Used car buying guide: Ford Focus RS (Mk3)

At this point, you will probably be wondering how much all this costs. Well, the good news is the Focus RS can now be yours for just £22,000 used – and that’s nearly £7000 less than the equivalent used Audi RS3.

Unfortunately, when you’re tackling town traffic, the Focus RS can feel a little lumpy. The cloven hoof is apparent at slower speeds, where the engine lacks character and the ride becomes extremely choppy. The steering lock is limited, too, and the driving position is a little compromised.

However, beneath the vivacious styling and vicious drivetrain, this is still a Focus. So it has enough storage space for clutter and the standard five-door bodystyle means it’s very practical. Mind you, the infotainment system with its rather small 8.0in touchscreen and buttoncrazed dashboard can be tricky to use on the move, while material quality is mixed, with some scratchy plastics located, disappointingly, in just those areas that you’re likely to touch. .

So, the Focus RS is far from the last word in interior quality, nor is it the most sensible-looking car or the nicest to drive around town. But for the sheer joy of driving, it’s a truly excellent car and a great used buy.

What we said then

4 May 2016: “The RS isn’t an easy car to live with: it’s too thirsty, its seats are too high and the opportunities to exploit its handling are not ever-present. But if the modern interpretation of RS has finally established itself as anything, it’s occasional, high-end pleasure. To find something that corners with the same ability, breathtaking confidence and mind-bending mechanical trickery, you have to look at a car like the Nissan GT-R.”

An expert’s view

Stephen Vincent, performance car sales specialist, Hendy Performance: “The Focus RS is a brilliant car. It can be antisocial if you put it into Sport mode, with pops and bangs from the exhaust, but it’s a fantastic all-rounder, too. It’s a standard family vehicle – you can drive to work and have heated seats – that on the right road transforms into a completely different car. It puts a smile on your face and makes you feel like a child. Just be aware that cars from 2016 and some from early 2017 had a recall for an issue that would make the head gasket blow up.”

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