but they are actually a bonus you don't realise how much you missed the rear doors until you get them again. Rear passenger space is good with plenty of leg room and according to my passengers is a comfortable ride.

Boot space is limited due to the 4 wheel drive system and the sub-woofer with the floor being level with the rear bumper. However coming from the Fiesta it is still large enough for my needs even including getting my fathers wheel chair in laid flat rather than stood up blocking the rear window.

When I collected the car the salesman told me to keep a close eye on the oil level. Evidently oil consumption is high, I've read about a litre every 1000 miles. So far I'm at about mid-way between max and min levels. I will need to keep checking this every time I wash the car. It uses fully synthetic 0w40 so a trip to Halfords with my discount card will be required soon.

The tyres supplied are Michelin Pilot Super Sport and seem to be fully capable of handling the performance in all conditions. I've never really a Michelin fan but these might change my opinion, time will tell. 

There are only two real issues I have with the RS, one is the turning circle. It is appalling how bad this is. It's actually embarrassing when parking or trying to get through gateways etc. Obviously Ford decided that the RS would never be driven into a Sainsbury's car park or around mini roundabouts. I really don't understand what possessed them with this aspect when everything else about the design is so good. The second is the size of the fuel tank. This is small, only about 52 litres and at the rate the car guzzles this is meaning two fill ups a week. Good job the sat nav has petrol stations as a POI.

I'm not going to discuss MPG figures yet for a couple of reasons. Firstly it will only upset me. Secondly the first 1000 miles don't really give a true reflection of what it will achieve long term.

So far I've not had the opportunity to try Launch Control (roads are too greasy), Track mode or Drift mode (not something to try on public roads) yet but will update this thread as I do.

Overall I absolutely love the RS. It hasn't disappointed me once so far and every time I get in it makes me smile, what else can you ask from a car? 

If you have any questions please ask below and I'll try to answer them honestly for you.   



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Great review and great read - these cars are lovely, given half the chance I'd be ordering one next week!

Managed to sit in one when I went to pick up my Focus from the dealership last year, I noticed the seats are quite high (even on the lowest setting) compared to the ST, but im told that it was designed that way to make the car more controllable and feel like a go-kart, etc?

I was surprised to read that they have recommended you to keep an eye on oil consumption - 1litre per 1000mi... Did they mean throughout it's life or part of the running in process?

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Seats are a bit higher than normal but I understand the Shell seats are the worst.

As far as I'm aware oil consumption is an ongoing issue. Another unexpected expense as I never put any oil in the ST in 3 years apart from at normal service time

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2 hours ago, Philf1 said:

Seats are a bit higher than normal but I understand the shell seats are the worst.

As far as I'm aware oil consumption is an ongoing issue. Another unexpected expense as I never put any oil in the ST in 3 years apart from at normal service time

Worth a read...


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Seats are manually operated I don't find them too bad but I'm only 5'10" so taller guys probably would. Most complaints are from those who paid for the optional Shell seats which are less adjustable than the standard ones

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Thanks for the review. I have been thinking about ordering one. At the moment ex demo versions are costing more than brand new due to the long lead in times.

I find the Focus ST turning circle is bad enough and have to reverse park where I can as you can never drive in and get it straight. I should imagine the RS is worse. But hey, its an RS.

The boot space does bother me as well as there are times we need the room. The Mk 2.5 was a fair bit larger than the Mk 3. I may even consider an ST Estate. Shame they haven't got an RS one.

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Good review that. My friends had his for a couple of months now and he's averaging low 20's for mpg, which I think he finds fairly reasonable considering the performance and temptations involved xD

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