The Ford Focus RS Vs. The Subaru WRX STI

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The Ford Focus RS hatchback and the Subaru WRX STI sedan are long-time rivals. They have been competing for superiority going back to when they were still being fielded in the World Rally Championships, and their rivalry continues today.

Even though both cars have evolved significantly over the years, they still go toe-to-toe in almost every aspect. They are both high-performance versions of mainstream compact cars. As such, they combine uncompromised sports-car-like performance with everyday practicality and versatility. They are also similarly priced. For 2018, pricing for the base Ford Focus RS was pegged at $50,990, while the base Subaru WRX STI price was set at $50,890. In addition, both cars are all-wheel-drive, feature turbo-cylinder engines and 6-speed manual transmissions, and can both accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds.

So, which one is better? Let’s delve a little deeper to find out. 


The Subaru WRX STI is renowned for its excellent road grip, its above-average stability, and awesome cornering agility. It owes these attributes to a variety of aspects, one of which is its multi-mode Driver Controlled Center Differential (DCCD) all-wheel drive system. This system includes a torque vectoring feature that varies the amount of power and torque going to the front and rear axles, and also to each wheel across both axles. It also has several manual and automatic settings, including one that enables a manual lock to deliver 50:50 front/rear torque distribution. This means that you can adjust the car’s driving character to suit every situation.

The Subaru WRX STI also features a sport-tuned, inverted strut-type front/double-wishbone rear suspension that is firm but not harsh. It facilitates sharp, precise handling while still delivering a compliant ride. This car also features a sport-tuned, electric power-assisted steering system that provides ample feedback.

The Focus RS, on the other hand, features a more refined, and better-weighted, electric power-assisted steering system that provides more feedback. It features a sport-tuned independent MacPherson strut front/independent short-and-long arm rear suspension system that delivers a firm, yet compliant, ride. It also features two-mode adjustable dampers that help you to improve the car’s cornering precision. They can be set to make the suspension even firmer.

The Ford Focus RS has a perfectly balanced chassis, along with an innovative all-wheel-drive system that also incorporates torque vectoring. This system can divert up to 70 percent of the engine’s power and torque to the rear axle depending on the prevailing driving conditions, and up to 100 percent of the rear axle’s available torque to either of the rear wheels. Thanks to this innovative system, the car cuts its way around corners with outstanding precision and composure, giving you the confidence to accelerate through a corner.

This makes the Focus RS the outright winner in the driving dynamics and handling department.         

The Ford Focus RS Vs The Subaru WRX STI HandlingImage Credit:   


The Subaru WRX STI comes equipped with a proven 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed turbocharged engine that generates 221 kW of power at 6000 rpm, and 407 Nm of torque at 4,000 - 5,200 rpm. This engine feels strong and capable, and it delivers enough low-end torque that climbing steep inclines will never be a problem. However, you get to experience its full potential when it hits and exceeds the 4,000 rpm mark; the surge of power that it delivers is exhilarating. It can also propel the Subaru WRX STI from zero to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Ford Focus RS features a 2.3-litre EcoBoost® turbo 4-cylinder engine that generates 257 kW of power at 6,000 rpm, and 440 Nm of peak torque at 1600 – 5000 rpm. This engine manages to propel the car from zero to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds. In addition to facilitating quicker acceleration, this engine also feels livelier than the STI’s engine thanks to its peak torque arriving at just 1,600 rpm. As a result, it feels exceeding powerful almost all the time. 


Both the Subaru WRX STI and Focus RS feature aggressively styled, performance inspired exteriors that look awesome.

In the front, the latest WRX STI model exudes sophistication with its LED headlights and LED daytime running lights. It also features a signature black, hexagonal, honeycomb grille, a mean-looking hood scoop, a large lower grille, and black honeycomb-like detail on both ends of the front bumper that emphasizes the car’s sporty attitude. In the rear, this car features a huge rear wing that declares its high-performance intentions. It has a large diffuser and quad exhaust outlets that make quite an impression. The Subaru WRX STI’s body is muscular and aerodynamic, with broad fenders and daring curves. However, it can look even better when fitted with this ABW Subaru WRX STI full body kit.

The Ford Focus RS looks every bit like a true hot hatch, but it employs a sleeker, more functional design approach than that of the WRX STI. Up front, it features a large, sleek yet sporty, black, trapezoidal grille with large vents that allow for effective radiator cooling. The car also sports a large lower grille like the STI, and vertically-mounted fog lights that are positioned next to additional air intake vents. The Focus RS looks even more awesome in the rear where it features a large rear wing (which is not as big as the STI wing), a massive rear diffuser, and twin, large, round high-performance exhaust outlets. This car looks even meaner with the right body kit, and this Maxton Design Focus RS full body kit is a good place to start.

 The Ford Focus RS Vs The Subaru WRX STI Exterior 2

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And the Winner Is...

If we base this duel solely on handling and performance, the Ford Focus RS comes out on top. However, both these cars have a lot more to offer. You can find out more about them at AusBody Works. We at AusBody Works sell top-quality Subaru WRX STI and Ford Focus RS body kits at competitive prices. Be sure to check them out.