Back in 2012, I had my first opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the Ford Focus ST. It was nice to see Ford finally throw us a bone with a car they’d given the Europeans for many years after the first-generation Focus SVT went out of production here. It wasn’t the full-on Focus RS, though, and Ford finally came around to letting us Americans have it in 2016. Sadly, it didn’t stay around long, as the generation you see above went out of production in 2018. With the departure of the entire Focus range from our shores, there’s no chance we’d get a new Focus RS in the U.S. anyway.
Still, I can dream! The RS still lives on in Europe…right!? There is a next-generation Focus on sale over there right now. We all thought the next mega-hatch would arrive by 2022 or so, but according to new reports that’s not in fact the case. French outlet Caradisiac said Ford confirmed to them that a new RS isn’t coming after all. Therefore, they’d have to be “content” with the Focus ST (which looks pretty good, but we’re not getting that either).
Apparently, tightening emissions regulations have rendered the next radical Focus RS dead even before its arrival. Rumors swirled that the next model would have a hybrid powertrain including an electric rear axle, boosting power from the high-strung 2.3-liter EcoBoost to 400 horsepower, with that power routing its way to all four wheels through an advanced all-wheel drive system. Apart from emissions, the report states that Ford also cut RS development due to cost, and the current pandemic and production shutdowns likely aren’t helping its case there.
It was never going to make it here, but you do still have (some) options
It’s a shame if this report pans out, as it means there’s still one fewer hot hatch in the world. That said, there are still some options, even for us here in the U.S., if that sort of car strikes your fancy. Volkswagen should soon launch a new version of the Mk8 Golf R. The Honda Civic Type R is still around. And even the Hyundai Veloster N and Mini Cooper JCW offer some turbocharged hatchback fun, even if they’re not as powerful as a Focus RS.
If you are over in Europe, Ford will still build the Focus ST and Fiesta ST for now. Down the road, though, we’ll see much more in the way of electrification as tighter emissions regulations over there squeeze the internal combustion engine as we knew it out of existence.
I’m going to take a moment of silence for the Ford Focus RS (if for no other reason than today’s news is a reminder that we can’t get it new anymore) by seeing it on the track below: