Ford & Volkswagen are two of the world's most famous and popular manufacturers and they have produced two stunning performance versions of their revered Focus & Golf models.
The Focus RS is perhaps slightly more famous having had many different editions over the last ten years & sold thousands of models. However, both face-off in the market each with their own strong set of credentials that make them a good choice for many modern motorists..
The Focus RS & Golf R are both distinctly performance vehicles with the Focus RS boasting impressive 19-inch alloys but perhaps a slightly more understated overall design than previous RS models. The trademark tailgate spoiler gives it an extra helping of sporty looks. The Golf R has 18-inch alloys as standard and has been lowered 15mm to increase power & give the vehicle a more dominating road presence.
Starting with the interior and those familiar with the standard Focus layout won't see too many shocks in the RS. There is the classic SYNC2 infotainment system and a number of different driving modes so you can truly customize your experience. There are plenty of racing/motorsport touches as well such as a three-spoke steering wheel, Recaro Seats and a set of additional options to fully spec out your RS. Those options include rear parking sensors, cruise control & keyless entry if you choose the Luxury Pack. It doesn't end there though, you can get more including 19-inch forged alloy wheels among other upgrades, all of course at a price.
The Golf-R also gets plenty of lavish extras for drivers. The standard interior is pretty impressive as well, with a clean & nicely organished dashboard capped off by a 5.8-inch multimedia screen which will control many of the cars functions including DAB digital radio. The materials of the cabin look & feel of good quality and the addition of Alcantra suede seats should bring added comfort. There are plenty of standard options thrown in for good measure as well including heated seats, climate control & adaptive cruise control. You can also increase the exhaust noise by the press of a button on the centre console.
There is a 340-litre boot in the Golf R which should be adequate for most drivers and can be expanded to 1,233-litres by folding down the rear seats. The Focus RS may be losing this battle with just 260-litres of boot space on offer.
Both models are geared towards high-class performance so you should expect each car to excel in this area. The RS comes with four-wheel-drive and the six-speed manual gearbox certainly aids the driving experience. Those four driving modes mentioned earlier are: Normal , Sport, Track & Drift meaning you can alter the experience depending on the circumstances of the road or personal preferences of the driver. The RS shares the same engine as the new Mustang and there is a 2.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine sitting under the bonnet producing around 345bhp. That figure certainly puts the RS on a high platform and roughly translates to 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds
The Focus RS is slightly slower than rivals such as the Civic Type R & Audi RS3 but it does marginally outstrip the Golf R when it comes to flat-out performance. There is a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol that is capable of producing 296bhp and in the DSG trim level will go from 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds - which of course is only a fraction longer than the RS. The Golf R also employs four wheel drive and makes use of '4Motion' technology to detect when wheels are losing grip in order to send power to the other wheels to help.
Luckily both vehicles have been on the market long enough to be effectively tested by safety body EuroNCAP. The Focus RS was awarded the full five stars & also comes with plenty of safety kit as standard including electronic stability control, traction control & anti-lock brakes and much more you can add yourself. The Golf R was also awarded five-stars by EuroNCAP most likely helped by its raft of standard equipment that includes driver alert system, electronic stability control, driver knee airbags & rear parking sensors.