Poll: Subaru WRX STI or Ford Focus RS?

Poll: Subaru WRX STI or Ford Focus RS?

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!

  • Mark Weiner

    The Subaru WRX STI will retain superior resale value, has the iconic boxer engine, and more proven AWD that Subaru has been perfecting for over 30 years.

  • Rocket

    I respect Subarus, particularly the WRX/STI, but the Focus delivers where it matters in this matchup. Maybe if the STI were still available as a hatch it would swing my vote the other way. In reality, if I were looking for an everyday hot hatch and not a track toy, I’d almost certainly go with secret option #3 … the Golf R.

  • sooper_gadget12

    I own and love my STI, but I’m not so blinded by my bias to see that the STI is an aging platform and with its current body style is ugly as sin. A motor that’s 10 years old. Not real torque vectoring. Static suspension. Dialed in understeer. Questionable tune from the factory. For the same price, the RS is hands down the better car. And while, yes, the Subaru may hold value, this is the first state side RS. It’s going to be a good buy. But the Subaru fanboy kool-aid is strong and can’t be denied. Ford built the next Evo that Mitsubishi wasn’t willing to make.

  • smartacus

    i dunno, RS has drift mode and is made in Germany.

  • RS Howsey

    Poll: How many Subaru to RS owners are there? Pointless. I love the Impreza though, always have.

  • RS Howsey

    You think the Subaru will hold its value better than the RS?!

  • Steven Crazed AZ Peterson

    The RS may hold it’s value better than the STI. The Ecoboost in the RS is the same engine that tuning shops got their hands on last year in the 4-cylinder Mustang. There are aftermarket manufacturers (Roush, Cobb, etc) as well as Ford Racing that sell affordable mods that push the engine power upwards of 500 HP. I saw someone post above, Ford built the Evo that Mitsubishi refused to make. I agree! The RS has a proven platform that comes from just the same amount of time that Subaru has in it’s AWD development, just look at the Ford Escort RS200 from 1984. When talking about resale, though the RS line was never released to the US, imported RS cars are selling for what a new STI sells for new. I’m not a fanboy of either, I like both and respect both vehicles, but you can’t be one sided on the fact that Subaru has superior resale value and a proven AWD system.

  • Joe D

    I previously owned a modded 02′ wrx, stock 07′ sti, stock 08′ evo x, now own an RS and it’s in a league of its own and tough to compare. Stock out of the box the RS outperforms these cars(depending on the driver of course) I love them all but would have to do a stage 1 flash to both the stock evo and sti to get them up to speed with the RS. Handling is a whole other story, the RS has them beat and has some sophisticated electronics that shine in any corner you turn into, very rewarding and you can really feel it working through turns, each drive mode is noticeably different as well. Ford did an awesome job, the car cracks and pops between shifts (it will not do this in normal mode) and all in all I haven’t really felt anything like it. Once again in a league of its own compared to the evo and Sti, but fun factor… RS


  • Mikey N

    I currently own a 2015 STi. The STi is mostly a dedicated racer that I will occasionally use for weekend duty. Previously I owned a 2010 that I raced and daily drove. I was quite excited to get the chance to give an RS a drive a few weeks ago in a competition environment. The RS is a really nice street machine that is interfered with by it’s electronics when driven at the limit. This was just not my opinion but the opinion of others who also drove the RS. The STi is much less “refined” and not impeded by it’s own electronics. It’s very predictable at corner entry and exit where the RS was not. As a driver the RS felt slightly detached when comparing against the STi. The clutch is smooth on both vehicles. Shifting in the RS felt much better than in an STi. I prefer the driver position in the 2015+ STi to the RS, but I also like the RS’s driver position to the pre 2015 STi. I do think the RS stock seats are a little more comfortable than the STi seats and felt a little firmer as well. The creature comforts in the RS are nice. I could really care less about fuel economy so this not a concern to me, but the RS is supposedly better (yes, I read the article). This being said, if I were just looking for a car that was going to be hustled around on the street I would seriously consider the Ford RS but I would probably stick with the raw driving feel of the STi again.