Which scalding-hot compact performance car do YOU prefer, the long-time-favorite Subaru WRX STI or the sexy new Ford Focus RS? Vote in our poll!
Yes, we’re pitting the latest from Dearborn against an established player, but this blue-oval brawler is more than equipped to hold its own. The Focus RS features a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-banger that’s squeezed to within an inch of its life to deliver 350 horses and an equal measure of torque.
As God intended, a six-speed manual transmission is the only gearbox offered in this hatchback. Likewise, a performance all-wheel-drive system ensure the RS never loses its footing. This technology can route up to 100 percent of the engine’s torque to either axle and all of that to just one rear wheel if necessary.
Aggressive styling, Recaro bucket seats and unique gauges underscore this car’s race-bred lineage.
Focusing on the Subaru, it almost seems tame in comparison to the Ford. Underhood it features a 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder engine. With a turbocharger and plenty of other go-fast tech it delivers a solid 305 horspower and 290 lb-ft of torque.
Like practically every other Subaru, all-wheel drive is standard. Keeping enthusiasts (like us) happy is a six-ratio manual gearbox for maximum driver involvement.
Not that fuel economy is a top concern in these vehicles, but surprisingly the Ford holds an edge here as well. Despite providing more horsepower and torque it stickers at 19 miles per gallon city, 25 on the highway and 22 MPG combined. The best Subaru can muster is 17 city, 23 highway, 19 combined; a Prius-beater the STI is not.
Despite falling to the Ford in several areas the WRX does have a slight pricing advantage. You can get an entry-level model for right around $36,000; a base Focus RS is about a grand more expensive.
So, which of these pocket rockets do YOU prefer? Please, compare them right here and make sure to vote in our latest poll!