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Ford Focus XR5 (2006-2011)

by John Ewing,reviewed February 2011

There are some talented offerings for buyers to consider in the used hot hatch market. Volkswagen’s excellent Golf GTi will be on many shortlists, but Ford’s ripping XR5 Turbo shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Its sporty potency plus the refinement required for everyday liveability is a blend many will find ‘just right’.

Ford’s racing and performance arm in the UK, Team RS, developed the car from the standard Focus. Released here in 2006 and wearing the locally revered XR moniker, the XR5 uses a five-cylinder 2.5-litre turbo intercooled engine. It’s front-wheel drive via a six-speed manual only.

The five-door hatch’s standard equipment includes six airbags, ABS, EBA, EBD and stability and traction control, sexy 18” alloys, alarm, 6 CD stacker, body kit and Recaro seats. A five-star ANCAP crash rating adds appeal. But a spacesaver spare wheel, no cruise control or driver’s footrest are less attractive.

Performance wise, there’s plenty of sting in the 166 kW Volvo-sourced engine for strong lag-free acceleration. Its long stroke design and generous 320 Nm of peak torque, accessible from 1600 RPM, mean it’s very flexible and willing even when higher gears are held. The manual box is pleasurably slick to use.

Though perhaps not as razor sharp as some competitors, the well tuned chassis is responsive and still shows great surety in its steering, braking and cornering for an entertaining drive over any sinuous road. Ride is composed and more civilised than many hotties. For a small car the 11.7 metre turning circle is large. The Recaro seats look after front occupant comfort superbly.

We didn’t unearth any prevalent reliability issues in the German built XR5.  However the sticky 40-series tyres have a relatively short lifespan, especially on cars driven hard, and are expensive. Regular tyre rotations and increasing pressures will help. Brake pads and rotors fair similarly. A heavy right foot will also be punished at the fuel bowser. Check for proper scheduled servicing.

Under the pump

XR5 will use between 6.8 litres and 14.5 litres of fuel (95 RON) every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.

Price range

For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.


Mazda3 MPS 2006 ONWARDS

Five-door hatch, front drive with feral 190 kW and 380 Nm 2.3-litre turbo four. Slick six-speed manual. Revised model from July ’09 - more aggressive looks, suspension/handling improvements, torque-steer less intrusive. Sport Pack and Luxury versions offer extras including leather, xenons.

VW Golf GTi Gen V 2005 - 2009

GTi is the most popular Golf variant and with good reason. 2.0 TFSI, 147 kW and 280 Nm. – don’t let numbers alone fool you though. Six-speed manual or DSG. Three and five door hatches. Excellent all-rounder. Impressive dynamics. Limited edition, higher output, Pirelli model worth looking for.

Renault Megane Sport 2006 - 2010

Spirited performer, 2.0-litre turbo, 165 kW, 300 Nm, six-speed manual. Ride and day-to-day civility not so appealing. Cup models offer chassis and brake upgrades.

Ford Focus XR5 2006-2011

Car Details

Vehicle make Ford
Vehicle model Focus XR5
Year 2006
Current price range $ - $

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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.