We figure the jaws of many an automotive journalist – myself included – met the floor when Motor Trend published the results of a six-way comparison test between the half-dozen cars “left over” from its 2016 “Best Driver’s Car” feature. The publication had to narrow the BDC field to twelve contenders, leaving the Ford Focus RS, Toyota 86, Porsche 918 Boxster S, and three other fine driving machines out of the running.
That’s not the part that one would likely find astonishing. What’s astonishing is this: the 2016 Ford Focus RS came dead last out of all six leftover contenders. The Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth came first, followed by the Porsche Boxster S, Toyota 86, Chevrolet Camaro V6 1LE, and finally, the BMW M2 in fifth.
The new Ford Focus RS, remember, was praised by just about every automotive publication that had the occasion to drive it after its launch last year.
So what makes the Mk III Focus RS weaker as a driver’s car than the other BDC leftovers? According to Motor Trend, it was mostly the harsh ride. “The last time I endured a suspension this harsh in so many environments was a Porsche 996 GT3 RS, but that was forgivable because #racecar,” writes MT Road Test Editor Chris Walton. “In the softer settings, the RS’ constant vertical upheavals dominate the driving experience so much that it’s hard to focus on what’s good in the RS.”
Walton’s colleague, Associate Editor Christian Seabaugh, echoed the sentiment, writing that the 2016 Ford Focus RS “rides worse than a dump truck.” He also felt that the steering lacked “purity and play.”
For our part, we’ve spent only a brief time behind the wheel of the Mk III Focus RS, wringing it out at Road America (where it’s simply brilliant). We’ve never taken one out on public roads; far be it from us to decry Motor Trend‘s appraisal.