This week’s episode of Head 2 Head has Motor Trend associate road test editor Carlos Lago driving the new 2013 Ford Focus ST back-to-back against the 2012 Volkswagen Golf R to find out which is the better hot hatch.
Lago starts out by comparing how the Focus ST and Golf R stack up in the canyons. The front-drive Focus ST clearly has the most boy-racer appeal of the two, with its throaty induction note, gobs of torque steer, and Tangerine Scream paint job, but Lago can’t help but enjoy the visceral driving experience it offers. The VW Golf R on the other hand is more refined, quieter, and to Lago, feels more like a GT car than a true hot hatch.
After evaluating the cars on the road, Lago hands the keys over to resident Motor Trend hot shoe Randy Pobst, so the former Daytona 24 winner can lap the two cars around the track. There’s just one problem: Volkswagen won’t let you turn off traction or stability control in the all-wheel-drive Golf R. That detail significantly hurt the hatchback’s figure-eight time in testing, with the Golf R posting a 26.5-second result compared to the Focus ST’s 25.4 seconds. So instead of driving the Golf R on track to confirm what we already learned from handling tests, Pobst grabs the Subaru BRZ to see how the Focus ST stacks up against a genuine rear-drive sports car.
Check out the latest episode of Head 2 Head below to see how they compare.