Within the not-so-distant previous, we Americans weren’t precisely spoiled for alternative when it got here to selecting a hot hatchback. Certain, we’ve always loved loads of tire-roasting drag racers, however these machines might by no means fairly fulfill when it got here to cornering prowess and practicality. Name it the grass-is-greener syndrome when you like, however the truth stays that many drivers within the U.S. felt slighted when gazing throughout the Atlantic, dreaming of excessive-strung, boosted engines stuffed in entrance of rounded rooflines over an odd number of doors.
2016 Ford Focus RS VS. 2016 Volkswagen Golf R
Fortunately, that point is behind us, as a result of the new hatchback is coming to those star-spangled lands in droves. Now not want followers of the do-it-all, agile tremendous-commuter really feel jealous of parents abroad. Lastly, automakers have realized the potential gross sales of inexpensive, energy-to-weight superstars.
Two of those autos, the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R, represent two of one of the best sizzling hatches that cash should purchase. Each are turbocharged. Each have AWD. Each promise a mix of fear-free freeway cruising, copious house to hold issues, and sufficient race-impressed engineering to embarrass the typical sports activities automotive.
But which is better?
Let’s begin with the fundamentals- how this stuff look. The Focus screams hot hatch from each angle. The fenders are enormously flared, there are louvers throughout the hood, a matte-black diffuser framing twin exhaust pipes, and an unlimited wing connected to the rear glass. That is the essence of what a car on this phase must appear to be, to some. Onlookers won’t ever mistake this scorching model with a lowly base mannequin. The extra consideration garnered, the higher, I say.
By comparability, the Volkswagen is muted. Don’t get me mistaken, I nonetheless suppose it appears good — the proportions are good, the traces are easy and uncluttered, and it exudes that attribute VW quality. However the finish consequence continues to be too old style, and subsequent to the Focus it merely blends into the background. In fact, when you like the concept of one thing that’s a bit extra sedate and never a lot a cop magnet, it is likely to be simply your cup of tea.
Point – Focus
The Ford’s cabin ticks all the fitting bins. Open the door and also you’ll discover extremely bolstered Recaro seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, excessive-efficiency gauges, and a smattering of RS badges, to not point out sat-nav, a big shade touchscreen, and smartphone connectivity.
However the Volkswagen has all that and extra. The match and end is excellent, radiating quality that outshines its value. There’s an inherent sense of luxurious that the Ford merely can’t compete with — a sense that the inside is greater than the sum of its elements. Whereas the Focus nonetheless reveals its econobox upbringing, the Golf transcends it. In terms of really sitting within the factor, you need to go VW.
Point – Golf
That is, definitely, an important consideration for any potential scorching-hatch proprietor, and each brands are bringing the heat. The Golf boasts a 2.0-liter, turbo 4-cylinder with 292 horsepower at 5,four hundred rpm and 280 pound-toes of torque between 1,800 and 5,500 rpm. That is routed by way of an ordinary six-pace manual for a run to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds. There’s additionally an optionally available six-pace DSG automatic that trims that determine right down to four.9 seconds, an enormous enchancment over the three-pedaled tranny. 4MOTION everlasting AWD makes the grip, whereas the chassis dynamics are alterable via three totally different driving modes. There are additionally normal 18-inch alloys, and oversized thirteen.four-inch brakes. It’s a powerful package, greater than worthy of a day of lapping at your native road course or autocross.
The Focus takes one take a look at the Golf’s specs, then promptly drops a giant, blue, oval-shaped sledgehammer on them. The Ford’s engine is a 2.3-liter, turbo 4-cylinder with 315 horsepower, though I wouldn’t be shocked if a dyno run noticed precise output tip the scales north of that determine. However the true story is within the new AWD system. Using one thing known as a Rear Drive Unit, or RDU, as much as 70 p.c of accessible torque might be despatched to the rear axle. Meaning a great deal of energy oversteer, one thing the 50/50, nostril-heavy VW must watch with envy.
Point – Focus
WINNER – Focus
Of course, these are merely the sentiments of a keyboard monkey pounding away an opinion or two in some windowless nook. The precise struggle will happen when these two cars meet on a monitor with a devoted scorching-shoe on name to wring them out. Ought to the Golf truly manage to hold with the Focus, its lack of styling aptitude received’t matter an ounce. However on paper, it seems like its Ford for the win.