FTE Drives Two of the Hottest Fords: Raptor & Focus RS
Designed for two completely different crowds, the Ford vehicles represent what ingenuity, enthusiasm, and great engineering can accomplish.
Recall the days, months and years following the recession of 2009. As quickly as banks began to crumble, designers, engineers, and other “creative” assets in the automotive industry were being shown “the way out.” In other words, flirting with bankruptcy didn’t allow for new, fun, or any kind of non-vital projects.
Detroit, Michigan, January 2015. Ford Motor Company unveiled not one, but two sexy prototypes: the new generation F-150 Raptor, and the Ford GT supercar. More importantly, it marked the conclusion of the dark ages. The Blue Oval (and others) could now justify spending tens of millions of dollars building cool, edgy stuff. The kind of vehicles that’d fill the small niches they couldn’t risk fulfilling in years past.
Since then, the 2017 Raptor has actually made its way to dealerships, and a hot little hatchback developed by Ford Germany arrived in America — the Focus RS. We recently drove them back to back for a week each, and learned just how incredible these speed demons are.
Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCab
There’s not much we haven’t said about the ultimate pickup truck. Notice I didn’t say the ultimate Ford? That’s because this 450-horsepower, twin-turbocharged beast trumps over every other non-heavy-duty pickup truck.
We enjoyed the Raptor’s prowess during an extended visit to an off-road park. There we climbed rocky hills, crossed streams, and went power-sliding on sand dunes until our heart’s content. More importantly, we strapped a toddler’s car seat on the second row, drove it all over town, and exploited its many comfort features.
The Raptor’s best quality is its adaptability. Its ability to ride smooth, absorb street bumps, and keep your tush hot or cold depending on the time of year. At the same time, it can outrun anything but a real Baja racing truck on dirt.
Ford Focus RS
The chances of someone actually wanting to buy both the Focus RS and the Raptor are greater than you think. Just like the Raptor is the king of the trails, the Focus RS rules over every paved surface. Heck, it’ll even give high-end sports cars a run for their money.
Under the lightweight hood lays a 2.3-liter, turbocharged 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine. It makes not 150, 250, or even 300 horsepower, but 350 ponies and 350 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, it makes 100 horsepower less than the Raptor, but at 3,434 pounds it weights approximately 2,166 pounds less! With a six-speed manual transmission and advanced all-wheel-drive, is by all means a world-class performer.
Unlike its off-road sibling, the Focus RS isn’t a go-everywhere kind of ride. In fact, during a 1,000-mile trip through Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, we found its ride quality bone-shattering stiff, and its cruising manners poor. A huge blast on twisty roads, but torture on eroded Ohioan highways.
Despite rocking steep price tags and dealership markups, the $42-grand Nitrous Blue Focus RS, and $57-grand Avalanche Grey Raptor are two of the best vehicles Ford has to offer.
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