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      01-29-2017, 01:08 PM   #1
wjones14
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Focus RS test drive

I got a 5 mile test drive in a Focus RS yesterday. The car had 9 miles on it and I added 5 more. I did not go past half throttle nor push the car hard in turns at all, but still was able to get a good feel for the car on both city and highway roads.

Impressions:
  • Exhaust - crackles more than my MP exhaust. I had read that it only pops at higher revs, but it was popping all the time. The exhaust note was louder inside the car with the windows up than mine. Sounded better to be honest as it was more raw sounding.
  • Instrumentation - oil temp, oil pressure, water temp, boost gauge. Enough said.
  • Infotainment - did not fool with the Sync 3 touchscreen, but it looked good. Wish it had old-fashioned knobs for radio tuning and volume, but at least the steering wheel had the buttons to adjust the radio. Had rear camera and navigation, of course.
  • Interior appearance - pretty cheap and bland. But, the Recaro front seats (RS2 option) were made of nice material and had nice stitching, and the stitching on the leather steering wheel also looked nice.
  • Exterior appearance - despite the wing spoiler and other aero parts, it's still unmistakably a Focus. The Nitrous Blue paint, however, is stunning. It's metallic, and really pops in the sunlight. It was a lot less impressive when it became overcast, but still a head-turning color. The car also had the black wheel package with Michelin Cup 2 tires, and the wheels looked great, especially with the blue-painted Brembo calipers up front. The rear calipers were painted matching blue as well, but unfortunately looked small and cheap compared to the Brembos up front.
  • Ride and Handling - every review says the ride is harsh to the point of being unbearable, but it didn't seem so to me. Maybe I'm used to my rock-hard Mini ride. :-) The RS in Normal mode was more or less the same ride quality of my BMW in Sport mode.
  • Seating position and ergonomics - the car is easy to get into and out of. The seating position is higher than I'm used to, but okay. It was easy to adjust the seatback for a comfortable driving position. The Recaro seats were comfortable and had plenty of bolstering. Getting into the back seats was easy as well. It's a comfortable car for passengers, front and back.
  • Steering - excellent wheel and excellent feel. Better than the M235i. Nice weighting in all driving modes. It's darty too, almost to the point of being twitchy.

Why was I even looking at the RS? Two reasons mainly: 1) it's a more practical daily driver with the hatch, 4 doors, and AWD (with 6MT) than the 2D M235i RWD with the small-ish trunk; and 2) I thought it might have a little less boring appearance than my M235i.

After the test drive, I'm convinced that it would be more practical, but not so convinced that it would be any less boring looking, compared to mine. The color is not boring, but it's still a Focus. Most non-enthusiasts would not give the car a second look, other than that paint job.

The thing that made me realize that there's no way I would trade mine for the RS is the amount of depreciation I would lose. Almost $20K in less than 2 years! Their initial offer was MSRP plus $3K mark up for the RS, and $32K for mine. No way. They came back with MSRP for the RS ($43,300) and $32,500 for mine. After taxes and fees it was my car plus $12K out the door.

If it was my car plus $5K, it would have been a tough decision. It was a no-brainer at $12K.

Edit: I should add that mine has 7500 miles and is in near-showroom condition, so it should get the highest possible trade value.
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Last edited by wjones14; 01-29-2017 at 01:14 PM..
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      01-29-2017, 02:49 PM   #2
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mark ups (for a non-limited edition car) are for suckers.

that car at msrp is still a win-win for the stealership

glad you are not a sucker.
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      01-29-2017, 03:01 PM   #3
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Mark up LOL
MSRP LOL

Also, if you didn't get past part throttle or push it in turns, you really didn't get to DRIVE the car.
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      01-29-2017, 03:44 PM   #4
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$43k for a focus? I had to google/Ebay it to believe it.

Are there any cars that aren't grossly overpriced at this point? I've never seen anything like it. The wonders of low interest rates, eight year car loans, and leases. Doing for the car industry what all that BS did to mortgages and student loans. Debt slaves.
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      01-29-2017, 03:47 PM   #5
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The RS is a nice car but I had higher hopes for it. It seems to on par with the WRX and EVO. Which I was hoping it would be better than those two.

Depreciation does suck. Best to try private party for your car if you really want to get the RS. Heck, I'd even look for a CPO RS. Might be able to get the RS for a better price.

Markups for ANY car are ridiculous. Dealers do those because they know people will pay it just to have the car. Its money that goes straight to the dealers pocket. I wish it was illegal for a dealer to charge any markup. Its not like they will lose any money if they sale it at MSRP.
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      01-29-2017, 03:50 PM   #6
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And this is why I always buy cars at least 4yrs old. I got my 2011 E90 December of 2015 for 19k with 65k on the odometer. Plenty of fun left in the car and nowhere near the ridiculous MSRP.

I'll own a GT-R soon, when they dip into the 30s.
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      01-29-2017, 04:03 PM   #7
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I just did a quick autotrader search for "used" Focus RS. Found one with 1K miles for $37K. Two pages worth nationwide.

I think I'd wait a bit; prices should fall back to earth soon. I bought a new 2005 STi (2nd year in the US) and had dealers fighting for my business. Wound up with a very substantial discount (and a hootful of car).
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      01-29-2017, 04:17 PM   #8
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How can you say a 4-cylinder + fart can sounds better than your BMW's silky smooth 6-cylinder ?
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      01-29-2017, 05:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satan'sChariot View Post
Mark up LOL
MSRP LOL

Also, if you didn't get past part throttle or push it in turns, you really didn't get to DRIVE the car.
MSRP and MSRP plus markup is what you're looking at with the M2 also. Not that I'd compare the two though.

And yes, I didn't really "drive" the car if you mean test its limits. I'm one of those guys who follows the manufacturer's break-in recommendation, so I wasn't about to abuse a car that someone else was going to buy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickyC View Post
$43k for a focus? I had to google/Ebay it to believe it.
The base price was $36,120. This car had $6500 worth of options. Wheels and tires were $1900; paint was $700; Recaros were $2800, and moonroof was $900.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelwright View Post
How can you say a 4-cylinder + fart can sounds better than your BMW's silky smooth 6-cylinder ?
Ha ha... well, it is a 350/350 4-cylinder, so it's not like it's a chump engine. And the exhaust looked a lot like the MP exhaust - two good size pipes coming out of a decent sized muffler. I guess the pops between shifts is what sounded better than mine. I liked the sound of it for sure. It's nothing at all like a 4-cylinder Honda with a fart can muffler.
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      01-29-2017, 05:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjones14 View Post


Ha ha... well, it is a 350/350 4-cylinder, so it's not like it's a chump engine. And the exhaust looked a lot like the MP exhaust - two good size pipes coming out of a decent sized muffler. I guess the pops between shifts is what sounded better than mine. I liked the sound of it for sure. It's nothing at all like a 4-cylinder Honda with a fart can muffler.
Big things about the RS I didn't like was the interior, and the fact that the car does overheat at the track. Had a buddy drive one on the track for three laps and the damn rear differential overheated on him.

Also, no replacement for displacement the straight six and sound will always feel and sound better. It just disappointed me how all they did was swap out the ST interior and replaces the badges with RS.
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      01-29-2017, 06:00 PM   #11
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I still can't get past the looks of the car. From my perspective, it looks like a silly putty egg, especially in that blue color.
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      01-29-2017, 06:03 PM   #12
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picture of the RS exhaust:
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      01-29-2017, 06:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shad0wfax View Post
I still can't get past the looks of the car. From my perspective, it looks like a silly putty egg, especially in that blue color.
It doesn't have Italian styling, that's for sure.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. IMO, it's a lot better looking than the bland GTI - you're talking hatchbacks, so there's only so much you can do... The color has to be seen in person. Then again, if you like subtle colors, it's not for you. My last car was a Screaming Yellow '05 Mustang, so that's where I'm coming from. Nitrous Blue is right up my alley. If they made one in yellow, I would like that as well.
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      01-29-2017, 06:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjones14 View Post
MSRP and MSRP plus markup is what you're looking at with the M2 also. Not that I'd compare the two though.

And yes, I didn't really "drive" the car if you mean test its limits. I'm one of those guys who follows the manufacturer's break-in recommendation, so I wasn't about to abuse a car that someone else was going to buy.



The base price was $36,120. This car had $6500 worth of options. Wheels and tires were $1900; paint was $700; Recaros were $2800, and moonroof was $900.



Ha ha... well, it is a 350/350 4-cylinder, so it's not like it's a chump engine. And the exhaust looked a lot like the MP exhaust - two good size pipes coming out of a decent sized muffler. I guess the pops between shifts is what sounded better than mine. I liked the sound of it for sure. It's nothing at all like a 4-cylinder Honda with a fart can muffler.
You should have at least pushed it some. Why else test drive a performance vehicle?

What I am saying is MSRP or mark up on any car = LOL to me. I would never pay either. Maybe if I were Richie Rich & $ doesn't matter I would. Definitely not on an M2 or Focus.
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      01-29-2017, 08:16 PM   #15
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They made the RS seem like the next best thing but reading your review it doesn't appear to be that great
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      01-30-2017, 06:07 AM   #16
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How does it fare compared to say an

Audi RS3 hatchback


or a

Mercedes Benz A45 AMG
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      01-30-2017, 09:09 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackraven View Post
How does it fare compared to say an

Audi RS3 hatchback

or a

Mercedes Benz A45 AMG
Short answer is that the RS is half the price of the AMG, and judging from that picture, they look very similar. Don't know much about the Audi except that the engines both output about 350 lb/ft torque.
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      01-30-2017, 09:14 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by last1left View Post
They made the RS seem like the next best thing but reading your review it doesn't appear to be that great
Did my review sound negative? I was comparing it to my M235i, and the only area I felt that still had a ways to go to catch up was the interior. Everything else was pretty darn good.
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      01-30-2017, 10:57 AM   #19
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I almost dropped the hammer on the rs. There weren't any going under 50k in socal. The focus can be driven fast easily. The Rs is a great car but the markups severely damage it. People say they wouldn't pay x price for x car. After kinda taking a step back I don't really agree. For 35k the focus rs is about as balls out as it can get.
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      01-30-2017, 12:43 PM   #20
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I sat in one the day before I bought my 235, it was not comfortable to me at all to sit in and a pain to get out of....man I sound old.

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      01-30-2017, 12:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaungo View Post
Big things about the RS I didn't like was the interior, and the fact that the car does overheat at the track. Had a buddy drive one on the track for three laps and the damn rear differential overheated on him.

Also, no replacement for displacement the straight six and sound will always feel and sound better. It just disappointed me how all they did was swap out the ST interior and replaces the badges with RS.
you my friend are totally wrong.
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      01-31-2017, 02:02 PM   #22
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I had a friend kind enough to let me borrow his ST for a drive from Houston to Austin and back the same day. It's about 3hrs if you're cruising and mostly just straight. I will say even then I had a great time with the car. I made a point to take some of the windy turns around the park that also featured decent elevation changes mid-apex. I respect the car, and think they're cool. I bet an RS would be even better, but to me at least not for that price. But I can't fault you because I've paid way more than friends would for speakers based on my perceived value.
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