The Focus RS theme is finally established. The RS isn’t an easy car to live with – it’s too thirsty, its seats are too high and the opportunities to exploit its handling are not ever-present.

But if the modern interpretation of RS has finally established itself as anything, it’s occasional, high-end pleasure.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The most fun you can currently have in a hot hatchback, on road or track

To find something that corners with the same ability, breathtaking confidence and mind-bending mechanical trickery, you have to look at a car like the Nissan GT-R.

Ford, which specialises in democratising hot hatch fun (take a bow, Fiesta ST), has democratised specialness and uniqueness; it has created a hot hatch that you might buy just for weekend use, as you perhaps would a high-end sports or supercar, yet it’s one that costs only £30,000 brand new.

No other hot hatch can quite do that. Yes, a Honda Civic Type R is raucous and raw and a BMW M140i slithery and entertaining, as is the M2.

Want a great everyday hot hatch?

The Volkswagen Golf R is your choice. But the Focus, when in its element, is in another league, and to hell with the compromises.

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