The Sub-£20k Mk3 Ford Focus RS Is Now A Thing

Reports suggest a new Focus RS isn't happening, so is a used third-gen car the solution?

Remind me later
Ford - The Sub-£20k Mk3 Ford Focus RS Is Now A Thing - Used Cars

For the fourth-generation Ford Focus, it seems there won’t be a wild ‘RS’ version. According to a report in a French publication last week, since confirmed by the Blue Oval itself, Ford has cancelled the Mk4 Focus RS. Production of the hot hatch has been deemed unviable amid company-wide cost-cutting measures and tightening emissions rules in Europe.

Thankfully, the better-than-ever Focus ST will do a great job of filling the RS void, but if it has to be circa 350bhp all-wheel drive heroics for you, there’s always the option of a used version of the latter.

Ford - The Sub-£20k Mk3 Ford Focus RS Is Now A Thing - Used Cars

Third-gen Focus RS values have remained strong, and the lack of a successor should help this further. The still high cost of buying a Mk2 RS gives us hope about its longer-term prospects too. However, with the earlier Mk3s having been kicking around since 2014, there are still bargains to be had - you can now get one for a smidge under £20k.

That’s a handy £10k discount off the £29,995 original price, which A) was soon bumped up by Ford and B) doesn’t account for any options. We’ve picked out one from the classifieds for a little more than £20k (it’s £22,500) in the interests of dropping the mileage and getting some more aesthetically-pleasing images for this post. The Kent-based dealer selling the RS is also offering contact-free delivery.

Ford - The Sub-£20k Mk3 Ford Focus RS Is Now A Thing - Used Cars

The RS has done 28,000 miles, is fitted with Recaro shell seats, the must-have ‘Luxury Pack’ and 19-inch gloss black forged wheels, options which would have collectedly cost over £3000 when the car was originally specced.

As standard, you get a 345bhp 2.3-litre line-four, making for a 0-62mph time of 4.7 seconds. And yes, a drift mode. The front differential is of the open variety - if you want one with a factory-fitted LSD, you’ll have to increase the budget significantly to bag one of the Limited Edition or Red Edition cars that came along later.

Ford - The Sub-£20k Mk3 Ford Focus RS Is Now A Thing - Used Cars

Buyers who shelled out nearly £40,000 for the RS Heritage had 370bhp to play with via a dealer-fitted Mountune MP375 power pack, but for anyone wanting more thrust, the kit isn’t terribly expensive when bought directly from the Essex tuner. There are plenty of other Stage 1 options out there from other firms too, or if you’re especially committed, there’s an utterly bonkers 516bhp upgrade programme from Mountune which we sampled last year.

Early examples of the RS were prone to well-publicised head gasket issues, but Ford rectified this with announcement of a free inspection and repair service. Where necessary, the gaskets and even whole cylinder heads were replaced. When buying a used RS, it’s worth checking to see if any work has been done in this area.