2016 Ford Focus RS Pitted Against Rally-Grade Subaru Impreza STI in the Snow

Subaru vs Ford Focus RS 1 photo
Photo: YouTube screenshot
We don't know what it is about old Subaru Impreza STI rally cars, but whenever there's word about one, our attention is instantly captured. The fact this one also has a Ford Focus RS alongside it only makes it that much more interesting.
The title for the best hot hatch out there might still be in contention, but the Ford Focus RS sure makes a pretty convincing claim. It has 350 horsepower and all-wheel-drive, and it's built on the superb Focus chassis we all know and love.

But no matter how appealing the RS might be, it does pale a little when placed next to an old Subaru STI rally car. For some people, those things have an invisible halo around them that makes them stand out from any crowd, not to mention the mere company of one modern hot hatch.

This one in particular is an Open Class rally car that, according to its owner, ex-rally driver Tim O'Neil, is a Prodrive built 2.0L model with dogbox transmission, ProFlex suspension, and active center differential. Both vehicles, however, are riding on rubber tires, so maintaining the grip must have been a bit trickier than with a set of the studded kind.

The idea here is that Team O'Neil wants to prepare this Ford Focus RS for rally competitions, but before they do that, they wanted to see whether it can keep up with the Scooby on an icy road in its standard form.

Well, not exactly standard, as the RS had already seen some alterations: downsized brakes, Bilstein shocks, 15-inch wheels, no ABS, and a skid plate. Other than that, you can see its interior is still in one piece, meaning the driver in the Ford was clearly the more pampered one.

From the start, you can see the RS maintaining a much cleaner line through the bends, but we suspect that might be down to driver prefference. They even found time for a little drag race, but the lacking infrastructure kind of makes the result null.

We suspect this was mostly just two guys having fun in the snow, and not so much of a real test. Whatever the case, the Ford Focus RS acquitted itself admirably, proving it really is the kind of car you can buy from the dealer and go out to have tremendous amounts of fun in the harshest conditions. Will it make a good rally car, though? Well, we'll just have to stick around Team O'Neil Rally and see.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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