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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
So like the title says, I test drove a Nitrous Blue 2016 RS so I wanted to write a quick review on it.

Appearance:
First and foremost, I love how it looks. I think it has enough of the ST in it and enough thats new. I really like the hood shape and I am glad they didnt change it. I think it has an aggressive appearance is it looks better than the smooth hood from the 2013-14 (IMO).
I love the front bumper. They did a nice job opening it up to expose more of the radiator and IC, which I really like. They also added some black mesh which I thought was a nice touch.
The one thing I an not a huge fan of is the rear bumper. While I like the black rear valance and the vortex generators and the dual exhaust, I didnt really like how the very bottom portion of the bumper seemed to flare out a bit. It made me think of an underbite and I felt as though it took a little away from the style.

Interior:
I drove the highest package RS they had and I really liked some of the interior touches. The partially trimmed leather seats were very comfortable, and I could see myself taking a 8 hr trip in them. They were a bit nicer than the feel of my ST3 seats. In addition, I really liked the steering wheel feel. Yes the shape is the exact same as my 15 ST but they leather quality was substantially improved. It was a much finer and smoother grain than on my ST and it seemed to have a little more cushion for the grip. My eyes were also immediately drawn to the blue stitching, I thought that was a really nice touch and I wish they did it on the ST. Other than that, the rest of the interior was just mehh. It has the exact same feel as the ST, buttons are located in the same spot and dash was the same. I felt as a whole the interior was just OK. For the 40K price point I would hope they would have done something different to stand out and make if feel like its worth the extra 10k but I didnt get that feel from the RS.
I think the ST3 interior is more impressive on the ST than the RS. Even though they are pretty much the same I think this is the difference for me. On the ST, its a 30k car, so when you get in and see the cool look, the nice seats, the bells and whistles you feel as though you are getting a lot for a 30k price point. On the RS, the interior didnt seem like it was offering enough for someone to get in and feel like its the interior of a 40k car.

Engine:
When I popped the hood, I was impressed with what I saw. The simple engine cover was nice and I really liked what they did with the airbox. Visually, it had a nice appeal. Looking at what it can do and how its made I think its impressive. 350 hp/ 350tq for a 4 cylinder is pretty sweet! I have been a fan of the ecoboost engine, it seems to be a very solid platform that can even support modding. It delivers great power numbers and decent fuel economy.

Performance: I drove in Sport and Track mode
To be 100% honest, I was not blown away with the performance and feel of the car when driving. Right off the bat I noticed two things.
1) The clutch seemed to have a shorter throw and a softer spring. The length wasnt really as big of a deal but I was not a fan of how soft the clutch felt. I grabbed and heal really well but for me when I drive a performance car, I like a heavy clutch. It makes me feel like theres an upgraded clutch in and to me it adds to the feel of "Racecar". I felt as the though my ST had a stiffer clutch so to me I felt like my ST won the clutch category.
2) The shifter, while very smooth, felt light. I know the heavy shifter is not desired by most people, but to me there is a point where it feels too light, and to me the RS was flirting with it. A light shifter to me feels cheap and it feels like if Im slamming it through the gears, that ill snap it off. Anyone who has driven the FiST will know what I mean when I say light shifter feeling cheap.
While it was no where near as bad as the FiST, it was still too light for my liking. I personally think the ST shifter is a bit to heavy and clunky, a nice middle ground between the ST and the RS would be ideal for me.

As I started driving, I clearly was punching it. To be 100% honest, I was a bit let down by the performance and accel of the RS. for a car that has 350 hp/tq, i was expecting much more in terms of acceleration. Especially since it was AWD....
I was looking for the feel that at any moment I was going to break traction and I just couldnt really getting it there without launching. The AWD had a lot of grip which I like but I was hoping that if I WANTED to, I would be able to drive it on the edge of traction like I can my ST.
That being said though, I think Ford did a good job of controlling the power and were able to deliver it to the ground efficiently. In a way, I guess I hoped they didnt do as good of a job with that if that makes sense??

It really didnt feel that fast though. The torque seemed like a let down, and when I switch on data collection mode of my butt dyno I can honestly say that it didnt FEEL much, if any faster than my ST. I know that the RS IS faster, but idk if it was the awd or the lack of torque steer but when I gave it the beans, it FELT like my ST would have kept up no problem.

Maybe my butt dyno is out of spec and needs to be sent out for re-calibration.

Other:
The exhaust doeeeeeeeee *Drool*!!!!!!! I think it looks amazing. I have always loved the dual tip look and I am glad they did it for the RS. But beyond the looks, the sound is intoxicating. Outside the car, Idle sounded sweet and I sure it sound great when doing a flyby. Inside is a little different. While it still sound great, the cabin deadens the sound quite a bit. I wish i could have heard it a tad more under normal driving conditions.
While under hard acceleration though it comes to life inside the cabin. The aggressive tone is great and all but the part I liked the most was the backfiring. While under hard accel, when I would throw the clutch in to upshift, the exhaust would pop, and it brought a smile to my face every time. Even when downshifting, the pops and cracks where great and I was smiling ear to ear.


All in All:
At the end of the day I liked the car but I was left a bit disappointed. For a 40,000 price tag, I didnt think I would be able to justify ever really buying one. Interior is a huge deal to me and honestly it really didnt feel much different than the ST and I was a bit disappointed. Also, performance wise, while quick, it didnt blow me away. It felt very similar to the ST and for those and the other reasons I listed above, I dont really think its worth the extra 10,000.

All of what was said was just my feelings and opinions, I know many of you may not agree with me but I wanted to share my experience just to be another voice on the subject. Please dont crucify me on here if you dont agree with me lol

Thanks for reading!
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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Butt dynos are highly inaccurate and never a good indicator of performance. In reality they are more then $10k more then an ST when you consider not only possible dealer mark ups but you can easily get $5k off of an ST if you time it right. I got my $26k MSRP 2016 ST1 for $21k in August while they were looking to bring in the 2017s. So it's more like a $15 to $20k price premium rather than $10k.

Beautiful car though with staggering track performance out of the box. Put a little money into modding it, and it's downright nasty. If I had wanted an AWD sport hatch though, I would have probably gone with a used Subaru. I have a winter beater 4x4 though, and don't really care about AWD.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Butt dynos are highly inaccurate and never a good indicator of performance. In reality they are more then $10k more then an ST when you consider not only possible dealer mark ups but you can easily get $5k off of an ST if you time it right. I got my $26k MSRP 2016 ST1 for $21k in August while they were looking to bring in the 2017s. So it's more like a $15 to $20k price premium rather than $10k.

Beautiful car though with staggering track performance out of the box. Put a little money into modding it, and it's downright nasty. If I had wanted an AWD sport hatch though, I would have probably gone with a used Subaru. I have a winter beater 4x4 though, and don't really care about AWD.
Yes I agree, the butt dyno isnt an accurate measure. Yes I know the performance is better in the RS, but like I said, it didnt FEEL much different than the ST in my seat
 

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Yes I agree, the butt dyno isnt an accurate measure. Yes I know the performance is better in the RS, but like I said, it didnt FEEL much different than the ST in my seat
I feel like the only way you could feel the "man I want this thing" feeling that is associated with this Butt dyno disappointment you're sensing is by lining it up beside your's or having one lined up beside you and watch it blow the doors off.
 

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How many miles did it have on it? I heard there is a break in point for that car and it gets better after 1000 miles or so. You're paying for AWD and the power comes very linear so it likely won't have that "wow" as with the ST the power isn't as linear so it 'feels' faster. My question is, have you driven a golf r, sti, evo? How did you compare it to those? They are all in the same category but are very different I feel. They all have their touches.
 

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How many miles did it have on it? I heard there is a break in point for that car and it gets better after 1000 miles or so. You're paying for AWD and the power comes very linear so it likely won't have that "wow" as with the ST the power isn't as linear so it 'feels' faster. My question is, have you driven a golf r, sti, evo? How did you compare it to those? They are all in the same category but are very different I feel. They all have their touches.
This part right here is also why when you get Cobb Traction Control or a tuner's replica of it your car feels MUCH less sporty...even though it's actually faster. It smoothes out the power to eliminate wheel spin and you feel slower. I will say that for this very reason, however I see why the OP said what he said. It probably did feel slower with less throw you in your seat...it just threw you back into the seat longer and more consistently.
 

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Like the others have said, it may not feel much faster, but what you are paying for more than anything is AWD and a bigger engine with more build potential. I think once the mods really take flight for the RS we will start seeing some monsters, and at that point, the AWD is going to make all the difference in the world. I mean, anyone who has upgraded their turbo on the ST is struggling with traction issues in low gears so that would be a HUGE plus for me. All of that being said, since most people are not taking their cars on a track or regularly lining up with other cars the butt dyno is more important than most other qualities in this type of car. For the money difference, I would want it to feel $10k+ faster, which it just doesn't in its stock form. Still, I'd love to have one, and maybe once we start seeing them in the used market I will be able to pick one up more affordably.
 
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As I started driving, I clearly was punching it.
Yeah, if I bought an RS I'd make sure it has about 0 miles. I am sure OP is a great driver, but I don't need every wah-hoo in the state seeing how fast the car can go before I buy it.
 
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As I started driving, I clearly was punching it.
Yeah, if I bought an RS I'd make sure it has about 0 miles. I am sure OP is a great driver, but I don't need every wah-hoo in the state seeing how fast the car can go before I buy it.
I recently got to drive a Golf R. It's been constantly below freezing around here and the salesman told me to "hit it" right out of the dealership. Car wasn't even on for a minute at that point. I declined, but I am sure others were more than happy to oblige them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
How many miles did it have on it? I heard there is a break in point for that car and it gets better after 1000 miles or so. You're paying for AWD and the power comes very linear so it likely won't have that "wow" as with the ST the power isn't as linear so it 'feels' faster. My question is, have you driven a golf r, sti, evo? How did you compare it to those? They are all in the same category but are very different I feel. They all have their touches.
I probably had it for 8 miles or so, they wouldnt let me take it longer. And the linear power delivery I get, but part of the fact I like turbos is because you can feel a sudden surge forward once it spools.
I understand ideally if you can eliminate turbo lag and keep power deliver more linear the better off you are. If I was building a race car, I would try to avoid building something that had a good amount of turbo lag, so Id do a anti lag system or a supercharger even.
Dont get me wrong, It was fast. But I almost didnt feel the power delivery. The exhaust was really the only thing that was q good indicator for how much I was pushing it.
I have had a chance to drive an R, STI or EVO


PSA: Im not hating on the RS, I was just not as impressed as I thought I would have been. I may have just overhyped it in my head and was let down a bit when it didnt meet expectations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As I started driving, I clearly was punching it.
Yeah, if I bought an RS I'd make sure it has about 0 miles. I am sure OP is a great driver, but I don't need every wah-hoo in the state seeing how fast the car can go before I buy it.
I told the salesman that I had no intention of buying, and he was still cool with letting me take it.
I told him how I was going to drive and he said I could.
The dealership and I have a good relationship so when they get something good in they give me a call and tell me to come drive stuff.

Yes I understand break in is super important but how many chances does one get to drive an RS

EDIT: I also let it warm up properly, engine and oil temps where where they should be
 
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I think I'd be ok with a bigger turbo that carried a bit of lag in an AWD car. It gives them character. That was part of the fun of my Talon - anticipating that sudden kick in the back as the revs climb. No fear of breaking loose or torque-steering into the ditch, which made it enjoyable anywhere. Not a great thing to have if you're racing someone, but life with a car isn't 100% about proving who's faster.

I'd want an RS just for the AWD alone. The ST frustrates me sometimes when I have to get out of my work parking lot onto a busy, fast frontage road. There are some circumstances when I don't want to have to wrestle with wheel spin and wheel hop. But I won't pay $40,000 to solve that issue.
 

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The RS is a capable car and technically superior to an ST in every single way. However having driven both on the street the ST still gives me more "Fizz" as James May would say. The power delivery is different in both cars, but as others have said the ST feels quicker, which of course is not true.

Rory Reid of the new Top Gear described the RS as a three car garage. Which is really accurate. It's a capable daily driver, it's a fun weekend car and a really good track car. 40K for that is a pretty good deal.

I see the ST as a two car garage. A capable daily driver and a really fun weekend car. And considering I really don't go on track days, that's more than enough for me.
 
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I told the salesman that I had no intention of buying, and he was still cool with letting me take it.
I told him how I was going to drive and he said I could.
The dealership and I have a good relationship so when they get something good in they give me a call and tell me to come drive stuff.

Yes I understand break in is super important but how many chances does one get to drive an RS

EDIT: I also let it warm up properly, engine and oil temps where where they should be
I don't think you did anything wrong. I am just saying if I was getting a car like that, I would want to be the one breaking it in. Nothing against your test drive in particular, everyone who tests them probably does it.
 
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Aside from the rarity of them and I suppose the enthusiast aspect, I feel like if I really wanted a AWD hatchback to turn into a monster, I'd get a 1-5 year old STi for half of the price. Hell, if I didn't care about the hatchback aspect (and I don't), I'd get an Evo X which I still think is one of the best looking four-bangers of recent years. I love the RS, I love the possibilities it has, but when I hear people spending $45k+ on them, it's just too much. Like others have said, the interior quality is definitely very good for a $25k Focus but not a $40k+ one. With dealers wanting to bump up the RS' price by $5-10k (and yes, a RS2 in NJ just recently sold for the dealer's sticker price of $42k + $10k markup), it's just not worth it, in my opinion.

At that price point, I'd rather get a Chevy SS, Audi S3, or bump it up a little more and get a S4. Sure, the two Audi's aren't as fast but at least they'll feel like I'm sitting in a $40k car. The SS is a monster with a better interior and the legendary LS(3). Like I said, I love the RS but at the price that they're going for, there are better options in my opinion. Just my two cents.
 

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I own a 2013 ST and 2016 RS and the RS is the bomb....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Aside from the rarity of them and I suppose the enthusiast aspect, I feel like if I really wanted a AWD hatchback to turn into a monster, I'd get a 1-5 year old STi for half of the price. Hell, if I didn't care about the hatchback aspect (and I don't), I'd get an Evo X which I still think is one of the best looking four-bangers of recent years. I love the RS, I love the possibilities it has, but when I hear people spending $45k+ on them, it's just too much. Like others have said, the interior quality is definitely very good for a $25k Focus but not a $40k+ one. With dealers wanting to bump up the RS' price by $5-10k (and yes, a RS2 in NJ just recently sold for the dealer's sticker price of $42k + $10k markup), it's just not worth it, in my opinion.

At that price point, I'd rather get a Chevy SS, Audi S3, or bump it up a little more and get a S4. Sure, the two Audi's aren't as fast but at least they'll feel like I'm sitting in a $40k car. The SS is a monster with a better interior and the legendary LS(3). Like I said, I love the RS but at the price that they're going for, there are better options in my opinion. Just my two cents.
Even comparing the price to it's competitors makes it pretty hard for me to justify the price. I can grab a loaded Golf R or a STI for ~38k. The RS local to me is 45k. $7k is quite a bit of extra money for not a whole lot more. 7k thrown into either of the other two is well on your way to some nice builds as well.

It's a shame they ruined it for a lot of us by making it so limited. I know it's kind of Fords thing to do with models like this, but the world could always do with some more AWD hot hatches.
 

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I haven't driven one, but this has been my thoughts on it. I think the ST is a killer deal for low 20s and only a couple grand more than a decently equipped SE, which is also a good car for the money, but at $40k+ I'd need a nicer interior and build quality (or something classic or self-built which would have neither). It will be a great used car if you can find one that was taken care of, though, and it will likely be far more collectable and remembered than the ST.
 
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