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  • pious

    Having had the engine in my missus’ s40T5 for 4 1/2 years now, I can say it is sweet and trouble free. Got the auto (dammit!), but still very quick especially from 0 – 80 or so, not so quick from 80 – 120 plus but that might be from the adaptive box, which is probably used to being driven around town. Huge power at launch (almost too much) with low down torque, makes it surge a little from lights (gotta be careful not to run into the car in front). The focus, being a lighter car, would be more fun esp in a manual. This would be a good value fun car, IMO, and would be great to work a little when the warranty ran out.

  • http://integra alloys

    This is a great little car, it has performance handling economy quality interior great looks and a great price. Across the latest Ford Oz range all of the qualities i mentioned above are common with each model. Nothing from Holden or Toyota comes close to this or any other car from Ford at the moment.

  • Frontman

    The part I like most about this is that while the MPS and the HSV Astra had way more power, driving the XR5 in inclement weather is not a scary experience. Given a little bit of time in the car, in all but the long straights it is as quick to pilot as the other two (if not quicker when the mountains beckon ;-))

  • Fasthonda

    It’s a very good car.The only criticism would have to be the rear styling -looking at it front on(2nd pic) it really looks boxy.But I suppose it’s personal taste.
    A great alternative to the boring,soft c@ck Golf GTI-which for a turbo car falls short in the performance stakes of all of it’s competitors.
    It’s a shame that we don’t get the dealer backed performance upgrade package like they do in Britain.That would make things very interesting.

  • davie

    Great car, I almost would have bought one but It amazes me how they dont have cruise control. Abosolutley stupid!

    What about Fords DSG box that they have been promising for 2 years now? When is it coming?

  • http://integra alloys

    this is the Ford version…….just wait until FPV work their magic on this little ripper !!! WOW !!!!

  • Biggles

    Wait a minute… another double-up review? First it was the R36 wagon, now the XR5!

    Why test it again? I think this article has better pictures, but I’d prefer to read Matt’s review more. After all, it has virtually the exact same information in it.

  • Paul

    I agree with Fasthonda, as an xr5 owner I’m so keen upgrade some performance components but don’t want to void my warranty. I wish Ford australia did do the same as the UK, and as for FPV getting there hands on it.. No thanks, if rumours are correct.. it would be a shame if they didn’t bring the RS out here because FPV want to have their own version. I’d be much happier knowing the engineers in europe who developed the car from scratch resposible for the final outcome.

  • pious

    From memory, the volvo warranty wasnt troubled by sports air filters or a CAI. The big gains were from the ecu remap (goodbye warranty and goodbye auto transmission) and a FMIC (goodbye resale prospects). Heico parts were used a fair bit, and evolve. Realistically, though, when you get the extra power you drive like a maniac (if you are like me), so you might be better off with it stock.

  • BrisVegas

    The Focus is the “right-sized” car for Australian families in the noughties. I drive a Zetec, and while it’s no rocket ship, it’s got plenty of room for my kids, pram and groceries.

    I’d love an XR5, but sadly can’t afford one anytime soon. I can certainly appreciate what a great platform the focus is and what a funky hot hatch the boosted 5cyl XR5 is.

    It’d be great if ford Aus brought in the new Focus RS. Now that’s a halo car I can aspire to!

  • Carl

    I was ready to purchase a Mazda 3 MPS in August, and the dealer said, come and drive this (XR5). I did, and thought, good, but nowhere near as good as the MPS. I really liked the exhaust sound, but two big problems for me were the styling and the price. The MPS is way sexier and $5000 cheaper (in NZ anyway)

  • Bucket


    For me, the MPS was to similar to the standard 3…Engine, while very good could shine more if the package around it was better sorted to handle the torque it cranks out.
    Conversley too, its $5000 more than the XR5 in Australia..
    To me, The XR5 offers more character, a bit of a tough look and a very unique experience in the mix of hot hatch arsenal that the Auto Industry currently offers. I guess thats why I went and bought one :)

  • Champs

    I bought my wife one last year. The XR5 is good, I sold the Turbo Territory and bought a second one….

    The over active ESP can be quietened down with after-market springs, if cruise control is an issue (personally I like to drive the car), it too can be installed after-market, and the vent always switches back to open when the car starts. The aircon is typical for a Euro, mildly cool at best, and heater melts your face off.

    All that being said, if you like to drive as I do, I have never before driven a car that makes me smile every time I sit in it, even after a year. It might not be the fastest hot hatch, but it just does everything so well, and leaves the driver confident and excited, even shooting up the shop to get some milk, which I now volunteer to do. If you don’t believe me, check out the forums at

  • Matty B

    I’d still spend the extra and buy a GTi. Can’t wait to see the Mark VI.

  • Alex

    Why would anybody ever buy a base Falcon when they could have this for the same price? I mean, it’s got a big boot, a five star safety rating and my god it’s fun.

    Alloys, are FPV going to be doing the Focus? I haven’t heard anything about it.

    Davie, it is now Ford Australia’s fault that the automatic gearbox is not here yet as it is available in Europe and it is very good. Not quite as perfect as a DSG, but it’s so close that you wouldn’t notice once you got used to it.

  • Bavarian Missile

    The only front wheel driver I would own ! Choice on looks performance and drivability .

    Rod Barrett said 12 months ago he was adding to the FPV lineup………its a sweet little Volvo engine but I do agree a little more tweaking wouldn’t hurt! More power….o yeah!

  • OSU811

    nice car, but for a few thousand extra you can get new my09 wrx, with a lot more power/performance, AWD grip/handling, no torque steer, and the sound of a boxer 4cyl.

  • Bucket


    Shame about the looks for the new WRX :( I’d still be going an MY06 or older…

  • Escort_Ghia

    OSU811 the new wrx just dont sound like it used to and the looks what were Subaru thinking, how do you go from an awsome looking car to an Abomnation i’ll keep the extra few thousand and drive a nice looking focus which sounds goof and looks it.

  • Cupid Stunt aka No Name

    I always admire these when I see them but somehow I could never buy one esp with those stripes. Yep I experienced that Sony head unit in a Focus hire car recently and its is that good.
    Nowt wrong with fwd BM. Try keeping a rwd on the road with black ice all over the place…not nice.

  • technofreak

    Oh noes! Another temptation :(

  • Grumpy01

    Ive done 16000kms in one of these new LVs with leather recaros since August.
    I love it but with the open highway limits and pretty straight roads in WA no cruise is a pain (yes i do like to drive its socks off…thats the problem). only other issues are that it is pretty thirsty (I’ve averaged 10.2l/100kms over 16000km of mostly highway driving) and the boot and tank are pretty small. the boot floor height is about 4 inches higher than standard and the tank only 55l.
    having said all that I’m going to miss it when it goes…best car i have had in terms of pure fun…

  • Reckless1

    This car has only 2 things that are lacking in my GTI -

    2.5 litres, and the gauges for boost et al.

    Other than that, the GTI has this vehicle on toast everywhere else.

    Oh, and no GHASTLY stripes to mark you as a bogun.

  • Anthony

    Reckless, the racing stripes are a $350 option, so you can have a Focus XR5 Turbo without them if you like.

  • Reckless1

    No thanks, not without stripes either.

    I value the cruise control and DSG and the better fuel economy :)

    I can fit a boost gauge quite easily, the other 2 gauges are nice but superfluous in a daily driver.

    • Martyc

      …bet you’re feeling pretty silly now ??? DSG is the asbestos of VW. They may never fully recover.

  • Falcodore

    It is a nice looking car but after comparing to the 3MPS i prefered the interior and extra features (cruise control, Bose stereo) of the 3, plus driving the MPS was an absolute blast!
    With Ford selling Volvo what does that mean for the XR5 Turbo donk?
    Ford might have to source the engines from Mazda in the future.
    You never know, with Ford in the trouble its in they might get Mazda to start producing the Laser again for the asia-pacific region. Just a crazy thought…or maybe not so crazy?

  • Marcus

    Once again Ford offer potential but then let the whole show down with average performance.
    It took them years to catch up to HSV with the Falcon and now the Focus is under done compared to the HSV Astra…..
    Why are Ford slow to catch on ?

  • Anthony

    I rate the Sony unit ahead of the Bose system in the 3MPS and the Focus is far more user friendly than the Mazda despite it having loads more juice.

  • Escort_Ghia

    Marcus the focus may not be as fast but it handels better and has jack torque the focus is a far better car in everyway.

  • R32&XR5

    I own MY08 VW R32 and recently bought a XR5 as a second car. I test drove MPS 3 as well and it was crap. The interior looks very cheap and nasty, which was a surprise as it looked nice in the photos. The car felt gutless in 1st and 2nd gear, possibly due to electronic limiters etc. Now, there is way too much torque steer with this thing. I don’t see how you can even drive it in the rain. Ignore MPS 3 owners saying you get used to it. It’s bollocks.
    To those whinging that XR5 is not fast enough, I spent $850 to get Dreamscience ECU flash and I have 200kw/440nm at my disposal. Considering that XR5 is a lot cheaper than its competitors, it’s a bargain.
    Golf GTI looks so plain in comparison. Nobody even stares at Golf GTI because they look too subtle. On the other hand, everyone stares at my new XR5 (blue with white stripe) and everyone still stares at my R32. :-P
    Very nice review by caradvice. Completely agree with all of the comments.

  • http://integra alloys

    Marcus… answered your own question really. This is a Ford and the Astra is a HSV version. Like I said …….FPV will have their version which will be much better than the Astra just like the FPV Falcons are much better than the HSV Commodes.

  • Al Juraj

    In Victoria where the police make heaps of cash chasing up those who go over the speed limit even by a whisker, cruise control is really important. It’s too bad a car like this doesn’t have it, even as an option. Installing an aftermarket one may hurt its warranty, and the controls may look like a misfit.

    Otherwise the turbo Volvo engine is a gem, combined with renowned front-drive handling, it’s a really great car.

  • Champs

    OSU811 says “get new my09 wrx, with a lot more power/performance”

    The XR5 (with Dreamsience flash tune) has more power and torque, and is still cheaper. You can keep your Hyundai i30….. oops, I mean WRX…. Always get the two confused.

    Reakless1 says “the GTI has this vehicle on toast everywhere else. Oh, and no GHASTLY stripes to mark you as a bogun.”

    But it does have no torque, horrendous Tartan trim and is favored by more Grey haired drives because of its sedate preformance. You can keep that one too.

    Falcodore says “after comparing to the 3MPS i preferred the interior and extra features (cruise control, Bose stereo) of the 3″

    There is no doubt that the MPS has set a bench mark for power in a Front wheel drive, but the handling need vast improvements, the interior is cheap and nasty, and the Bose system is nothing to get excited about.

    As I said earlier, the Focus may not win in individual areas ie.power or styling…… but as a package, it can’t be beaten…. It has rapidly become a cult car in Aust. because it has a character that can only be experienced, I can’t describe it…. Just test drive it and you will see…., The forums have converts from all three of the camps above, all now sware by the XR5…

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    My other halfs brand new Falcon XT is still crap…..the glovebox trim has gap measured proper at bottom at around 4mms on right hand side and at right hand side at top its around 10mms. Cod ordinary attachment to dash to say the least. Then the rear side pillar has trim cover very poorly fitted and has already came loose and is hanging off its fitting. Like the car is significantly better then previous model. Tiny bit ordinary quality inside still! Is best car to come out from Australia but!

  • Wheelnut

    0SU811 – the new subie WRX has lost so much of its character etc that it now looks more like a bland and boring Corolla x’ed with a Daewoo Lanos compared to the Focus XR5 not to mention its arch-nemesis the Mitsubishi Lancer.

  • David_T

    I bought an xr5 last year, and without question its the best car i have ever had.

    I know it sounds like a line from an advertisment, but i still wake up in the morning and get excited about getting into the car for the drive to work.

    like champs says, it might not win on individual stats, but the whole package is pure driving pleasure.

    And i am praying Ford decides to import the RS….

  • KJ

    When is the rest of the range being updated. If Ford were smart, they would release it before the new Mazda 3 arrives here….. I won’t hold my breath.

  • Marcus

    Gee, I love how the Ford fanzies defend a Ford, even a second rate one like the Focus xr5, or the FPV’s which are second rate compared to HSV’s


  • David_T

    Gee Marcus, I love how the Holden bogans feel the need to view the opinions of others thru the narrow minded Ford Vs Holden prism that defines their world….

    I think you’ll find that most people that buy a xr5 couldnt give a toss about ford vs Holden.

    so perphaps you should head back to Mt Panorama, continue drinking your bourbon and listening to Jimmy Barnes, and when you have an thought that isn’t someone else’s from 30 years ago, you let us all know.

  • Bavarian Missile

    hahaha that was gold and soooooo true David!

  • Bucket

    What David_T said ^_^

    Though I can say, a all of the cars that have wanted to have a go off the lights have been Holden…NO idea why though!

  • John_S

    Another Xr5 owner here. The car is a dream to drive! With dreamscience (~200kw/440nm) it just wipes out anyone having a go at you. Nice review btw!

  • Champs

    Marcus got OWNED by David…. Laughed so hard….

    Marcus, I have owned a few Holdens, a couple of Toyotas and a Mazda SP23 Luxury,…. my fav was my HK Brougham with a 327 and powerglide…. loved that car….

    Doesn’t change the facts, the MPS and Astra have the XR5 on power, but are lifeless (unless you count torque steer) machines. The XR5 has a character of it’s own, and then you add dreamscience, and your on evens with the power….. Doesn’t take a rocket surgeon

  • Paul

    HAHAHA Marcus got ripped..

    Funny how he is having a crack about the rivaly between Australian made cars when the XR5 is developed and made in europe by the same guy who previously worked on the M series BMW and Porsche.

  • Falcodore

    Doesnt have a footrest either, which is a sin in any modern car let alone a performance oriented one. If only they paid as much attention to the inside as they did the outside.

  • Big Al

    lol @ Marcus, u got slamed! lol

    Well i test drove one, unfortunatly i couldnt keep it. But hows this. I have always fanticised about owning an EVO, and have been a RalliArt fan for ages, however, i cant just go out and spend $70k on a car ! lol

    Since driving the XR5, i dont even bat an eye lid at Lancers anymore, not even when i drive past the Mitsubishi yard with the RalliArt Lancer parked at the front. Thats because it was SOOO much fun, the looks are impressive, just damn sexy, and acceration felt Awesome, all complimented with the DAMN HOT sound at about 5000rpm, it just howls … i felt proud to drive it, and id be even prouder to see it in my drive way.

    So this is proof to what others are saying, that it turns you, doesnt matter what cult you follow in the car world, i garentee that if you could ever get in one and drive it.. you will understand what its all about.

  • Big Dan

    so can you get dream science installed in aus? how much does it cost? how much u reckon i would get if i trade my 06 focus with 40000ks on the clock?
    i want a black one with sunroof, with dream science, leather seats, and installed cruise control. oh yer baby!!

  • Geni

    Big Dan, go to the fordxr5turbo dot com forums, there are plenty of guys there who have installed the dream science ecu maps, and all of them are very happy campers. Its an aussie site, so there must be places that will install it for you.

  • BK

    Marcus Says:
    December 6th, 2008 at 1:14 pm
    Once again Ford offer potential but then let the whole show down with average performance.
    It took them years to catch up to HSV with the Falcon and now the Focus is under done compared to the HSV Astra…..
    Why are Ford slow to catch on ?

    BK Says:
    hey marcus it took holden 35 years to catch up to fords xygtho phase III. Ford started of the muscle car haven here in aus. Even the 4 litre hammers the 6 litre for six by miles. Wait till the new gtho comes out holden wont have anything else to compete with it. As usuall the fords will continue on dominating for another 30plus years.

  • lola

    its a nice car, but my 5 speed BFII XT 4.0Liter manual beats this, keeps up with it up to 80km/h, and then once i am at about 5500rpm in 2nd, and then in 3rd i am actually 2 cars away from the 5cylinder focus turbo.

    • Joker

      Lola, If thats the case, the person who’s driving the XR5 probably doesnt know how to drive it. XR5 will beat an XT, hands down if driven the right way.

    • MartyC

      lola….. get your hand off it !

  • MattP

    There are only a handful of these XR5 Turbos left in the country and they are an excellent price. I just put down a deposit on one in Brisbane (even though I live in Sydney) and will be picking it up in a fortnight. Awesome Volvo engine!