Ford Focus RS Test

RSTest_G4

I’m keeping this short because I’m trying to write the group test. Got back from France last night after 24hrs with the new RS. We took an R26 R and an STi along to add some context, and I have to say the results were pretty surprising.

So, I’ll open the floor to some good old-fashioned, unhealthy conjecture: what do you think won and why? Here’s a teaser image of what we’ll publish early next week. Awesome roads down there. I’ll get typing.

In the meantime take a look at the trailer for next week’s video.

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Focus RS won; as quick or quicker than the R26 R, but with some element of practicality.

    The problem with the R26 R in my eyes is that it is basically a saloon race car with slightly softer suspension. It may be a laugh for a while, but I’m sure the lack of basic equipment, like a stereo, would be annoying in the long term. Even my Elise has a stereo, for God’s sake – it may be inaudible, or unable to pick up any radio stations most of the time, but at least it’s there.

    JP

  • I wouldn’t be surprised if the Focus RS won; as quick or quicker than the R26 R, but with some element of practicality.

    The problem with the R26 R in my eyes is that it is basically a saloon race car with slightly softer suspension. It may be a laugh for a while, but I’m sure the lack of basic equipment, like a stereo, would be annoying in the long term. Even my Elise has a stereo, for God’s sake – it may be inaudible, or unable to pick up any radio stations most of the time, but at least it’s there.

    JP

  • Marty

    I’m guessing the Ford has the measure of the STi in terms of outright grip and acceleration, whilst seeing off the lighter and more nimble R26.R in the twisty stuff. And that would be a stunning result, given that 300bhp always seemed far too much to be directing through the front wheels of a family hatchback.

  • Marty

    I’m guessing the Ford has the measure of the STi in terms of outright grip and acceleration, whilst seeing off the lighter and more nimble R26.R in the twisty stuff. And that would be a stunning result, given that 300bhp always seemed far too much to be directing through the front wheels of a family hatchback.

  • Pete Wadsworth

    Neil and I drove the R26R and the Impreza STi down to the south of France for this test while the snapper and Chris flew down – it was about 800 miles from Calais to the launch in Nice and after doing both directions we both agreed that, while we’d prefer to take the Impreza if we were ONLY travelling down, the R26R was more than acceptable as a ‘tourer’. Especially if you’re on your own in the car, like we were, and can just plug your iPod in. Factor in the awesome roads we were on once we got there and the STi didn’t stand a chance. I’d happily have one as a daily driver…

    Also, the seats in the Impreza did a bit of a number on my back, while the ones in the Megane were supportive and more than comfortable enough.

    Also, it’s hard to get across just how brilliant the R26R is. I could write 2,000 words here, going hyperbole crazy, and you’d still be surprised at how good it was when you drove it.

  • Pete Wadsworth

    Neil and I drove the R26R and the Impreza STi down to the south of France for this test while the snapper and Chris flew down – it was about 800 miles from Calais to the launch in Nice and after doing both directions we both agreed that, while we’d prefer to take the Impreza if we were ONLY travelling down, the R26R was more than acceptable as a ‘tourer’. Especially if you’re on your own in the car, like we were, and can just plug your iPod in. Factor in the awesome roads we were on once we got there and the STi didn’t stand a chance. I’d happily have one as a daily driver…

    Also, the seats in the Impreza did a bit of a number on my back, while the ones in the Megane were supportive and more than comfortable enough.

    Also, it’s hard to get across just how brilliant the R26R is. I could write 2,000 words here, going hyperbole crazy, and you’d still be surprised at how good it was when you drove it.

  • I still stand by my conclusion that the R26.R is the most deeply impressive car I have driven in the past 12 months, more so even than Nissan’s GT-R. It’s just so ‘sorted’. There are a lot of very good cars out there, so it’s surprising that a relatively ordinary car such as the R26.R can stand head and shoulders above anything we normally compare with it.

    Of course I haven’t yet had the privilege of driving the new Focus RS, but it looks gobsmacking doesn’t it?

    I will be very surprised if Ford’s new ‘stealth machine’ (ahem) can humble Reggie’s finest, so I await to read the feature.

  • I still stand by my conclusion that the R26.R is the most deeply impressive car I have driven in the past 12 months, more so even than Nissan’s GT-R. It’s just so ‘sorted’. There are a lot of very good cars out there, so it’s surprising that a relatively ordinary car such as the R26.R can stand head and shoulders above anything we normally compare with it.

    Of course I haven’t yet had the privilege of driving the new Focus RS, but it looks gobsmacking doesn’t it?

    I will be very surprised if Ford’s new ‘stealth machine’ (ahem) can humble Reggie’s finest, so I await to read the feature.

  • Marty

    The new RS looks and sounds as if it’s the car I wanted Ford to release back when Colin McRae was winning in the Focus WRC. The Megane I doubt I’ll get a chance to drive for a year or two yet, but I’ve yet to hear a bad word against it. Looking forward to the feature.

  • CyberBilly

    RS – for the same reasons that Jonathan mentioned. Besides, the other write-ups I have seen of the RS have been hugely complimentary.
    I will quiz Monkey this evening!!

  • Marty

    The new RS looks and sounds as if it’s the car I wanted Ford to release back when Colin McRae was winning in the Focus WRC. The Megane I doubt I’ll get a chance to drive for a year or two yet, but I’ve yet to hear a bad word against it. Looking forward to the feature.

  • CyberBilly

    RS – for the same reasons that Jonathan mentioned. Besides, the other write-ups I have seen of the RS have been hugely complimentary.
    I will quiz Monkey this evening!!

  • Mac One

    Given Steve and Petes comments above, you’d have to wonder if the R26 hasn’t done it again.
    I’m predicting a 1, Renault, 2 RS, 3 STI result.

  • Mac One

    Given Steve and Petes comments above, you’d have to wonder if the R26 hasn’t done it again.
    I’m predicting a 1, Renault, 2 RS, 3 STI result.

  • Ian F

    I agree Mac One. I think the Megane is going to come up trumps… can’t wait to see what Renault manage with the next one!

  • Ian F

    I agree Mac One. I think the Megane is going to come up trumps… can’t wait to see what Renault manage with the next one!

  • Arthur

    If the Megane wins, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
    Now the Scooby winning, that would be a massive shock. Which is unbelievable. 10 years ago, you wouldn’t have bet against an Impreza Turbo, against almost any kind of opposition.
    The Ford? 300 bhp through the wrong wheels? No way.

  • Arthur

    If the Megane wins, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
    Now the Scooby winning, that would be a massive shock. Which is unbelievable. 10 years ago, you wouldn’t have bet against an Impreza Turbo, against almost any kind of opposition.
    The Ford? 300 bhp through the wrong wheels? No way.

  • Kristian

    I reckon the RS romped it! Chris has already said the Impreza for him as an alround car beat the Megane or ran it close. Either this or the Impreza won. The Megane is too obvious. From what I have read about the Focus and Steve Sutcliffes review in Autocar, the Focus is nothing short of astonishing. Faster around Fords test track than the Ford GT too!

    Now, do I convert my deposit and get one or do I hold onto my E39 M5??? I’m a jibbering wreck with trying to decide. Chris I need your article to help me!!

    Kris

  • Kristian

    I reckon the RS romped it! Chris has already said the Impreza for him as an alround car beat the Megane or ran it close. Either this or the Impreza won. The Megane is too obvious. From what I have read about the Focus and Steve Sutcliffes review in Autocar, the Focus is nothing short of astonishing. Faster around Fords test track than the Ford GT too!

    Now, do I convert my deposit and get one or do I hold onto my E39 M5??? I’m a jibbering wreck with trying to decide. Chris I need your article to help me!!

    Kris

  • paulw

    Looking forward to this, I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh, but when this car became official last week, it was all over the net and magazines, I looked to DR for some comment and things seemed very quiet at your end on the RS front.

    Like many others, i have read many reviews, seen videos and TV reports on this car, hopefully the best report will be worth waiting for!

    As a positive, I did look to DR amongst all the others for the definitive review.

    One thing which seems slightly confusing in reports up to now, is the trick suspension and how much it actually torquesteers….clarification would be useful

  • paulw

    Looking forward to this, I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh, but when this car became official last week, it was all over the net and magazines, I looked to DR for some comment and things seemed very quiet at your end on the RS front.

    Like many others, i have read many reviews, seen videos and TV reports on this car, hopefully the best report will be worth waiting for!

    As a positive, I did look to DR amongst all the others for the definitive review.

    One thing which seems slightly confusing in reports up to now, is the trick suspension and how much it actually torquesteers….clarification would be useful

  • Richard – DR

    This is unbearable! I work with Chris and yet I still don’t know which car has won.

    Tell you what though: looking at the banner image at the top of this post it suddenly struck me how desirable I find all those cars. Doom and gloom might be all around us, but this really does remind me of the days when Integrales, Escort Cossies, Celica GT4 and Audi quattros were the cars of the moment. And if £25k is too rich for you at the moment, just imagine buying them in a few years time. We really are experiencing a golden period for truly great affordable, attainable cars.

  • Richard – DR

    This is unbearable! I work with Chris and yet I still don’t know which car has won.

    Tell you what though: looking at the banner image at the top of this post it suddenly struck me how desirable I find all those cars. Doom and gloom might be all around us, but this really does remind me of the days when Integrales, Escort Cossies, Celica GT4 and Audi quattros were the cars of the moment. And if £25k is too rich for you at the moment, just imagine buying them in a few years time. We really are experiencing a golden period for truly great affordable, attainable cars.

  • JeffG

    As the owner of a MK1 FRS I hope the new one wins, although I wouldn’t be disappointed in the R26.R edges it as it is a fantastic machine.

    I was lucky enough to sample a prototype FRS last year and it was mighty impressive in terms of traction and the minimal torque steer it had in the lower gears, plus the engine really is strong right across the rev range. My only concern was that it did feel quite bulky (but still gripped amazingly well) and also lacked the rawness of my car.

    Can’t wait to read the review and see the video!

  • JeffG

    As the owner of a MK1 FRS I hope the new one wins, although I wouldn’t be disappointed in the R26.R edges it as it is a fantastic machine.

    I was lucky enough to sample a prototype FRS last year and it was mighty impressive in terms of traction and the minimal torque steer it had in the lower gears, plus the engine really is strong right across the rev range. My only concern was that it did feel quite bulky (but still gripped amazingly well) and also lacked the rawness of my car.

    Can’t wait to read the review and see the video!

  • Ivo

    Richard makes a very good point, all these new hot hatches we are seeing these days are quite special. Affordable, yet lacking nothing when put up against much bigger and pricier competition. A golden period for sure.

    I’m also going with the R26.R staying at the top, RS second and STi a close 3rd.

    BTW Chris, how often did you find your mind drifting and thinking about getting back home and into your new Fezza while thrashing these cars around? Did they manage to occupy you strongly enough that you didn’t day dream at all? 🙂

  • Ivo

    Richard makes a very good point, all these new hot hatches we are seeing these days are quite special. Affordable, yet lacking nothing when put up against much bigger and pricier competition. A golden period for sure.

    I’m also going with the R26.R staying at the top, RS second and STi a close 3rd.

    BTW Chris, how often did you find your mind drifting and thinking about getting back home and into your new Fezza while thrashing these cars around? Did they manage to occupy you strongly enough that you didn’t day dream at all? 🙂

  • daytonafan

    I’m not sure if any of then really would do it for me, the Renault is too impractical and considering the compromises I would rather have an Elise. Although probably not relevant in a short comparison test I expect the Ford will eat through front tyres faster than I can drink a pint and as it will shortly be the darling of the Max Power set not a car I would want to be seen in. There was an STI outside our office today and I have to admit the looks are growing on me so if I had to choose it would be the Scooby. For £25K though I reckon you must be able to get a superb E46 M3 CSL at the moment which has far more appeal than any of these.

  • daytonafan

    I’m not sure if any of then really would do it for me, the Renault is too impractical and considering the compromises I would rather have an Elise. Although probably not relevant in a short comparison test I expect the Ford will eat through front tyres faster than I can drink a pint and as it will shortly be the darling of the Max Power set not a car I would want to be seen in. There was an STI outside our office today and I have to admit the looks are growing on me so if I had to choose it would be the Scooby. For £25K though I reckon you must be able to get a superb E46 M3 CSL at the moment which has far more appeal than any of these.

  • Scotty

    I have also seen Steve Sutcliffe’s video with him waxing lyrical about almost every aspect of the car and eagerly await Chris’ response. I think it will be the R26R, the RS then the Sti.

    I have to say after watching the autocar video the “I want one” factor was very very very high. Looks fabulous, scarily rapid and oh what a noise. While a 3 pedal layout is the only one suitable for an RS car, the nature of the motor to me suggest a DSG box would make awesome use of the constant torque.

    I, like everyone, are still sceptical of Ford’s claim of vanquishing torque steer. Ride quality is also a concern, but I’m sure Chris is answering these questions as we type. FWD is ideal I think though. AWD would have made the car way too heavy for no real benefit.

  • Scotty

    I have also seen Steve Sutcliffe’s video with him waxing lyrical about almost every aspect of the car and eagerly await Chris’ response. I think it will be the R26R, the RS then the Sti.

    I have to say after watching the autocar video the “I want one” factor was very very very high. Looks fabulous, scarily rapid and oh what a noise. While a 3 pedal layout is the only one suitable for an RS car, the nature of the motor to me suggest a DSG box would make awesome use of the constant torque.

    I, like everyone, are still sceptical of Ford’s claim of vanquishing torque steer. Ride quality is also a concern, but I’m sure Chris is answering these questions as we type. FWD is ideal I think though. AWD would have made the car way too heavy for no real benefit.

  • Stig

    Based on the ability to get the power down from A to B and real world performance, I would suggest the following…

    1) Subaru STi

    2) Ford Focus RS

    3) Renault Megane R26.R

    …which may seem like a bit of a surprise, but the STi just seems to make more effective use of 296bhp through four-wheel drive and its trick “planetary centre differential with an electro-magnetically variable clutch pack”.

    It certainly sounds like the Focus RS has performed miracles to get 301bhp working through the front wheels thanks to its “RevoKnuckles” and no doubt the performance is remarkable – for a front-wheel drive car – hence an impressive victory over the benchmark R26.R superstar!

    For the STi to win the day, you have to give Subaru credit for their ability to transmit power from under the bonnet – through a decent manual gearbox and a trick centre differential – down to rip chunks out of four scrabbling patches of tarmac!

    Admittedly the STi’s not exactly a looker, but none of these cars are about to win a concourse rosette (whether or not you plan to visit the jet wash after a spirited cross country drive).

    After all, hot hatches are about performance…

    1) Subaru STi (0-30mph: 1.6; 0-60mph: 4.8; 0-100mph: 12.9)

    2) Ford Focus RS (0-30mph: n/a; 0-60mph: 5.9; 0-100mph: 14.0)

    3) Renault Megane R26.R (0-30mph: n/a; 0-60mph: 6.0; 0-100mph: 14.6)

    …and while the Focus RS can outsprint an R26.R, the Subaru STi is still a good second quicker!

    🙂

  • Stig

    Based on the ability to get the power down from A to B and real world performance, I would suggest the following…

    1) Subaru STi

    2) Ford Focus RS

    3) Renault Megane R26.R

    …which may seem like a bit of a surprise, but the STi just seems to make more effective use of 296bhp through four-wheel drive and its trick “planetary centre differential with an electro-magnetically variable clutch pack”.

    It certainly sounds like the Focus RS has performed miracles to get 301bhp working through the front wheels thanks to its “RevoKnuckles” and no doubt the performance is remarkable – for a front-wheel drive car – hence an impressive victory over the benchmark R26.R superstar!

    For the STi to win the day, you have to give Subaru credit for their ability to transmit power from under the bonnet – through a decent manual gearbox and a trick centre differential – down to rip chunks out of four scrabbling patches of tarmac!

    Admittedly the STi’s not exactly a looker, but none of these cars are about to win a concourse rosette (whether or not you plan to visit the jet wash after a spirited cross country drive).

    After all, hot hatches are about performance…

    1) Subaru STi (0-30mph: 1.6; 0-60mph: 4.8; 0-100mph: 12.9)

    2) Ford Focus RS (0-30mph: n/a; 0-60mph: 5.9; 0-100mph: 14.0)

    3) Renault Megane R26.R (0-30mph: n/a; 0-60mph: 6.0; 0-100mph: 14.6)

    …and while the Focus RS can outsprint an R26.R, the Subaru STi is still a good second quicker!

    🙂

  • Most awaited comparison by me all year, can’t wait for the result 🙂 http://tinyurl.com/d3v9t7

  • Roo

    I reckon the achievements of the Focus RS are only going to throw into sharp relief what great value the Subaru is. Whilst the Megane would certainly be the car I’d want to be in with Antoniusbuche filling its windscreen, as a year round proposition I’d reckon the Impreza would be a tough car to beat.

  • Roo

    I reckon the achievements of the Focus RS are only going to throw into sharp relief what great value the Subaru is. Whilst the Megane would certainly be the car I’d want to be in with Antoniusbuche filling its windscreen, as a year round proposition I’d reckon the Impreza would be a tough car to beat.

  • Poobah

    Revoknuckle? An interesting concept mainly because if you look at the design, its almost a complete rip-off of what Renault have been using on the Megane 225/R26 etc for years.

    I think the focus will take the crown but l think it’ll be mighty close all round.

  • Poobah

    Revoknuckle? An interesting concept mainly because if you look at the design, its almost a complete rip-off of what Renault have been using on the Megane 225/R26 etc for years.

    I think the focus will take the crown but l think it’ll be mighty close all round.

  • awol

    I think the Subaru wins…… only kidding!

    It will depend on what Chris is basing his voting on, if he compares the cars as predominantly road cars then I think the RS will win. I imagine it will every bit as fast (if not faster) as the Renault, but a more usable everyday car with added creature comforts. However, if we’re talking pure driving pleasure dynamics and track ability the renault should take the top spot. Also, the Renault is the car most likely to get me out of bed early for a Sunday morning blast, the carbon bonnet, race seats with harnesses and roll cage all add drama and excitement and really gives me the horn!

    I’m sure the STi is a hugely capable car, but to me it just looks wrong and nowhere near as special as the old impreza, especially the awesome P1.

    I eagerly await the results……………..

  • awol

    I think the Subaru wins…… only kidding!

    It will depend on what Chris is basing his voting on, if he compares the cars as predominantly road cars then I think the RS will win. I imagine it will every bit as fast (if not faster) as the Renault, but a more usable everyday car with added creature comforts. However, if we’re talking pure driving pleasure dynamics and track ability the renault should take the top spot. Also, the Renault is the car most likely to get me out of bed early for a Sunday morning blast, the carbon bonnet, race seats with harnesses and roll cage all add drama and excitement and really gives me the horn!

    I’m sure the STi is a hugely capable car, but to me it just looks wrong and nowhere near as special as the old impreza, especially the awesome P1.

    I eagerly await the results……………..

  • mat friend

    i honestly think the sti will float to the top, i drive an 03 sti and i have not come across anything (including laggy fq400’s) that can keep up……its bog standard too, but not for long mwah hah ha

  • mat friend

    i honestly think the sti will float to the top, i drive an 03 sti and i have not come across anything (including laggy fq400’s) that can keep up……its bog standard too, but not for long mwah hah ha

  • Vlad

    My money is on the RS. Megane is a fantastic car and no doubt it is more focused then the focus, but the RS will feel faster, sounds great and with a bit of clever chassis tweaks it will not be far off the R26.R on balance.

    STI is total disappointment and i’d be happy to eat my beanie if it wins.

  • Vlad

    My money is on the RS. Megane is a fantastic car and no doubt it is more focused then the focus, but the RS will feel faster, sounds great and with a bit of clever chassis tweaks it will not be far off the R26.R on balance.

    STI is total disappointment and i’d be happy to eat my beanie if it wins.

  • Words cannot describe how much I want a Focus RS.

    My teenage head didn’t really go for things like the Astra VXR, or the JCW Cooper S, but this thing, it just ticks all the boxes.

    Although not in lime green. I reckon it would look stunning in black, or dark grey. The thing with that green is that it will be like the orange was on the ST – the default choice.

  • Words cannot describe how much I want a Focus RS.

    My teenage head didn’t really go for things like the Astra VXR, or the JCW Cooper S, but this thing, it just ticks all the boxes.

    Although not in lime green. I reckon it would look stunning in black, or dark grey. The thing with that green is that it will be like the orange was on the ST – the default choice.

  • Dom

    Time to market guys – this is old news – Autocar and Car had their reports on the new RS up last Sunday…… Surely DR can do better than this.

    Really keen to hear what you have to say about it but I’ve already made my mind up 🙂

  • Dom

    Time to market guys – this is old news – Autocar and Car had their reports on the new RS up last Sunday…… Surely DR can do better than this.

    Really keen to hear what you have to say about it but I’ve already made my mind up 🙂

  • awol

    Car may have had their report uploaded a week ago, but I think you’ll find DR’s report will be much more valid, driving a car in isolation is all well and good, but I think DR’s report will give a better insight about the RS’s ability, plus you just KNOW it’s gonna be better written and have stunning photography.

    As for Autocar, I’m not their biggest fan. I can’t stand Steve Sutcliffe, sorry Steve. I’m sure you were a good bloke… oops, I mean are a good bloke 🙂

  • awol

    Car may have had their report uploaded a week ago, but I think you’ll find DR’s report will be much more valid, driving a car in isolation is all well and good, but I think DR’s report will give a better insight about the RS’s ability, plus you just KNOW it’s gonna be better written and have stunning photography.

    As for Autocar, I’m not their biggest fan. I can’t stand Steve Sutcliffe, sorry Steve. I’m sure you were a good bloke… oops, I mean are a good bloke 🙂

  • chris harris

    Don’t remember seeing an exhaustive triple test anywhere else, so I think you’ll find we’re bang on the pace with it.

    As for the first drive, you need to understand the ways these things work to draw a sensible conclusion. First, there are always two launches: a long-lead to give the monthly mags time to publish and a regular launch for the weeklys/websites (the one we were on).

    An embargo is set for those who went on the first event, to stop them stitching those who go on the second one. The Sunday Times ran the story early (naughty), so Autocar felt-(quite understandably)- compelled to run their first drive too.

    It doesn’t really bother us either way. We’re not in this to be the first, we want to provide the most enjoyable reading experience. As for the RS being ‘old news’, I don’t buy it. It’s a fascinating car and will be a centre-point for discussion for some time yet.

    Edited to add: I am wrong about the group test thing. Auto Express says the Mini Cooper S JCW is better than the RS. Sometime soon, I must visit the parallel universe they inhabit.

  • chris harris

    Don’t remember seeing an exhaustive triple test anywhere else, so I think you’ll find we’re bang on the pace with it.

    As for the first drive, you need to understand the ways these things work to draw a sensible conclusion. First, there are always two launches: a long-lead to give the monthly mags time to publish and a regular launch for the weeklys/websites (the one we were on).

    An embargo is set for those who went on the first event, to stop them stitching those who go on the second one. The Sunday Times ran the story early (naughty), so Autocar felt-(quite understandably)- compelled to run their first drive too.

    It doesn’t really bother us either way. We’re not in this to be the first, we want to provide the most enjoyable reading experience. As for the RS being ‘old news’, I don’t buy it. It’s a fascinating car and will be a centre-point for discussion for some time yet.

    Edited to add: I am wrong about the group test thing. Auto Express says the Mini Cooper S JCW is better than the RS. Sometime soon, I must visit the parallel universe they inhabit.

  • Dom

    Car had a comparason with the Renault in their magazine – picked mine up on Tues. Top Gear and the Times also had articles….

    I don’t want to start a post war re Autocar and Sutters but there is no faster journo in the business imho – was a great article and video.

    I’m also really looking forward to what Chris has to say – but as I said, for me, my mind is made up. Irrelevant if buying new as no more Renaults left anyway.

    Originally Posted By awolCar may have had their report uploaded a week ago, but I think you’ll find DR’s report will be much more valid, driving a car in isolation is all well and good, but I think DR’s report will give a better insight about the RS’s ability, plus you just KNOW it’s gonna be better written and have stunning photography.

    As for Autocar, I’m not their biggest fan. I can’t stand Steve Sutcliffe, sorry Steve. I’m sure you were a good bloke… oops, I mean are a good bloke 🙂

  • Dom

    Car had a comparason with the Renault in their magazine – picked mine up on Tues. Top Gear and the Times also had articles….

    I don’t want to start a post war re Autocar and Sutters but there is no faster journo in the business imho – was a great article and video.

    I’m also really looking forward to what Chris has to say – but as I said, for me, my mind is made up. Irrelevant if buying new as no more Renaults left anyway.

    Originally Posted By awolCar may have had their report uploaded a week ago, but I think you’ll find DR’s report will be much more valid, driving a car in isolation is all well and good, but I think DR’s report will give a better insight about the RS’s ability, plus you just KNOW it’s gonna be better written and have stunning photography.

    As for Autocar, I’m not their biggest fan. I can’t stand Steve Sutcliffe, sorry Steve. I’m sure you were a good bloke… oops, I mean are a good bloke 🙂

  • johnny

    I have to admit i’m a bit sad really, because in my heart i really am a huge fan of the STI and i want it to win. A few years ago nobody would’ve put the STI next to a FWD car…BUT! with these new trick suspensions and RevoKnuckles who knows…

    The R26R is light and nimble, the RS has the power and the suspension (so they say, i guess we all have to wait to what Chris has to say about that) plus the practicality, and the STI the all-wheel-drive + 300bhp setup witch should give it the upper hand, i think (you can’t be too sure about that these days).

    They say that the RS is a car that we can drive every day but i wonder… I heard the fuel consumption is far from great and with that much power on the front wheels i don’t think we’ll be saving money on front tyres.

    From what we see in the video the weather was sunny and the road was dry, so loads of traction there…i think it would have been quite interesting if it rained. I bet the impreza would have been the best car there (sorry guys, i can’t really help myself).

    We’re all guessing and speculating but only one man has the answer. Come on Chris!

  • johnny

    I have to admit i’m a bit sad really, because in my heart i really am a huge fan of the STI and i want it to win. A few years ago nobody would’ve put the STI next to a FWD car…BUT! with these new trick suspensions and RevoKnuckles who knows…

    The R26R is light and nimble, the RS has the power and the suspension (so they say, i guess we all have to wait to what Chris has to say about that) plus the practicality, and the STI the all-wheel-drive + 300bhp setup witch should give it the upper hand, i think (you can’t be too sure about that these days).

    They say that the RS is a car that we can drive every day but i wonder… I heard the fuel consumption is far from great and with that much power on the front wheels i don’t think we’ll be saving money on front tyres.

    From what we see in the video the weather was sunny and the road was dry, so loads of traction there…i think it would have been quite interesting if it rained. I bet the impreza would have been the best car there (sorry guys, i can’t really help myself).

    We’re all guessing and speculating but only one man has the answer. Come on Chris!

  • Dom

    >>First, there are always two launches: a long-lead to give the monthly mags time to publish and a regular launch for the weeklys/websites (the one we were on). An embargo is set of those who went on the first event, to stop them stitching those who go on the second one. The Sunday Times ran the story early (naughty), so Autocar felt-(quite understandably- compelled to run their first drive too.

    Chris, just frustrated I didn’t (and still don’t) get to read about it on here – I’m sure your article will be great (as always.)

    And the less said about AutoExpres… 😉

  • Dom

    >>First, there are always two launches: a long-lead to give the monthly mags time to publish and a regular launch for the weeklys/websites (the one we were on). An embargo is set of those who went on the first event, to stop them stitching those who go on the second one. The Sunday Times ran the story early (naughty), so Autocar felt-(quite understandably- compelled to run their first drive too.

    Chris, just frustrated I didn’t (and still don’t) get to read about it on here – I’m sure your article will be great (as always.)

    And the less said about AutoExpres… 😉

  • Guys, I’ve seen the spread that Neil put together yesterday and the pictures are awesome. Dickie and I both stood looking over Neil’s shoulders and said “I wan’t one” – we didnt’t particularly care which one of the three in picture, any one of them would do.

    What struck me was we could have been equally looking at our supercar feature from last year (LP560-4, Scuderia and 911GT2) and have felt the same way. That’s amazing isn’t it? That we can be looking at a group of cars neither of which costs more than £30k and drooling over them in the same way as a bunch of £200k supercars. It’s a golden age, made even more ironic by the economic climate at the moment.

    Seriously if you have the means then you should go out and buy one of these cars, we need to encourage the manufacturers to keep making cars as desirable as these. The fact that R26.R’s weren’t sold out the moment they were available is almost a travesesty of our times. These are the sort of cars that you’d choose to downsize your living accomodation just to afford.

    P.s. you can tell that the rest of us are still eagerly waiting to see how the Focus RS fared in this test (I saw the pictures but not the words). The Reggie and Scooby were returned to their respective manufacturers yesterday, so I’m feeling a bit like a kid who’s had his bag of sweets taken away… 😉

  • Guys, I’ve seen the spread that Neil put together yesterday and the pictures are awesome. Dickie and I both stood looking over Neil’s shoulders and said “I wan’t one” – we didnt’t particularly care which one of the three in picture, any one of them would do.

    What struck me was we could have been equally looking at our supercar feature from last year (LP560-4, Scuderia and 911GT2) and have felt the same way. That’s amazing isn’t it? That we can be looking at a group of cars neither of which costs more than £30k and drooling over them in the same way as a bunch of £200k supercars. It’s a golden age, made even more ironic by the economic climate at the moment.

    Seriously if you have the means then you should go out and buy one of these cars, we need to encourage the manufacturers to keep making cars as desirable as these. The fact that R26.R’s weren’t sold out the moment they were available is almost a travesesty of our times. These are the sort of cars that you’d choose to downsize your living accomodation just to afford.

    P.s. you can tell that the rest of us are still eagerly waiting to see how the Focus RS fared in this test (I saw the pictures but not the words). The Reggie and Scooby were returned to their respective manufacturers yesterday, so I’m feeling a bit like a kid who’s had his bag of sweets taken away… 😉

  • awol

    Originally Posted By DomCar had a comparason with the Renault in their magazine – picked mine up on Tues. Top Gear and the Times also had articles….

    I don’t want to start a post war re Autocar and Sutters but there is no faster journo in the business imho – was a great article and video.

    I’m also really looking forward to what Chris has to say – but as I said, for me, my mind is made up. Irrelevant if buying new as no more Renaults left anyway

    There is no faster journo than Steve Sutcliffe, how amusing………. 🙂

    Oh and sorry for expressing my opinion. Obviously I’m trying to start at war, shame on me… off with my head! 🙂

  • awol

    Originally Posted By DomCar had a comparason with the Renault in their magazine – picked mine up on Tues. Top Gear and the Times also had articles….

    I don’t want to start a post war re Autocar and Sutters but there is no faster journo in the business imho – was a great article and video.

    I’m also really looking forward to what Chris has to say – but as I said, for me, my mind is made up. Irrelevant if buying new as no more Renaults left anyway

    There is no faster journo than Steve Sutcliffe, how amusing………. 🙂

    Oh and sorry for expressing my opinion. Obviously I’m trying to start at war, shame on me… off with my head! 🙂

  • Petr

    Chris says he was surprised by the results. So the winner must be the Sti, win for any of the other two wouldn’t be a suprise. Simple as that :o)

  • Petr

    Chris says he was surprised by the results. So the winner must be the Sti, win for any of the other two wouldn’t be a suprise. Simple as that :o)

  • Or is it…? 😉

  • Or is it…? 😉

  • Vlad

    autoexpress should step away from the pipe they are smoking and start taking their job seriously. JCW better car?! I’d pay money not to own one.

  • Vlad

    autoexpress should step away from the pipe they are smoking and start taking their job seriously. JCW better car?! I’d pay money not to own one.

  • Mark McTavish

    I just watched the Autocar videos on their site just now. I don’t understand why Ford are pushing Revo Knuckle as new? They were going on about how it was the first application of the technology when in actual fact Renault have been using it on the Megane R26 and Clio 197 for a few years? The Megane also has an ATB diff. as well…so really all the Focus has is more power and more weight?

  • Mark McTavish

    I just watched the Autocar videos on their site just now. I don’t understand why Ford are pushing Revo Knuckle as new? They were going on about how it was the first application of the technology when in actual fact Renault have been using it on the Megane R26 and Clio 197 for a few years? The Megane also has an ATB diff. as well…so really all the Focus has is more power and more weight?

  • Alistair Taylor

    Eagerly looking forward to this test as I’m in the market for two of the three cars, RS and STI, this summer. Sorry, Renault, I’m sure your car is great but your dealers are truly awful. After all the lyrical waxing the RS has received on a dry, billiard smooth and beautifully maintained N85, I can only hope we hear some degree of opinion on how the RS can cope on the UK’s cart tracks. Autocar seemed to skirt the issue completely, though it was at least mentioned in Car for a future group test. As for Auto Express. The Mini? Credibility? Take aim at foot and fire boys…

  • Alistair Taylor

    Eagerly looking forward to this test as I’m in the market for two of the three cars, RS and STI, this summer. Sorry, Renault, I’m sure your car is great but your dealers are truly awful. After all the lyrical waxing the RS has received on a dry, billiard smooth and beautifully maintained N85, I can only hope we hear some degree of opinion on how the RS can cope on the UK’s cart tracks. Autocar seemed to skirt the issue completely, though it was at least mentioned in Car for a future group test. As for Auto Express. The Mini? Credibility? Take aim at foot and fire boys…

  • jl123

    To figure out what’s in Chris’s head about the new RS, I think we should look at his last hatch test. Although I was dissappointed with the coverage of the R26.r in that article, Chris’s writing on the Impreza in context to the hot hatch genre, was pretty darn good and out of the box. No other maga/zine was able to make the case for the Impreza anywhere near how he did. Anyway heres what he said about the Impreza: “this is not a car to judge over a twenty minute drive.”–

    To paraphrase that…the Impreza is a car to judge over days if not weeks and months of driving on all manner of roads and conditions. He continues, “In being supple, the WRXS flows with the crests, contours and bumps of the road. It is the only car here that attempts to absorb them. At speeds that would have the others pinging off into the hedgegrows, the Impreza driver sluices on with no drama…Its not the smallest car here but after the mini, this is the one you’d want to thread down a narrow lane. And of course it is four-wheel drive which means it has no traction issues….I haven’t driven an affordable performance car that better suits the needs of UK roads for a very long time.”

    And last about the R26.R, Chris tells us that, “the middle of a January cold snap does force us to offer a measured re-classification of its place…” This meaning that a stiffly sprung, poorly damped car, with average to little wheel travel isn’t really the end all be all for most driving, even fast driving. Glad that was said, as too many think most all hot hatch can do it all.

    So what do I take this to imply about Chris’s upcoming RS comparison. Well that on the smooth, mostly dry mountain roads over Monte Carlo, the lightest car, with the stiffest (most sorted geometrically/hardest bushes) suspension, and best tires, will win- all other aspects being fairly equal. And thats the R26.R. Although it seems clear that the Ford- in Ford tradition, will have the better steering feel with better wheel travel, and out of tradition, with less torque steer. On UK type roads its obvious the results would change back to the RS- with said abilites, and indeed more likely it would be the Impreza Sti that would take it from even the RS.

    Indeed I hope this sort of view that Chris took in his hatchback review, will continue and be a part of the DR view of driving/handling of road based performance cars- in the full context to all that it takes to go fast with sanity. I could imagine the (the best all round Front drivers) Civic JDM type R, Original Integra R, and new Ford RS…up against the best 4wd drivers…the Litchfeld type 20, and GT-R– all going toe to toe and giving a full picture about what the best cars and set ups can and cannot do on a real sampling of roads. Interesting times for the intersection of the best cars and the right drivers republic.

    Lets see, Jeremy

  • jl123

    To figure out what’s in Chris’s head about the new RS, I think we should look at his last hatch test. Although I was dissappointed with the coverage of the R26.r in that article, Chris’s writing on the Impreza in context to the hot hatch genre, was pretty darn good and out of the box. No other maga/zine was able to make the case for the Impreza anywhere near how he did. Anyway heres what he said about the Impreza: “this is not a car to judge over a twenty minute drive.”–

    To paraphrase that…the Impreza is a car to judge over days if not weeks and months of driving on all manner of roads and conditions. He continues, “In being supple, the WRXS flows with the crests, contours and bumps of the road. It is the only car here that attempts to absorb them. At speeds that would have the others pinging off into the hedgegrows, the Impreza driver sluices on with no drama…Its not the smallest car here but after the mini, this is the one you’d want to thread down a narrow lane. And of course it is four-wheel drive which means it has no traction issues….I haven’t driven an affordable performance car that better suits the needs of UK roads for a very long time.”

    And last about the R26.R, Chris tells us that, “the middle of a January cold snap does force us to offer a measured re-classification of its place…” This meaning that a stiffly sprung, poorly damped car, with average to little wheel travel isn’t really the end all be all for most driving, even fast driving. Glad that was said, as too many think most all hot hatch can do it all.

    So what do I take this to imply about Chris’s upcoming RS comparison. Well that on the smooth, mostly dry mountain roads over Monte Carlo, the lightest car, with the stiffest (most sorted geometrically/hardest bushes) suspension, and best tires, will win- all other aspects being fairly equal. And thats the R26.R. Although it seems clear that the Ford- in Ford tradition, will have the better steering feel with better wheel travel, and out of tradition, with less torque steer. On UK type roads its obvious the results would change back to the RS- with said abilites, and indeed more likely it would be the Impreza Sti that would take it from even the RS.

    Indeed I hope this sort of view that Chris took in his hatchback review, will continue and be a part of the DR view of driving/handling of road based performance cars- in the full context to all that it takes to go fast with sanity. I could imagine the (the best all round Front drivers) Civic JDM type R, Original Integra R, and new Ford RS…up against the best 4wd drivers…the Litchfeld type 20, and GT-R– all going toe to toe and giving a full picture about what the best cars and set ups can and cannot do on a real sampling of roads. Interesting times for the intersection of the best cars and the right drivers republic.

    Lets see, Jeremy

  • Poobah

    JL123 – To correct your incorrect assumption. The R26R is actually softer sprung than the R26. Obviously due to the reduced weight of the vehicle they have been able to make it more softly sprung and hence more compliant. Its also no lower in ride height than the R26. In fact l wouldn’t mind betting my house that the R26R has more wheel travel than the RS and probably more suspension compliance.

    In comparison l’m expecting the ridiculously low profile tyres, massive wheels, increased weight and low ride height of the Focus RS to be one of its main flaws on UK rutted and poorly surfaced roads, when compared to the other two challengers.

  • Poobah

    JL123 – To correct your incorrect assumption. The R26R is actually softer sprung than the R26. Obviously due to the reduced weight of the vehicle they have been able to make it more softly sprung and hence more compliant. Its also no lower in ride height than the R26. In fact l wouldn’t mind betting my house that the R26R has more wheel travel than the RS and probably more suspension compliance.

    In comparison l’m expecting the ridiculously low profile tyres, massive wheels, increased weight and low ride height of the Focus RS to be one of its main flaws on UK rutted and poorly surfaced roads, when compared to the other two challengers.

  • Mark

    I agree with Poobah above as I can’t see the RS riding better than an R26.R. Bigger wheels, lower profile tyres and a lower ride height will surely equate to a harsher ride over badly surfaced roads.

    As has been said above, Ford’s ‘innovative’ revoknuckle addition to the suspension is essentially exactly the same as the technology already in use in an R26 and R26.6 and so there will be very little difference in the technology of the front suspensions of both cars. Whilst the RS is more powerful, it weighs significantly more than an R26.R and surely that extra mass will be detrimental through the twisties and will limit any significant distance in straight line speed.

  • Mark

    I agree with Poobah above as I can’t see the RS riding better than an R26.R. Bigger wheels, lower profile tyres and a lower ride height will surely equate to a harsher ride over badly surfaced roads.

    As has been said above, Ford’s ‘innovative’ revoknuckle addition to the suspension is essentially exactly the same as the technology already in use in an R26 and R26.6 and so there will be very little difference in the technology of the front suspensions of both cars. Whilst the RS is more powerful, it weighs significantly more than an R26.R and surely that extra mass will be detrimental through the twisties and will limit any significant distance in straight line speed.

  • @Poobah – I agree with you on the R26.R’s ride quality. I live in an area with pretty poor roads and during our January Hot Hatch test Chris was following me home – him in the Impreza WRXS and me in the R26.R.

    Despite damp cold conditions the R26.R was brilliant and Chris was having to work hard in the WRXS to keep up. The R26.R was flowing along my local bumpy b-roads without requiring steering correction or giving me any cause to see a chiropractor.

    There are far too many people who assume the R26.R is some hardcore track weapon when in fact it’s a perfectly soothing companion in most road conditions. It’s only compromises are the bucket seats, roll cage and vocal exhaust (if you opt for the titanium updgrade).

    I would gladly run one as a daily driver. (JT – don’t make me beg…again!)

  • @Poobah – I agree with you on the R26.R’s ride quality. I live in an area with pretty poor roads and during our January Hot Hatch test Chris was following me home – him in the Impreza WRXS and me in the R26.R.

    Despite damp cold conditions the R26.R was brilliant and Chris was having to work hard in the WRXS to keep up. The R26.R was flowing along my local bumpy b-roads without requiring steering correction or giving me any cause to see a chiropractor.

    There are far too many people who assume the R26.R is some hardcore track weapon when in fact it’s a perfectly soothing companion in most road conditions. It’s only compromises are the bucket seats, roll cage and vocal exhaust (if you opt for the titanium updgrade).

    I would gladly run one as a daily driver. (JT – don’t make me beg…again!)

  • Alan

    I never thought I would say this, but I think the Subaru is the best looker of this group, doesn’t say much for the others. I must admit I prefer the subtelty of the Focus longtermer you have been running. This one just has too many addons. The colour doesn’t help, how come Topgear seem to have been the only ones to have gotton hold of a nicer dark blue one.

  • Alan

    I never thought I would say this, but I think the Subaru is the best looker of this group, doesn’t say much for the others. I must admit I prefer the subtelty of the Focus longtermer you have been running. This one just has too many addons. The colour doesn’t help, how come Topgear seem to have been the only ones to have gotton hold of a nicer dark blue one.

  • Kristian

    Not sure why a couple have dissed Steve Sutcliffe. He is one of the best in the business if you ask me and well respected by most manufaturers which must say something. Autocar is great too, only a little less great that Chris is on DR now! Auto Express is total pants though!

    Anyway, eagerly awaiting this piece!

    Kris

  • Kristian

    Not sure why a couple have dissed Steve Sutcliffe. He is one of the best in the business if you ask me and well respected by most manufaturers which must say something. Autocar is great too, only a little less great that Chris is on DR now! Auto Express is total pants though!

    Anyway, eagerly awaiting this piece!

    Kris

  • I’m slightly puzzled as to how the reduced spring rates of the R26 R make it more compliant than the R26, given that it is significantly lighter, and, therefore, the relative stiffness of the suspension compared to the regular R26 is likely to be very similar.

    My Elise on track suspension has much lower spring rates than, say, a 911, but that doesn’t mean it rides any better.

    JP

  • I’m slightly puzzled as to how the reduced spring rates of the R26 R make it more compliant than the R26, given that it is significantly lighter, and, therefore, the relative stiffness of the suspension compared to the regular R26 is likely to be very similar.

    My Elise on track suspension has much lower spring rates than, say, a 911, but that doesn’t mean it rides any better.

    JP

  • Archie

    Its up! i haven’t read it just yet but great pics of the RS as usual from DR. keep it up

  • Archie

    Its up! i haven’t read it just yet but great pics of the RS as usual from DR. keep it up

  • Arthur

    An RS over an Sti? Check. But over an M3 CSL??????
    Pull the other one, Chris. This one’s really got bells on.
    Too much chardonnay, hairy women and chansons, perhaps.

  • Arthur

    An RS over an Sti? Check. But over an M3 CSL??????
    Pull the other one, Chris. This one’s really got bells on.
    Too much chardonnay, hairy women and chansons, perhaps.

  • Alistair

    Damn, now I might have to actually order one!!!

  • Alistair

    Damn, now I might have to actually order one!!!

  • Kristian

    So, you’d take one ahead of a CSL then Chris, does that mean I shouldn’t even by asking whether I should keep my E39 M5 or convert my RS deposit into a car?

    Kris

  • Kristian

    So, you’d take one ahead of a CSL then Chris, does that mean I shouldn’t even by asking whether I should keep my E39 M5 or convert my RS deposit into a car?

    Kris

  • Marty

    I don’t understand how Subaru have gone so astray with the STi. A decade ago the STi would have stomped anything from Ford and then run over some kittens for fun on the way home. Now, it’s the softie of the bunch?! I still like it, oddly, but it seems like you now have to pay someone like Litchfield a vast sum of money to get your car to steer nicely and be able to keep up with the new breed of cars like the R26.R and the RS.

    I didn’t think I’d like the RS, but the article has me sold. That exhaust note alone makes me want one very badly. In white. Yes, I’m fickle.

  • Marty

    I don’t understand how Subaru have gone so astray with the STi. A decade ago the STi would have stomped anything from Ford and then run over some kittens for fun on the way home. Now, it’s the softie of the bunch?! I still like it, oddly, but it seems like you now have to pay someone like Litchfield a vast sum of money to get your car to steer nicely and be able to keep up with the new breed of cars like the R26.R and the RS.

    I didn’t think I’d like the RS, but the article has me sold. That exhaust note alone makes me want one very badly. In white. Yes, I’m fickle.

  • paulw

    Interesting review, despite most of us guessing the outcome, some interesting insight along the way.
    Not sure about comparing with secondhand cars though, on that basis a high miles early ST, chipped with after market suspension for close to £10k may well steal the show?

  • paulw

    Interesting review, despite most of us guessing the outcome, some interesting insight along the way.
    Not sure about comparing with secondhand cars though, on that basis a high miles early ST, chipped with after market suspension for close to £10k may well steal the show?

  • And

    There’s a problem with the “Focus RS Launch” video, only half of it is online.

  • And

    There’s a problem with the “Focus RS Launch” video, only half of it is online.

  • @And – And, please try watching it again. I have just viewed it for the full 6min 43 and it ran fine. If you continue to have any issues then drop me an email and I will look into it further.

  • @And – And, please try watching it again. I have just viewed it for the full 6min 43 and it ran fine. If you continue to have any issues then drop me an email and I will look into it further.

  • judah777

    I really do not understand why DR and ever other magazine is making such a fuss over the RS “Revoknuckle” suspension.

    Jost Capito went on and on about how it gets closest to a Double-Wishbone set up in an interview on Autocar……….all the while I was just wondering why the RS did not have a Double-Wishbone set up in the first place.

    Any automotive engineer will tell you that is the best set up for any car, whether FWD, RWD or AWD.

    For many years Honda used an all-around double-wishbone set up. The Integra type R and Civic type R both had this set up until the 2001 model redesign which brought in a retro-grade twist beam rear(in the UK) and strut front set up.

    Why is it that a 2009 model year car is being so highly praised for doing what Honda accomplished over 10 years ago?

    Admittedly, the last Honda type R models to use a double-wishbone set up did not have 300bhp, but I know of many turbo or supercharged examples which do and suffer from NO torque-steer.

    Also, 1467kg is WAY too much for a FWD hatch. Ford should be ashamed it could not build it 100kg lighter. At 1467 the RS should be AWD, then maybe I could understand why is it so heavy.

    Strange how Chriss Harris himself said “it has wrong wheel drive” of a Megane when he was at Autocar during what I think was a car of the year competition, and now he is singing the praises of Ford´s new RS.

    I have no problem with FWD, but some consistency on the part of the journalists would be nice. If you are going to harp on about the “uncorrupted steering feel” offered by a Porsche or Lotus(or some other RWD car) then please do not tell me about a 300 FWD hatch having such a great steering feel as well. Make up your mind guys.

    There is a reason why sports cars have RWD, its called “physics”…..and no, car makers still have not figured out how to break its laws.

  • judah777

    I really do not understand why DR and ever other magazine is making such a fuss over the RS “Revoknuckle” suspension.

    Jost Capito went on and on about how it gets closest to a Double-Wishbone set up in an interview on Autocar……….all the while I was just wondering why the RS did not have a Double-Wishbone set up in the first place.

    Any automotive engineer will tell you that is the best set up for any car, whether FWD, RWD or AWD.

    For many years Honda used an all-around double-wishbone set up. The Integra type R and Civic type R both had this set up until the 2001 model redesign which brought in a retro-grade twist beam rear(in the UK) and strut front set up.

    Why is it that a 2009 model year car is being so highly praised for doing what Honda accomplished over 10 years ago?

    Admittedly, the last Honda type R models to use a double-wishbone set up did not have 300bhp, but I know of many turbo or supercharged examples which do and suffer from NO torque-steer.

    Also, 1467kg is WAY too much for a FWD hatch. Ford should be ashamed it could not build it 100kg lighter. At 1467 the RS should be AWD, then maybe I could understand why is it so heavy.

    Strange how Chriss Harris himself said “it has wrong wheel drive” of a Megane when he was at Autocar during what I think was a car of the year competition, and now he is singing the praises of Ford´s new RS.

    I have no problem with FWD, but some consistency on the part of the journalists would be nice. If you are going to harp on about the “uncorrupted steering feel” offered by a Porsche or Lotus(or some other RWD car) then please do not tell me about a 300 FWD hatch having such a great steering feel as well. Make up your mind guys.

    There is a reason why sports cars have RWD, its called “physics”…..and no, car makers still have not figured out how to break its laws.

  • Mark McTavish

    There is a simple reason for not choosing double wishbones for the Focus RS: they needed to use the original suspension mounting points to keep costs down. The Honda’s are designed to have double wishbones suspension from the word go and thus the Type R models don’t require huge alterations to their structure.

    FWD is always casually referred to as wrong wheel drive.

  • Mark McTavish

    There is a simple reason for not choosing double wishbones for the Focus RS: they needed to use the original suspension mounting points to keep costs down. The Honda’s are designed to have double wishbones suspension from the word go and thus the Type R models don’t require huge alterations to their structure.

    FWD is always casually referred to as wrong wheel drive.

  • jeremy

    Originally Posted By Steve@Poobah – I agree with you on the R26.R’s ride quality. I live in an area with pretty poor roads and during our January Hot Hatch test Chris was following me home – him in the Impreza WRXS and me in the R26.R.

    Despite damp cold conditions the R26.R was brilliant and Chris was having to work hard in the WRXS to keep up. The R26.R was flowing along my local bumpy b-roads without requiring steering correction or giving me any cause to see a chiropractor.

    There are far too many people who assume the R26.R is some hardcore track weapon when in fact it’s a perfectly soothing companion in most road conditions. It’s only compromises are the bucket seats, roll cage and vocal exhaust (if you opt for the titanium updgrade).

    I would gladly run one as a daily driver. (JT – don’t make me beg…again!)

    Steve,
    Based on Chris’s test, it would appear that he feels rather differently than you do about the R26.r. ?

    Might I take Chris’s word over yours?- if mainly because he spent so much more time with the cars than you did. So while you said that on one drive Chris had trouble keeping up with you, he said that, “the middle of a January cold snap does force us to offer a measured re-classification of its (r26) place…” which to me means either those toyo tires really let him down in a major way or the car was just too stiffly set up to take the sort of driving the WRX could. Or am I wrong here and he simply marked the car down due to no stereo and the cage? But it would seem from what Chris wrote it seems the WRX-S is the more accomplished B-roader. Maybe the verdict is still out?. As this is a republic it would be helpful if you and chris’s might have a bit of point counterpoint on cars as important and amazing as this? Certainly more interesting than the Geneva show.

    I also have no problem if quite frankly you and Chris simply disagree, your two different people with different driving styles/wants/needs. ITs just that people (especially who will never see a R26 with their own eyes) would like to hear more about it. Keep the dialogue going…. thats what your sites all about…JL

  • jeremy

    Originally Posted By Steve@Poobah – I agree with you on the R26.R’s ride quality. I live in an area with pretty poor roads and during our January Hot Hatch test Chris was following me home – him in the Impreza WRXS and me in the R26.R.

    Despite damp cold conditions the R26.R was brilliant and Chris was having to work hard in the WRXS to keep up. The R26.R was flowing along my local bumpy b-roads without requiring steering correction or giving me any cause to see a chiropractor.

    There are far too many people who assume the R26.R is some hardcore track weapon when in fact it’s a perfectly soothing companion in most road conditions. It’s only compromises are the bucket seats, roll cage and vocal exhaust (if you opt for the titanium updgrade).

    I would gladly run one as a daily driver. (JT – don’t make me beg…again!)

    Steve,
    Based on Chris’s test, it would appear that he feels rather differently than you do about the R26.r. ?

    Might I take Chris’s word over yours?- if mainly because he spent so much more time with the cars than you did. So while you said that on one drive Chris had trouble keeping up with you, he said that, “the middle of a January cold snap does force us to offer a measured re-classification of its (r26) place…” which to me means either those toyo tires really let him down in a major way or the car was just too stiffly set up to take the sort of driving the WRX could. Or am I wrong here and he simply marked the car down due to no stereo and the cage? But it would seem from what Chris wrote it seems the WRX-S is the more accomplished B-roader. Maybe the verdict is still out?. As this is a republic it would be helpful if you and chris’s might have a bit of point counterpoint on cars as important and amazing as this? Certainly more interesting than the Geneva show.

    I also have no problem if quite frankly you and Chris simply disagree, your two different people with different driving styles/wants/needs. ITs just that people (especially who will never see a R26 with their own eyes) would like to hear more about it. Keep the dialogue going…. thats what your sites all about…JL

  • Mark

    Lots of the existing R26.R owners live with the car day to day and have no complaints over the ride quality, though some have exprienced issues with the Toyo tyres and standing water. Much like the M3 CSL I’d imagine most owners will keep the toyo’s for track days and will fit another set of wheels with road tyres for day to day and wet track driving.

    With regards to the R26.R not having a radio, all the wiring for the radio and front speakers and tweeters comes pre-installed in the car so it doesnt take much expense or effort to fit a stereo.

    As an R26 owner there is no doubt in my mind that the R26.R is not to stiffly set up, it couldn’t possibly be as it has softer springs and better dampers than my R26 and I have no complaints over the ride quality of my car.

  • Mark

    Lots of the existing R26.R owners live with the car day to day and have no complaints over the ride quality, though some have exprienced issues with the Toyo tyres and standing water. Much like the M3 CSL I’d imagine most owners will keep the toyo’s for track days and will fit another set of wheels with road tyres for day to day and wet track driving.

    With regards to the R26.R not having a radio, all the wiring for the radio and front speakers and tweeters comes pre-installed in the car so it doesnt take much expense or effort to fit a stereo.

    As an R26 owner there is no doubt in my mind that the R26.R is not to stiffly set up, it couldn’t possibly be as it has softer springs and better dampers than my R26 and I have no complaints over the ride quality of my car.

  • Jeremy

    Mark,

    “As an R26 owner there is no doubt in my mind that the R26.R is not to stiffly set up, it couldn’t possibly be as it has softer springs and better dampers than my R26 and I have no complaints over the ride quality of my car.”

    So you feel that Chris down-rated the R26.r as a road car because of the toyo tires?
    I’m not sure that’s totally right? Certainly its partly true. However he went to some effort to call on the Impreza’s wheel travel and its totally different league damping as to why it could handle such challenging conditions.

    I’m sure Chris will eventually let us know more. thanks, Jeremy

  • Jeremy

    Mark,

    “As an R26 owner there is no doubt in my mind that the R26.R is not to stiffly set up, it couldn’t possibly be as it has softer springs and better dampers than my R26 and I have no complaints over the ride quality of my car.”

    So you feel that Chris down-rated the R26.r as a road car because of the toyo tires?
    I’m not sure that’s totally right? Certainly its partly true. However he went to some effort to call on the Impreza’s wheel travel and its totally different league damping as to why it could handle such challenging conditions.

    I’m sure Chris will eventually let us know more. thanks, Jeremy

  • @jeremy – Jerry, during our January test the Impreza WRXs was surprisingly capable, which came across in Chris’ words at the time. He also mentioned in this recent test of the Impreza STi that he found the WRXs more impressive.

    Also Chris as a driver prefers cars that ride well, have a bit of body roll and a steering that is not too alert, whereas I like an alert almost nervous steering and generally dislike body roll in cars. Jethro feels similar to me about the body roll of the WRXs, but has similar preferences to Chris in terms of steering response. It’s all about personal preference really, and long may it continue.

    Best way of describing the R26.R is that it rides in a firm and controlled manner, but due to its light weight it doesn’t ride harshly or crash into bumps – it floats in a firm manner if that makes any sense to you. It’s a common trait in lightweight models, and a feeling that I really like.

    I could drive an R26.R all day and not tire of it and Neil concurred with this view after he drove the R26.R through France for this test. It really isn’t hardcore to live with – I’d say it’s smoother to drive than my M3 CSL for example.

    I suspect the Focus RS (given my experience with the ST) feels quite different. It’s much heavier for a start and will likely feel softer than the R26.R. I can see what Chris means about the RS being easier to live with, I used to say the same thing about the E46 M3 and the CSL – I’d personally never choose to run my CSL every day (much preferring something more soothing), so I suspect that’s Chris’ reason for proposing the RS as being the better every day car.

  • @jeremy – Jerry, during our January test the Impreza WRXs was surprisingly capable, which came across in Chris’ words at the time. He also mentioned in this recent test of the Impreza STi that he found the WRXs more impressive.

    Also Chris as a driver prefers cars that ride well, have a bit of body roll and a steering that is not too alert, whereas I like an alert almost nervous steering and generally dislike body roll in cars. Jethro feels similar to me about the body roll of the WRXs, but has similar preferences to Chris in terms of steering response. It’s all about personal preference really, and long may it continue.

    Best way of describing the R26.R is that it rides in a firm and controlled manner, but due to its light weight it doesn’t ride harshly or crash into bumps – it floats in a firm manner if that makes any sense to you. It’s a common trait in lightweight models, and a feeling that I really like.

    I could drive an R26.R all day and not tire of it and Neil concurred with this view after he drove the R26.R through France for this test. It really isn’t hardcore to live with – I’d say it’s smoother to drive than my M3 CSL for example.

    I suspect the Focus RS (given my experience with the ST) feels quite different. It’s much heavier for a start and will likely feel softer than the R26.R. I can see what Chris means about the RS being easier to live with, I used to say the same thing about the E46 M3 and the CSL – I’d personally never choose to run my CSL every day (much preferring something more soothing), so I suspect that’s Chris’ reason for proposing the RS as being the better every day car.