This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Ford Focus RS (16-18) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The Recaro sports seat grips the driver in place when the car is being driven quickly, yet - unusually for a sports seat - offers plenty of back support so that it's also pain-free on longer motorway runs. Although there's seatbelt height adjustment, the seat is unadjustable (aside from backwards and forwards). This set-up is designed to suit most driver sizes and shapes.

The seat height can be changed if it's unsuitable, but it's a job that can only be done by a Ford dealer and requires the seat to be removed. The steering wheel is similar to that in the ST and adjusts for height and reach. It also has integrated controls for the stereo. The dials are easy to read on the move, with the turbo-boost, temperature and oil pressure gauges in a dash-mounted cowling that's angled toward the driver, while the switches are all user-friendly.

Forward visibility is good and the mirrors provide a clear rear view, but the rear wing and large sports seats restrict the view when reverse parking.

Whereas the standard Focus is a five-seater, the RS only seats four. There are just two belts in the back because of the Recaro-style rear sports seats. The RS can get noisy on the move too, especially if the driver is pushing the car hard, but that's not the case all the time. On the motorway, engine noise falls away and is much less noticeable, which means it's easy to hold a conversation.