• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car Video:  Oversteer

Is the Ford Focus RS Really Worth $40,000?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus RS Hatchback
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$35,000
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus ST Hatchback
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$19,740
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus ST Hatchback
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$19,427
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus SE Sedan
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$15,692
RELATED READING
See all Ford Focus articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2016

I recently spent the day with a $40,000 Ford Focus. Allow me to repeat that for effect. There are people out there -- normal people like you and me -- who have $40,000 burning a hole in their pockets. And they take their $40,000 and skip right over BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Infiniti, Lexus and Acura. Instead, they spend it all on a Ford hatchback with a 4-cylinder engine.

You might be wondering: Are these people insane?

I was wondering the very same thing when I drove up to Scarsdale, New York, last week in order to spend the day with a $40,000 Focus graciously loaned to me by a reader and viewer named Serg. When I arrived, I was a bit worried that Serg would try to chop off my elbows with gardening shears. After all, he was crazy enough to spend $40,000 on a Focus.

Of course, the Focus I'm talking about isn't just a standard Focus. It's the new 2016 Ford Focus RS, and it distinguishes itself from the normal Focus by having 350 horsepower, which is three times as much power as a base-level Focus. Imagine if all cars had a version with three times as much power as the base model. There would be an 885-hp Lexus RX.

And that isn't the only way the Focus RS distinguishes itself from the regular model. Where the normal Focus has front-wheel drive, the Focus RS has all-wheel drive. Where the normal Focus has regular suspension, the Focus RS has adjustable sport suspension and various drive modes, including a Drift mode. Where the normal Focus has typical, standard, regular-car brakes, the Focus RS has Brembos. Where the normal Focus has dull, uninteresting seats, the Focus RS has grippy Recaros that hug you like the aunt you invite to Thanksgiving out of obligation.

In other words, the Focus RS is no normal Focus. But is it worth $40,000?

When you look at the Focus RS on paper, you start to see why it's so valuable. But when you catch a glimpse of it in person, you get an even better idea: This thing has big wheels, big brakes, an aggressive front end, a huge rear spoiler and a rear diffuser with giant dual exhausts. Nobody will ever see this thing and ask you if it belongs to your teenager or if you're driving a service loaner for the day. They will see it and ask you for car advice.

Then, you climb inside and turn it on, and you quickly get an even better idea of why it costs $40,000.

It starts with the steering and handling. From the moment you drive off, you can tell that the steering is incredibly direct and precise, more so than in many modern sports cars. Yes, the steering is a bit light, like many contemporary cars, but it's not at all numb. The Focus RS seems to go wherever you tell it, whenever you tell it to go there, regardless of the speed you're traveling, with as little drama as possible. In my video on the Focus RS, I believe I say it handles like nine tenths of a sports car. Really, it's more like 9-and-a-half tenths.

More impressive is the Focus RS's acceleration -- which is no surprise, because you aren't going to get a slow car out of 350 hp and all-wheel drive. Ford says it does 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.7 seconds, but the best part of the Focus RS isn't its power from a stop. It's the fact that you can mash the throttle down at 50 mph and still take off like an amusement-park thrill ride. This is not a sensation I'm used to having in a Focus. The sensation I'm used to having in one is cursing when I've accidentally pulled up to the wrong side of the pump because I have to return it with a full tank, and I'm late for my flight.

And then there's the Focus RS's practicality. It actually seats five people. It actually has a hatchback with a fairly sizable cargo area. It actually has all-wheel drive. Throw some winter tires on, and I bet you could take this thing skiing, with all your friends. And the most thrilling part won't be when you're strapping on your skis, getting on the chair lift for your first run or sailing down the mountain with the wind whipping around you. The most thrilling part will be the drive to the ski area.

So the Focus RS sounds like the perfect all-around car. It's fast in a straight line. It's fun around corners. It can carry people and stuff. "Forget $40,000," you're thinking. "This thing is worth $50,000! Or $60,000! Even $80,000!" Perhaps you are now prepared to get in a bidding war for the next available Focus RS allocation. Except...

There are a few drawbacks. One is the ride, which is absolutely punishing in anything other than Comfort mode. I'm not sure exactly why the car rides like this, but I believe it's because the designers wanted to simulate 19th-century rail travel. The other drawback is the noise: Ford pipes in some engine noise when you're in Sport mode, but it's not like you're ever going to mistake this thing for a V8 or even a V6. This is a 4-cylinder, plain and simple, and it sounds like one in spite of the piped engine noise and the exhausts in back that could swallow a full-grown anteater.

But these are small demerits for a car that's mostly full of virtues, so I'm happy to confirm that I think the Ford Focus RS is easily worth $40,000. I'm glad they made it, I'm glad it's good, and I'm glad it seems to be popular. Now, if we could only get Lexus moving on that 885-hp RX.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here's Why So Many Exotic Cars Have Montana License Plates
I Bought a 1997 Dodge Viper GTS, and I Drove It 500 Miles Home
GMC Pickups Used to Have 4-Wheel Steering, and It Was Awesome

Find a Ford Focus for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus RS Hatchback
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$35,000
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus ST Hatchback
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$19,740
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus ST Hatchback
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$19,427
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Ford Focus SE Sedan
Used 2016 Ford Focus
$15,692
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Is the Ford Focus RS Really Worth $40,000? - Autotrader