Focus RS Postmortem: You Probably Don’t Want One

2016 Ford Focus RSWhen I bought my brand-new, shiny, bluer-than-blue 2016 Ford Focus RS in October of that same year, I had never owned any car for longer than three and a half years. Fiesta ST? Returned after a 24 month lease. Boss 302? Barely made a third birthday. The record holder was actually a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe GLX, which lasted 42 months and 91,000 miles before I chopped it in on a 2004 Mazda RX-8 in May of 2005.

So even I would have been surprised to learn that I would end up keeping the sparkly jelly bean for a total of 54 months and 47,500 miles. Did I keep it around because I was enthralled by its burbly exhaust, enraptured by its spartan interior, or captivated by the stiff suspension?

In a word: No.

The truth is that I really didn’t like the Focus RS very much at all. And despite what you may have read on the internet, you probably wouldn’t like one, either.

The idea behind getting the Focus was a simple one, really. I had absolutely adored my Fiesta ST. To this day, I’ve yet to find a car that is easier to drive at the top of its capabilities than the FiST. It was cheap, it was quick, and it had great fuel economy.

No, it wasn’t fast. But I didn’t mind that so much—it felt very fast, and the torque vectoring up front meant that you could drive it pretty much like I used to drive the RoadRunner carts at Malibu Grand Prix back in the day, which is to say that you could floor it everywhere. Brake pads were cheap (if not always readily available) and so were tires.

And any complaints I had about it were quickly erased when I reminded myself that I was leasing it for less than half of what my Boss 302 monthly payments had been. Squeaky clutch? Cheap! SYNC? Cheap! Microscopic back seats? Still cheap!

So when the opportunity to buy a Focus RS fell into my lap (keep in mind, they were mostly special order only initially), I jumped at it. I had never even driven one before I sent my deposit—not really all that uncommon at that time for that car. But I figured that the Focus RS would be just like the Fiesta ST, only it would be more of everything. More power, more grip—and, oh yes, more money. Nearly twice as much, to be precise.

To be fair, it really was more of those things. But it was also more of things I didn’t want.

It was definitely more power, but it was delivered in a way that I didn’t necessarily love. The car was temperamental about how it delivered the power, and it ran out of it after about 75-80 MPH. It might have been able to get the jump on a few cars out of the box, thanks to the AWD, but even the legendary V6 Accord would have stomped it in a 40 roll.

The track demeanor was weird. The stock braking system was just not suitable for track use in any way—the fluid would boil very quickly and the pedal would drop to the floor. Replacing it with racing fluid didn’t help much, as I found out when I competed at the SCCA Time Trials Nationals and the car tried to end my life prematurely at the end of the back straight at 125 MPH. My 2016 FoRS was not equipped with an LSD up front (this was rectified in later models), so it ate front brake pads at record rates with its pseudo, brake-powered torque vectoring, LSD simulation.

What the car really needed was even more power, more braking, and definitely less “drift mode.” I think I engaged it once.

Could I have solved these issues with modifications? Not from what I’ve seen on track. I’ve competed against two heavily modified Focus RS models in the SCCA Targa, and the power mods just seemed to make the car worse—definitely more prone to overheating.

But thus far all I’ve talked about is track behavior, which accounted for roughly 1% of my FoRS life. Let’s talk about the other 99%, which was as a daily driver. It wasn’t great.

I’m on the smaller side, so I don’t mind the Recaros as much as some of the, ahem, beefier owners seemed to. But the suspension is a spine crusher. Thirty minutes at a time was about all I ever wanted to do behind the wheel. After that, my back complained vociferously.

Let’s be real—the interior is garbage. Any other car at a similar price point, save for maybe the comparable Subarus, would be better. You can only trick yourself into thinking its sporty and functional for so long. After that, you’ll be wondering why Corollas have cooler features and functionalities than you do. And now that my kids are four years older and bigger than they were when I bought the car, the back seat was no longer particularly viable for them for any period of extended driving.

The car needs top notch tires to be enjoyable—part of the magic of the FoRS comes from its grip. With stock 19″ rims, that means you’ll be dropping $1200 on tires about once every 18 months, even if you go with PS4S over the stock PSC2. That also means snow tires and wheels, unless you’re fortunate enough to live in an area that is not so afflicted, so budget another $2k for that. I mean, I drove in the winter on PS4S, but you should definitely not do that. 

So why did I keep it so long if I didn’t love it that much?

There was part of me that was convinced that a Nitrous Blue, first-year Focus RS might become a Bring a Trailer cash cow someday—and honestly, I still think that. But ultimately I realized that my Focus RS would not be the car that a BaT buyer would want. It had 47XXX miles, it had a small crack in the front bumper from when a fellow soccer dad backed into me in the school parking lot, it had a cracked rear taillight from when I bumped into it carrying a Rubbermaid container, road rash on one of the rims…safe to say that it was not Concours quality.

There was another part of me that really felt that I should love it more than I did. I mean, it was God’s Own Hatchback, right? So why not keep it? Never mind that it was largely imperfect for my life.

Plus, my son loved it. His friends still took pictures of it on their phones and asked for spirited rides in the back seat. Dad had a “racecar.” Do I hate disappointing my son? Does Maxine Waters like riots?

Lastly, I was unemployed for much of 2020, just like the rest of the world, and felt the best course of action was to keep my head down and keep on making payments.

Now, the good news is that I appear to be somewhat alone in my general dislike of the Focus RS, because Vroom gave me a metric ton of money for it, despite its flaws (and because of the current lack of inventory on car lots, which we’ll discuss later this week). So I was able to dispose of it relatively easily (we’ll also discuss the Vroom process this week) and for about 75% of what I paid for it 54 months ago.

So if you’d like to take your own shot at FoRS ownership, feel free to look mine up on Vroom and have it delivered to your driveway. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

47 Replies to “Focus RS Postmortem: You Probably Don’t Want One”

  1. AvatarPower6

    Appreciate the real life review Bark 😉 This strikes a chord with me because I seem to be stuck in this middle age (44) process of figuring what is my happy medium or maybe I don’t want a happy medium. The Focus RS or something like it keeps coming up in my brain.

    I stumbled into my Volvo S60 lease, long story ha, but I’ve kinda fallen in love with the car. It rekindled my car love after a 7 year stint in an old Lexus while we bought house, kid, started a business etc. I didn’t really know it but it turned out to be like a Swedish WRX with the T6 and sport chassis. But with fantastic sport seats, good stereo, quality interior etc, Quite a happy medium. Now I’ve got 8-10 TrackNights with it and continue to surprise and delight drivers and staff in the paddock and on course, and anger the other Volvo owners in the forums. No desire to be any more serious about the track stuff (thanks for the TNiA review some years ago BTW that’s how I knew about it!) I enjoy the Volvo every day, though my life had changed pre-pandemic to where I don’t need to drive much, work from home, we have my wife’s CX-5 for family stuff and snow.

    I’ve got ’til May 2022 to decide…buy it out, or turn it in and move on. I got this itch that varies between a used 1LE Camaro before V8s are outlawed, to Civic Type-R, Veloster N, Focus RS etc. But maybe happiness shouldn’t be linked so much to depreciation and I could work a 2 seater into my life, maybe a nice C4 or C5 Vette. Basically I want to maximize my fun without screwing up my daily life too much, and being restricted to one car.

    This Focus RS experience is making me think I got a bit of the “grass is always greener…” type of thinking going on.

    Reply
    • AvatarMartin

      Stinger GT. Just take a test drive, you’ll be glad you did. Do a wide enough search and you’ll find new ones for $5k-$10k off. Fast, comfortable, relatively rare, and a bit more “grown up”. And still sort of a hatchback, kinda!

      Reply
      • AvatarPower6

        I don’t know if that would scratch the itch I got 😉 I’d probably keep the Volvo before making, in my mind, a lateral move. I know they’re not the same. I place a high value on certain things, I will give up objective values for the subjective values. You really wouldn’t think it but the Volvo really delivers there. The seats and the suspension tuning really do it. It’s beyond German firm, it’s Swedish firm, and I like that where most people don’t (namely my wife ha). Engine sound like a vacuum cleaner but the super-turbo works. I suspect the Stinger is a better car. The itch I got is for something more compromised. Maybe I dream of being a rebel in my wealthy suburban community, I’m thinking the less “grown up” the better. This must be it, my mid-life crisis has arrived!

        Thank you for the suggestion, I shall keep an open mind.

        Reply
    • Avatarstatick89

      What about a Mustang? You’d still be happy on track night whatever the model. I (46, so, yeah) could not be happier with my GT as a daily driver. It’s good from the east coast to the Midwest with no (back) issues, and even in spirited driving I could get 25 mpg. I’ve got a hitch lets me take my mountain bike wherever, it’s fun to drive on the highway, and a surprising number of people (including cops) really appreciate it.

      And if you want to embrace the mid-life crisis, you can always get a racing stripe.

      Reply
      • AvatarPower6

        The idea is great. It’s the same one as a Camaro. I’m open to both. Just the type of guy I am, I think I prefer Camaro. But I would really need to drive both and see. I’m a suspension geek so I am going to want the 1LE or PP2, maybe that’s not true, but in my emotional brain it is! It seemed the 1LE was a little less dear to get into used vs finding a PP2, but that could change. I’m really thinking about it though, I never owned a V8, well let’s not count my GM beaters with 307 Olds ha. I spanked a lot of Mustangs with my Grand National back in the day, but I always wanted a V8 with a stick. And I feel the time to do it is coming…

        How are running costs on your Mustang? Do you have the PP?

        Reply
        • AvatarJMcG

          I picked up a Mustang GT with the PP last fall. There aren’t words to describe how much I love that car. I don’t have the Level 2, so no magnaride.
          I don’t know how useful it would be for track days, as it doesn’t have the differential cooler and there isn’t a cooler for the automatic trans if you go that route. The 21 Mach 1 has both of those, plus an additional 20 hp, giving you 480 total.
          It’s a wonderful car.

          Reply
          • AvatarPower6

            Thanks! I’m fairly casual about the track so it’s probably alright and the PP brakes would likely do. I fully understand I’m buying a street car enjoyed on the street. Track is just a fun thing to do. What does annoy me is the seats being standard fare…why I get a badass mustang with squishy old man seats and my old man Volvo has proper bolstered sport seats…so if I don’t like them I gotta find one with Recaros…and they seem few and far between.

            Good to hear you are happy with your purchase!

        • AvatarArk-med

          I had a 2015 PP, and now have a 2020 PP1 with magnetorheological dampers (it was an option). Night and day in terms of improvement in ride and NVH reduction.

          Reply
    • AvatarZarf

      I love my Camaro SS 1LE and if you like track days you will love it also.
      But, if you have winter to deal with you better have another car for those months. Mine is parked as soon as it gets below 50 degrees and doesn’t move until spring. I know what you are thinking, get some winter tires for it. I would if they made them in those sizes. But, if winter is not an issue I’d give one a test drive and see what you think.

      Reply
      • AvatarPower6

        Yeah winter is an issue! And even all seasons I would consider but just the expense of those huge tires and I will want wheels for easy swaps, it adds to the cost. I’ve had to do this in reverse for the Volvo, use the OEM all seasons for winter and got a deal on take off wheels to mount track/summers on.

        I truly don’t have to drive anywhere, we got 2 cars mostly sitting in the driveway so I could take either. Not all of that is pandemic related, but of course it can and probably will change then if I start having to drive my car and it’s snowing, it could make my life difficult!.

        I got a year to go, so I will get out to drive some of these this year.

        Reply
    • AvatarSigivald

      Oh, I hear you.

      I have an XC70 T6 and it’s astounding.

      And my wife is about to get a V60CC and modify it for autocross.

      (She’s the racer in the family.)

      Too bad Geely has no idea WHAT to do with the brand.

      Reply
      • AvatarPower6

        It’s disappointing to see the focus change at Volvo. The T8 Polestar is nice, but not quite the excitement of the previous one. They took the sport sus out of the T6 R-design and made it optional for $200 in the US so you had to search hard to find one as few dealers ordered them. Now as they update models the mechanical AWD is going away in favor of hybrid drive, sport chassis dropped on most models, R-design branding mysteriously erased from the models and the 112mph speed limiter. Mine is 130 which is fine, I only get to 115 max or so on the tracks I drive.

        Never was a Volvo guy, this is my first, but it looks like they used to give a nod to the few enthusiasts out there and now they are trying to rid themselves of anybody that likes driving.

        Reply
  2. AvatarWulfgar

    Glad to see your content back and interested on your Vroom feedback.I’ve been thinking about selling my 2015 Challenger Hellcat 6-speed for several reasons. Reslae blue seems to pretty high right now and obviously it won’t last.

    Reply
    • AvatarElcivicogrande

      So true. Used car prices are insane. New car prices are the closest I’ve ever seen to MSRP. Ideally this is the time to sell a car and then sit tight for a while. Unfortunately the issue is most people are selling and replacing…. so effectively ends up being a washout (get more…. and pay more). Sort of like when home values go up and you’re staying in the same area. All good until you realize you are effectively no better off than if they had gone down or stayed stable.

      Reply
      • AvatarKoR

        There are still some deals to be made if you want a car that absolutely no one gives a shit about, like a generic sedan from Not Honda or Not Toyota. Chrysler 300s are great and dumb cheap right now. Same with Alfa Giulias or VW Jetta’s.

        Reply
        • Avatarstingray65

          Yea, I’ve been trying to help a couple of family members find a new(er) vehicle, and like 98% of the population they were most interested in a CUV, but new or used there are zero deals on those as inventory is tight. On the other hand, there are some deals to be had on sedans and smaller fuel efficient cars that looked rather enticing to them, but after some test drives they told me they don’t like sitting so low and don’t feel safe without a couple of tons of extra weight surrounding them, so it looks like they will join the pack and get reamed on a CUV.

          Reply
  3. Avatarsilentsod

    The dearth of used car inventory appears to me to be threefold (and is of direct interest to me because I have a second child on the way and the Mazda 3 ain’t cutting it) from all time high average new car price, reduced new car production, and increased used purchases during an economic downturn. I’m interested to read your take on it.

    Reply
  4. AvatarFred Lee

    Good write-up. I bought a 2017 RS. I flew halfway across the country to get one a little below MSRP while dealers in my area were still asking $10K over sticker.

    I loved it for the first 5,000 miles or so, and then I had many of the same complaints you did. I live on a quarter-mile long rough gravel and pot-holed driveway. There were times that I drove other cars simply because I didn’t feel like subjecting my body to that quarter-mile of torture (well, half-mile, including the trip back).

    The car was quick, I guess. At the time it was the quickest I’d owned. But it never really felt like it. Interestingly I could see the same reaction from its future buyer on his test drive. The reality is that blindfolded with earplugs it wouldn’t feel *that* different from a Focus ST. Until you got to the gas pump.

    Which was another annoyance. Even on a highway at 65MPH with a tailwind I never broke 24MPG. My 2019 Corvette will get 29, sometimes 30, in the same conditions. That’s not a deal-breaker, but all else equal it is annoying. I had the same frustration with my Subaru STI.

    I think ultimately I got caught up in the “it’s special” propaganda. And that may be true. 20 years from now maybe we’ll look back in on it like a Cosworth. It did scratch my yearly “new car” itch, but after a year I was happy to sell it for what I paid for it, though I did throw in $2K worth of snow tires and wheels (I bought it in Texas in February with summer slicks, and stopped in a snowstorm in Colorado to get winter shoes put on to ensure a safe trip home). Dealers were still adding dealer markup to new ones, so it sold pretty quickly.

    This was right at the time that Ford was discontinuing their other cars. There was a brief period where base Fiesta STs were available around $16K and Focus STs were available for under $20K. I regret not picking up one of the Fiestas.

    Reply
  5. AvatarGene B

    It’s fascinating which cars you end up keeping and loving, and which ones end up annoying you. My last car was a 2015 Honda Accord 6 speed. After a number of years, I hated the cheap interior and the piss poor Infotainment, particularly the phone integration – since I am on the road a lot, I make a lot of calls from the car, and it was terrible for anyone I was talking to. I also ended up disliking the non-linear power delivery of the engine, and the lousy Honda brakes. So what did I replace it with? A 2018 Jeep Renegade with the 6-speed and the Fiat engine, and the top U-Connect system. I found the engine and trans combo much nicer than the Accord, the brakes are much better, and the upgraded interior was much nicer. Plus, when I make calls on the system, no one thinks I am in the car, even at 80 mph. It’s also much quieter than the Accord, and I like the Italian engine sound. Years ago I bought one for my daughter too. We have had zero problems with them. With the optional 18″ rims the ride is bouncier than it needs to be but not punishing, and the handling is good enough to have fun with it on the the back roads, if not as ultimately fast as the Accord was. I don’t miss it. Too bad Jeep no longer makes such a car anymore, the 1.4T with the 6 Speeb manual was an overlooked sweetheart, and 2018 was the only year you could get it with Chrysler’s top 8.4″ U-Connect. They are thin on the ground, but worth it!

    Reply
  6. AvatarSt1100boy

    The FoRS didn’t sound like the car for me when I read about it in magazines, and after reading Bark’s piece, I know it’s not for me. And I’m a quite happy ’15 FoST owner. The car is running great and holding up well inside and out with 66k miles so far. Not sure how long I’ll keep it, let alone what will replace it.

    If Ford brought in the new Euro FoST, I would probably get that, but I can’t see that happening. Maybe the new GTI? Maybe a semi-practical but semi-disappointing Mustang 2.3T? The middle finger at Greta and Joe 5.0?

    The car that might actually suit my driving preferences and budget best, if it had a respectable interior and sightlines, would be a V6 Camaro 6-speed. But it’s just wrecked by the styling and its imposed compromises. So odds are, I’ll just get the cheapest possible GTI and another motorcycle.

    Reply
    • Avataremjay66

      was at a Hyundai dealer on Saturday and in the showroom was a performance blue Veloster N with a sold sign on it. Never seen one before but what a neat little car. 275 horsepower. might be worth it to check out.

      Reply
  7. AvatarDougD

    I already knew I didn’t want one but that is disappointing, the brake based torque vectoring sounds like the perfect solution for someone who would never use it. But for those who do, it’s the wrong solution.

    Our garden variety Focus still does the job after 4 years, but it was a $13k used car. My son likes it, his mountain bike fits in the back and it’ll take him and his stuff back to uni next week. I’m happy my kids learned to drive standard, since that window is almost closed.

    Reply
  8. AvatarRyan

    It was disappointing to hear how bad the RS ended up being. Having grown up lusting after the Sierra (ok, XR4Ti) and Escort Cosworth, I had high hopes for the RS.

    When Vorshlag posted a “review” that was very critical of the car on-track, the fanboys jumped in and cried up a storm. Hard to believe this happened 5 years ago now, but this thread is a fun read in retrospect: https://www.focusrs.org/threads/the-vorshlag-fors-write-up.16489/.

    Between the low production numbers and Ford no longer caring about cars not names Mustang, the RS could be one of those “end of an era” cars that will draw a huge following in 20 years. Who knows, maybe one day we will see retirement-aged Millennials in their pristine DC Mantecas squawking about Ken Block’s drift stick the way men today obsess over Steve McQueen’s prostate.

    Reply
    • AvatarEric L.

      That tear down and analysis is incredible! Oh, for more “truth” about cars like this. Thanks for the link.

      Reply
  9. Avatarhank chinaski

    The Golf R may have made a better daily. I’m quite fond of our vanilla MQB.
    But that blue….yowza.

    Reply
  10. AvatarKoR

    This is exactly why I went Golf R over the others. Once I read about Matt Farrah’s experience dropping a bunch of cash on his suspension to get it to be something close to bearable, I figured it would be too much for me.

    The Golf R falls way short in excitement and looks, admittedly, but it is genuinely great as a daily. Interior is quite nice, if still only for a Golf, and the ride in “comfort” mode is, well, comfortable.

    While it can’t come close to nitrous blue, Lapiz blue pearl is a very nice color on its own. Throw on some downsized, interesting wheels (Bronze Sparcos for me) and it at least stands out a bit.

    Running costs are high and it doesn’t love endless highway driving, which is why I may get rid of it soon thanks to my newly found 25k-30k mile commute, but I’ve owned much worse.

    Stage one tune from the good folks at APR mean it’ll drop that Accord in a 40 roll with zero issue to boot. Had it out on some roads along the foothills of the local mountain range recently, and yeah it’ll boogie. Brakes are meh but I don’t track it so that’s fine too.

    So long as one is fine with paying unfathomably good money for a Golf (literally over new MSRP for a low mileage 2019 is the going rate. Ones around my year/mileage are only a couple grand off that), it’s really hard to argue against it as a car that does juuuuust about everything pretty well.

    Also, I work alongside car dealers as a vendor, and mercy this shortage is killing us. These next few months are going to be worrisome to say the least. I’m sure you know way more than I do here, but the data I’ve been pulling means the rest of this year is gonna be quite lean for everyone in the industry.

    Reply
    • AvatarNick D

      Appreciate your Golf R commentary. Just checked values for my 2018 F150 and it’s getting close to what I paid 3 years and 35000 miles ago. Been thinking about trading it in and sitting on cash for a bit, then getting a 2022 GTI or R, and getting a truck again when market returns to normal.

      Reply
      • AvatarKoR

        A Mk 7.5 Golf R or GTI is an ideal daily driver, if a tick… staid for what they try to be.

        I would also look at selling a full-size pickup for the free money if I owned one, BUT if you actually want to make money you’ve gotta be willing to look at cars no one cares about. Like a last gen Chevy Impala or an MKZ or something. Most anything that isn’t a generic sedan has also seen a silly rise in price recently. I reckon the new Rs will carry an ADM if a 2019 with 7k miles is sitting on an asking price of $44k (at least where I live and at a real VW dealer). New GTI you might be able to get around sticker whenever they actually hit the lots.

        I also don’t know if or when the market will return to normal. Prices will probably drop a bit, but it’s going to be a very, very long time before dealer inventories are back to even January levels, let alone pre-plague.

        Reply
        • AvatarNick D

          Yes – I had a Gen 1 Honda Insight I sold to a friend, then missed having a small, light, manual car to counterbalance the luxuriant long wheelbase F150. Manual transmission subcompacts were (past tense) undesirable through 2020, and I grabbed a Yaris iA 6MT a Caddy dealer got as a trade and sat on for about 4 months of continual price-downs. Even now, Carvana will give me $4k more than I paid last year for it, with another 10k miles.

          Reply
    • AvatarPower6

      It’s like the Focus RS is the car you think you want, the Golf R is the car you really want. I really like the platform, so much so I was considering a GTI at the same time as my Volvo. I had to lease at the time (company car) so even though cash to cash I’d be in an R, the VW leases are just horrible the Volvo was cheaper than the GTI even. But nobody does the “everything car” like the GTI and R and I love everything cars.

      Reply
        • AvatarPower6

          Mmmm and the search for the happy medium goes on. Do you think some better execution would have made the Focus just right? More suspension development, widen the seats a little..like whatever Hyundai did with the Velsoter N they seemed to have understood what makes a “fun” car rather than just trying to create a monster, but with more personality than the GTI.

          I find sometimes boring works out ok, I had some exciting girlfriends but the drama gets to you then you want a more normal one if less exciting…

          Reply
          • AvatarBark M Post author

            The Focus was executed okay, it was just not what I wanted it to be. It’s a little too heavy on the boy racer and not heavy enough on the real racer.

        • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

          Is the Golf R “boring as hell” for someone who has owned a Boss, and driven all manner of exotica, or “boring as hell” compared to other similarly-priced options?

          It was on my short list, but I want something that is fun to drive. (For reference, my current vehicles average 15 years old. My only frame of reference for “fun” is the occasional V6 Mustang, Q50 or Hemi Challenger from the rental counter.)

          Reply
          • AvatarBark M Post author

            Boring as hell, period, both in appearance and in driving characteristics. I’ve had two autocrossing friends buy one, neither kept it for a full year.

  11. AvatarHarry

    I passed on the RS during my last car buying cycle because of a ridiculous ADM and finding the Recaro seats in the ST a bit too restrictive, and by the transitive property, I figured the the RS seats would be as well. One or the other probably wouldn’t have stopped me.

    This time around I am getting a Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, hopefully I like that, I find out in a week.

    Since the driving experience, rather than the raw numbers or power, drives the enjoyment of the vehicle, as a toy what do you think of a Lancia Delta Integrale instead? Not a garage queen, but a summer DD?

    Reply
  12. AvatarDoung Nguyen

    Wish I could sell to Vroom or Shift and get the equity out of my VW Atlas lease, but VW’s “dealer buyout” amount is about $6,000 more than my own. 🤦‍♂️

    Reply
  13. Avatarstingray65

    I think relatively cheap FWD based cars dressed up with high performance parts such as the FoRS are just a bridge too far versus smaller versions such as the FiST. To make them faster, better handling, and more roomy than a Fiesta sized vehicle means either lots of torque steer or an expensive AWD system, very stiff suspension or very expensive (and heavier) adjustable suspension, less track focused “economy” seating or uncomfortable sport seats, and each time the more expensive option is chosen the price creeps ever closer to prestige brand offerings and/or RWD based offerings that may be less compromised because they are based on more sophisticated/performance oriented underpinnings and better quality interiors. Several commenters have mentioned the Golf R as better all-round alternative to the FoRS, but at $40K how many does VW move each year when you can get an Audi, BMW, MB, Lexus, or Volvo (or Mustang, Camaro) for similar money new or as a CPO? The FoRS is the equivalent of the 1960s Mustang GT350 which had the advantage of being built off a cheap (Falcon) RWD platform, but mainstream brands don’t make such platforms anymore for anything besides pickups, which putting lots of power into a cheap FWD based platform will always expose its shortcomings in ways that are easier to ignore with a RWD platform.

    Reply
      • AvatarCraig

        Yup, 100% the reason I’m never selling my Type R. It’s not the prettiest (you get used to it), but MAN! does it tick most of the boxes discussed here. Soft daily driver? In comfort mode and with the near mandatory 18” wheel upgrade, absolutely! Accelerate? Oh boy! Once it gets up past 3000 rpm, it’s a beast. Corners? Better than my old S000. Seats the kiddos with prior gen Accord levels of legroom? Check. Most importantly, it makes you feel like a better driver than you are. It even makes grocery runs fun. It just feels special…..

        ‘vagen

        Reply
        • AvatarPower6

          And boy does that greatness drive the resale value on them 😉 If I want a volume knob I gotta pay up for a 2019…

          Reply
        • AvatarBark M Post author

          You’re a wise man. I agree with everything you’ve said and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

          Reply
      • Avatarviper32cm

        I was going to ask you your thoughts on the difference between the FoRS and the Type R, but I think that pretty much sums it up.

        Reply
  14. AvatarGary

    I’ve got a 16′ Focus ST that’s just about to crack 40k. Anything I don’t like about it, I use the same rationalization as you with the Fiesta… cheap! Sticker was $25k, I paid $21k and with a fine trade-in on my 05′ Accord at the time, I wrote a check for just over $16k for it. For that money, I can’t complain at all. I still like it. It’s still fun. I’m still glad my commute to work is only 20 minutes.

    That said, Carvana will give me a check for $17,477 for it and I absolutely have been tempted. Shame there’s nothing that I’d really like to replace it with at the moment.

    Reply
    • AvatarCJinSD

      It’s remarkable that so many cars have been canceled because nobody wanted them while I hear from people all the time who are putting off purchasing because there’s nothing that appeals to them, no matter how often they used to trade in their cars.

      Reply

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