As with all hot hatches, the RS’s interior is a tweak of the standard model’s.

Which means that while it’s inferior to the plush cabins of the facelifted Audi RS3, Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-AMG A 45, it’s better kitted out and more modern than, say, the defunct Renault Mégane RS 275 or the Subaru WRX STi.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Having the damper switch located at the end of column stalk is a bit unorthodox, but is conveniently placed

The regular Focus underpinnings – and the five doors that come with it – guarantee a respectable level of practicality.

The encumbrance of an all-wheel drive system underneath hasn’t reduced the car’s ability to carry adults, although the boot volume is slightly reduced by the more sophisticated rear axle.

The RS gets a new, nicely proportioned flat-bottomed steering wheel, alloy pedals, slightly different instrument graphics and a lot of blue stitching. It also wears the same bank of gauges atop the dash as the ST.

The most notable additions are the front seats, either in the shape of the standard, part-leather sports seats or (as with our test car) the optional Signature RS Recaro ‘shell’ versions. These are fairly splendid, although they commit a familiar Focus sin by not descending nearly low enough towards the floor. Given the amount of criticism levelled at the previous generation for not offering a likeable driving position, the mistake’s repetition irks somewhat.

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Ford’s Sync 3 system is included on the RS, so you get the 8.0in touchscreen, sat nav DAB, Bluetooth and voice control as standard, along with smartphone integration and a fresh interface, with Ford reporting that this infotainment software is 10 times faster than its predecessor. There is also the addition of ten high performance Sony speakers including the subwoofer and a rear view camera - previously additional options.

As for the other standard equipment on the Focus RS, there is launch control, a Brembo-designed braking system, automatic headlights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, heated front windscreen and the ability to adjust the dampers between two settings.

Ford’s navigation is hardly peerless (there’s a colossal amount of very small buttons to push for a start), but the Sync home screen looks a bit forlorn without it included.

Generally speaking, it all works fine, and the decision to keep the Drive Mode button a physical characteristic of the centre console is a prudent one. 

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