2008 Ford Focus XR5 Turbo Review

2008 Ford Focus XR5 Turbo Review

Five doors, five seats, five cylinders… perhaps good things come in fives

Model Tested:

  • 2008 Ford LV Focus XR5 Turbo 2.5-litre, five-cylinder, six-speed manual – $36,990 (RRP)


  • Metallic Paint $310; Premium Paint $1,800 (Fitted – Electric Orange); Rear Parking Sensors $600; Electric Sunroof $1,900; Overhead Stripes $350; Recaro Sports Leather Trim & Seat Heaters $2000; Mullin’s Motorvatr 18” Alloy Wheels $1064

plus.jpg Balance, Power Delivery, Grippy Handling, Exhaust Note, Price Tag

minus.jpg Panel Lighting, Brake Pedal Position, Road Noise, No Cruise Control

CarAdvice Rating: rating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gifrating11.gifrating_half.GIF

- by Matt Brogan

A lot of so called sports cars these days comprise of little more than a badge, a spoiler kit and a set of alloy wheels – an anodyne, half baked attempt at attracting the brain dead if you ask me. But if instead you’re the type whose right foot gets a little itchy at the mere idea of pounding down a twisty country road in a no holds barred bona fide hot hatch, then perhaps you’d better take a look at this.

The face-lifted LV Focus XR5 Turbo, unlike its LT series South African siblings, is a completely German designed and manufactured five-door, five-seater boasting not only the sporty good looks deserved of wearing the XR badge, but a tremendous and dynamic engine and handling package sure to delight the driver in all of us.


From the supportive embrace of the Recaro bucket seats to the passive-aggressive attitude of the restyled (kinetic) front end, the XR5T offers a combination of looks, practicality, performance and price that has lured many an eight-cylinder purist in recent times. Not hard to see then how this little champion has earned an almost cult-like following.


Far from being a bare-bones boy racer though, XR5T includes such modern niceties as a sweet sounding Sony MP3 compatible premium six CD tuner with remote audio controls, a sassy leather bound tilt/telescopic adjustable steering wheel, multi-function trip computer, sports instrument cluster, power windows with one touch up front, power and heated wing mirrors, air-conditioning, remote control central locking with keyless starter button, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, and height adjustable halogen headlamps.


You also pick up some juicy external appendages with a set of salient 18” alloy wheels (space saver spare), unique twin exhaust outlets, front and rear fog lamps, moulded sill panel skirts, oversized rear spoiler, clear tail light lenses and larger diametre rear discs all adding to XR5T’s already athletic appeal.


But aesthetics aside, a hot hatch needs a pretty big heart to win any respect at all given the amount of competition out there (think VW GTi, Volvo C30-T5, Honda Civic Type R, Mazda MPS3, Subaru WRX, Holden Astra SRi), let alone keep fans coming back for more with every re-incarnation released. XR5T is one such car, and here’s why.


The 2.5-litre, in-line five-cylinder, turbocharged engine is the embodiment of all that’s right in forced induction. Strong, linear boost and flat, early torque delivery make the 166kW, 320Nm, at 6000rpm and 1600rpm respectively, offering a lithesome, overtly usable affair that has an uncanny habit of putting on more pace than you’d at first give heed to.