Ford Focus RS (2016-2018) review - Reliability and Safety

Focus RS’s mass-market roots mean it should be a dependable sports car

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability and Safety Rating

3.6 out of 5

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The Focus RS is essentially an uprated version of the standard Focus hatch. It uses the same electronics and infotainment system as the standard car, while some of the mechanical parts are uprated kit developed from the Focus ST hot hatch.

The 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine is a development of the 2.0-litre EcoBoost in the Focus ST, and it’s also found in the Ford Mustang. However, bespoke components in the Focus RS mean power has been bumped up to 345bhp, making it the most powerful EcoBoost engine in the line-up. The six-speed manual gearbox is also a beefed up version of the transmission in the Focus ST, while Ford’s RS department has plenty of experience in motorsport, and its engineers will know how to build a car that is fast and reliable.

The chassis has been developed to deliver an involving drive, while the car’s electronics are designed to help you explore the car’s limits with an electronic safety net in place should things go wrong. There are four Drive Modes, while the four-wheel-drive system and its torque vectoring electronics should ensure the Focus RS is a sure-footed performer, even in the wet.

The standard Focus has a five-star Euro NCAP rating earned in 2012, and the RS model should be equally safe. Standard kit on the flagship model includes six airbags, tyre pressure monitors, auto lights and wipers, a Quickclear windscreen and high-performance Brembo brakes. Autonomous emergency braking was a £200 option.

The Focus RS is well built from plenty of bespoke materials, and considering the mass-market standard car performed reasonably well in our Driver Power survey, the tailor-made RS model should be a solid and reliable machine. It certainly feels well built, with plenty of soft-touch plastics used throughout. 


As with the standard Focus, you get a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty on the RS model. That’s similar to rivals, while the 12-year corrosion warranty covers the paintwork against manufacturing defects. There’s a one-year roadside assistance policy with the Focus RS, while Ford offers warranty extensions of 1-2 years for a little extra outlay. 


The Focus RS has the same service intervals as the standard car, at one year or 12,500 miles, and it doesn't need to go to an RS specialist to be tended to. It’ll be pretty easy to get your car maintained, too, as Ford has over 700 dealers across the country, just don’t expect a first-class service. Ford’s franchises finished poorly in our Driver Power survey, with owners complaining of a lack of personal service from its franchises.

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