Ford Focus XR5 Turbo Review

July 22, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

The Ford Focus XR5 Turbo has developed a strong following in Australia and having a wife who recently purchased one I fully understand why this is the case.  With its 2.5L Duratec Turbocharged 5 cylinder engine producing 166kw of power and 320Nm of torque matched to a 6 speed manual transmission and riding on firm suspension this car packs quite a punch.

The amount of power and the way it is delivered in this vehicle is exceptional with the turbo kicking in at around 1200rpms and steadily pouring power to the front wheels.  The power of this engine is amazing. While driving up a relatively steep hill in Warrandyte (one where most vehicles need to drop down a gear or two) I put it in fourth and not only did the XR5 make its way up the hill it was also accelerating and letting out a wonderful growl as it did so!!

Torque steer is a factor, particularly if you are not ready for it, but the handling is such that the vehicle quickly goes where you point it.  Cornering is superb with minimal body roll and extremely responsive steering making it a pleasure to drive it around some of the roads near KInglake and Warrandyte.

Built at Ford’s plant in Germany and to German standards the difference in quality and standard is evident when compared with the rest of the range which are built in South Africa from the way the doors close, minimal road noise and the overall exacting quality and finish.

In terms of options we chose the Recaro Sports leather seats and these not only look great but do an excellent job of tightly holding you in the seat while unleashing the XR5’s turbo power.  With 10 way adjustment on the seats it is very easy to find the ideal driving position and individual front seat warmers are a nice addition.

A well laid out dash with clear dials, a trip computer and menu between the tacho and speedo, makes it easy to adjust things while you drive.  The additional gauges for oil temperature, oil pressure and turbo boost are nicely integrated in the dashboard and are easily viewed allowing you to keep your eyes on the road while adding a bit of fun to the driving experience – when we first drove the kids had a lot of fun watching the needle on the boost moving up and down as we accelerated and decelerated.

The Sony 6 disc in dash stereo system produces superb sound quality and the voice control system is quite fun to use (if it will recognise your voice).  The XR5 can blue tooth with up to five different mobile phones making it perfect for families where more than one person may be driving the car and allows clear hands-free communication.  A downside for me is that the iPod/MP3 plug is in the glove box – why not place it on the centre console as many other manufacturers do?

Another negative although not a deal breaker for us is that the XR5 does not have Cruise Control (even as an option) which seems strange for a modern car nowadays and I am not clear as to why Ford has done this.  Also a negative is the space saver spare.

Overall storage is good even without the seats folded down.

Being a lover of big V8’s I have to admit I have always been sceptical of these ‘hot hatches’ but I have to honestly say that I enjoy this vehicle as much as my beloved GT Falcon!

Great handling, a wonderful exhaust note, excellent build quality and a fantastic driving position make the XR5 a very worthy and price competitive consideration for those looking for a ‘hot hatch’.

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