• Great looks
  • That 5 cylinder growl
  • Quite deceivingly spacious
  • Front wheel drive, yuck!
  • Factory rims look ugly
  • Reliability post warranty

About the Ford Focus

The Night Slasher purchased this Ford Focus new for $67,000 (including all on-road costs). The Night Slasher wouldn’t buy this car again because: “Had I been asked this question about 8 years ago, then yes, I would definitely purchase it again. But over time my wants and needs from a car have drastically changed, so it nullifies the question somewhat.

The buying experience from the dealer was less than desirable, also. The car had been taken on a test drive a few days after I’d inspected it prior to me making my deposit for it.

Unfortunately, the driver’s side door was chipped and the dealer saw fit to hide the thing with low light on that side of the car during my final inspection before picking it up and I never noticed the ding. They refused to repair it and I wore the costs of repairing the panel. Luckily I knew a panel beater who helped me out on the cheap, as this paint work was eye wateringly expensive.”

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

Over the four years of owning the Focus RS, it rarely had any reliability issues while it was under the first three years of warranty. Unfortunately, right after the warranty had finished I started to experience a lot of gremlins. The MAF sensor died, the plastic plenum melted, followed by fuel injector issues, then fuel pump packed up.

The finale of the slave cylinder in the clutch dying the very day I sold the car was a big kick in the guts, which I was forced to replace given I’d sold the car in a certain condition and it was incumbent upon me to ensure it remained that way.

But when it came down to the day-to-day use of the vehicle, it got me from A to B mostly without dramas within the warranty period. The maintenance costs were minimal and it was able to stand up to the general flogging that you might want to give these here and there.

In general, I’ve had quite poor luck when it comes to buying used cars, or keeping cars outside their warranty period that have any semblance of remaining reliabilty. On the contrary, the new owner experienced no problems with the car at all during his tenure. That was until he drove up the rear of an SUV because he was texting while driving and it was subsequently written off.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

It was the first legitimate ‘quick-ish’ car I’d ever owned. The Ultimate Green paint back in 2010 was something no one had seen on another car, either. This thing got stares from people as if it were a supercar, but was just a tarted up hot hatch.

It might seem strange to say so, but back over a decade ago these cars were real head turners and not a day went by where someone wasn’t either giving me the thumbs up of admiration, or passing comments by people at the servo etc. all speaking very highly of the car.

In all, my ownership experience for the money I paid was very positive and very fullfilling. I had some good road trips, a great time with the car and despite it having only front wheel drive, I didn’t think it was much of a detraction from the overall experience.

If I am to regret one thing I did with the car, was when I didn’t learn when enough is enough in terms of performance enhancements. In spite of the performance upgrades, the car still remained reliable within warranty and had no issues with the parts fitted. It was sadly, everything else around it that started to cause grief.

A more conservative performance upgrade would have been a better idea to ensure ride quality was maintained and to ensure that it didn’t feel as though the car was trying to kill me every time I drove it.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

Like I stated in the above, the purchasing experience was utterly woeful. The dealer treated me like a rock under their shoe and as if I were the problem, despite the fact that THEY damaged the car prior to delivery. Aftercare was practically non-existent.

In actual fact, once I took the car in for its 10,000km service I saw the flog who serviced it attempting to drift the damn thing up the driveway to the service area, because stupid.

This was honestly the worst example of customer service I’ve had in my entire life, especially when dropping what was a significant amount of money for me at the time.

I was not expecting to be treated like royalty, but to be sold a car that they neglected to repair damage to that they caused and to have their service technicians thrash the thing left a pretty salty taste in my mouth overall.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

Oh hell yes! A flamboyant pearl paint job, decent handling and ride quality, nice interior and good looks for days make this thing worth every dollar spent.

I had a smile from ear to ear every time I drove it.

The performance upgrades were not as costly as they would be on more premium vehicles and as this car was quite rare (only 315 brought to Australia), you’d think spare parts would be difficult to find. But no, the RS Shop in Albury managed to always get their hands on wrecks that had plenty of parts available to strip out of them that were pretty much new.

If compared to modern standards, then the interior and appointments throughout would be seen as prehistoric, but for someone like me who, at the time, was moving out of an old Proton Satria GTi, this was a huge step up.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

From stock, the power was adequate and easy to put down to the road. There was some axle tramp from the FWD system, to which, the revoknuckle suspension may or may not have helped, but in all – delivery was concise and decent. Fuel economy was around 10 litres per 100km, which was fine at the time.

Once I did a raft of performance upgrades to the car, it managed as low as 8.0 litres per 100km, with a lot more power – up from a factory 228kW to 305kW. However, that led to even more axle tramp at the front and learning to feather the throttle to get the power down without the car wanting to find itself planted into the nearest tree.

As I’ve stated, leaving these in factory spec is probably the best thing for it. Perhaps lower it an inch max to give it better road stance and at very most, modding the air intake and exhaust seem like reliable and worthy options to undertake. Changing out injectors, farting around with turbo boost, changing intercoolers and tinkering invasively under the hood only really shorten the life expectancy of the car and wreck the ride quality, in my opinion. Lesson learned. I only did it another 2-3 times more before I set my alarm clock to reality and woke up!

What do you think of the technology in your car?

Tech wise it would only score a hint above average as it had some fairly decent tech at the time. By today’s standards, it deserves a two or three, though. I did change out the head unit for a Zenec touchscreen, double din unit that fitted very neatly into the multimedia section of the car. The overall look was quite OEM. It had a pretty good GPS built into it and worked well with the CANBUS systems on the car.

The cool thing was it was able to take a USB stick, which most cars at the time weren’t offering that. I could store a hell of a lot of music on a 64GB USB stick and just pick and choose what I wanted to listen to easily.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

Ride comfort was about standard for a sports hatchback. Smooth over most bumps and handling was quite tactile for what you got. It was by no means amazing, but definitely well designed.

As I’ve stated above, the front-wheel drive is a letdown and I feel if they were AWD and they slapped an extra $10k cost onto it, they’d still be highly sought after and even better.

The FWD was the only real setback on this car and for that it loses quite a few points in rating.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

The Focus RS, for me, was my eyes opening to the world of more enthusiast types of vehicles and the definitive popping of my cherry to owning something nice, as opposed to the 14 years previous of owning crap cars.

Overall, I would probably wouldn’t change much about my ownership time with the car and you take it, warts and all.

It was the kind of car that everyone in the street was talking about and that’s a very special feeling indeed.

While the overall rating is only a 6.5/10, with a 5/10 being the very middle of the road average – this is a very above average car, mostly let down by the poor purchasing and aftercare experience I had. If that weren’t a factor, obviously it would be rated much higher.

One of the saddest days I had was seeing that little green machine hauled away on the back of a tow truck, with a broken slave cylinder to be repaired and handed to its new owner.

This is a car I truly loved, regardless of its flaws. It’s an experience I’ve only ever matched with other cars that cost more than double, sometimes threefold the purchase price I paid for this. When you enjoy an ownership experience as much as I have this car, the farewell is always a sad day.

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Overall Rating

Ride & Handling6.5
Price & Features8
Purchase & Aftercare2
Performance & Economy7
Ownership Experience10