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Here’s Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Buy A Used Ford Focus RS

Ford Focus RS - Front

Chip shortage delays in new cars and rising vehicle prices are pushing an increasing number of customers towards used cars and trucks. But even used vehicles aren’t cheap, as a new analysis from Copilot shows. According to the research, used vehicle prices have risen dramatically over the past two years, with buyers spending an average of $10,046 more than before the pandemic. To make matters worse, the latest figures show that there is no sign of a trend reversal. With regard to price increases, average used car listing rose to $33,341 in June. This represents an increase of 0.5 percent from May 2022.


Given these complex market conditions, it is not surprising that car buyers are more concerned about the quality of the vehicles on the market. As such, they spend more time researching cars. In fact, a study by Auto Trader shows that car buyers spend 59 percent of their time researching on the internet. In addition, 60 percent of potential buyers are open to considering multiple car models. So for the car enthusiasts who are now reviewing the Ford Focus RS, these are the most common problems with this hatchback.

Related: Here’s What Everyone Forgot About the Ford Focus RS


The worst year for the Ford Focus RS

Despite initial enthusiasm for the Ford Focus RS in 2015, it wasn’t long before consumers turned against the model when they realized the vehicle was having problems. To be fair, there were issues, registered complaints and breakdowns every year, so selecting the worst year for the RS is a tough undertaking. Still, the 2017 model took the top spot because of the endless problems the Ford Focus and RS model had during the year.

There were a number of registered complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the 2017 Ford Focus model, with 219 reports of powertrain problems, 83 reports of engine problems and 69 fuel/propulsion system problems. And if that wasn’t enough, other drivers reported problems with the electrical system, airbags, seat belts, steering, vehicle speed control and engine cooling. Unfortunately, the Focus RS was not the “prodigy” that escaped scandals and recalls. Ford even had to issue a recall for the 2017 RS hatchbacks due to faulty head gaskets.


Here’s a very frightening perspective for any car owner: having to pay a lot of money to repair your car’s engine. The cost of repairing the powertrain or engine is very high and too often drivers cannot afford these types of repairs. Accordingly, customers are trying to stay away from vehicles known for engine failure.

The Focus RS had a number of engine-related issues that destroyed the hatchback’s reputation for good and convinced Ford to issue a recall on certain vehicles powered by the 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine. Ford told Autocar that the 2.3-litre engine could develop a problem that causes coolant to leak into the cylinders. When that happened, passengers could see “white exhaust smoke” coming out of the exhaust. Motor1 and several experts have theorized that the problem is due to block distortion, rather than a design problem.


Moderate driving comfort

In this day and age, when automakers are offering incredible upgrades and the most luxurious features to attract buyers, the Focus RS failed to impress. Buyers even complained about uncomfortable seats on long journeys, the small cabin and limited trunk space. One user even presented a terrifying situation where “when you accelerate in a straight line, you get to 70 mph and the car suddenly turns to one side without warning.” According to this driver, “40+% of owners complain about it on forums.” This undoubtedly makes for not only an uncomfortable ride, but also a very dangerous one. Another issue raised by Carbuyer is that the Track and Drift modes “make the ride unbearably harsh.”


Related: Check Out These Visions Of A Ford Focus RS MK4

Poor build quality

Every year, gearheads make lists of cars and trucks that have the worst build quality and on those lists we see luxury vehicles like the Maserati Ghibli, but also affordable hatchbacks like the Focus RS, which apparently had problems with the B-pillar rattle. Additional issues included “cheap” adaptive shocks, poor suspension, uncomfortable seats, and issues with the HVAC system. Elsewhere, on FocusRS.org, a 2018 owner said the “driver’s seat rail came off twice.”

Unfortunately, drivers trying to avoid cars with poor build quality will find it even harder this year as the quality of new vehicles down by 11 percent in 2022 due to trade issues, supply chain issues and snarls from shipping, according to JD Power’s initial quality study in 2022.