The new Ford Focus RS Comes with a Stall Recovery feature that will help you look like less of a jackass after you cut the engine out with the clutch pedal, but it won’t stop you from stalling. Here’s how it works.

We’ve all been there; hooning our sweet five-speed Civics and impressing the ladies and/or gents with our sweet lunch tray-assisted donuts, only to forget to depress the clutch when the car comes to a stop. We stall. Aforementioned girls and/or boys laugh. Friends and/or enemies and/or people who aren’t really friends, they’re just like, you know, “there,” make fun of us.

It’s bad news.

So Ford is here to save the day. They’ve fitted their new 2016 Focus RS with a feature called Stall Recovery. Note that although the system was originally characterized as self-actuating—which Ford has since corrected—the feature is not “stall prevention,” in the strictest sense of the word.

Instead, think of it as stall redemption. Meaning you’ve already goofed up and embarrassed yourself.

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The good news is that the huge line of cars behind you doesn’t have to wait an eternity while you fumble with your keys to start the thing back up. Ford’s not the first to do this—Porsche and Mini have similar systems—but it’s still a useful feature that seems to be increasingly widespread. Let’s walk through how it works.

Today’s Engine Stop-Start Technology

The system uses Engine Stop-Start, a technology that utilizes an oversized starter motor to let your engine take a breather at stop lights and stop signs.

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The way the system works on most of today’s Fords is thus:

  1. You get to a stop sign, depress the clutch and hit the brakes until you come to a halt.
  2. You take the shifter and toss it into neutral
  3. You let off the clutch. The engine stops.
  4. The light turns green. You depress the clutch. The engine fires up.
  5. You shift into gear and get moving.

With Ford’s Stall Recovery Feature

Ford’s Stall Recovery feature uses all the same hardware found in the standard run-of-the-mill Stop-Start system described above, but adds a few lines of code.

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These lines of code allow you to stay in gear and simply depress the clutch after stalling. The overweight starter motor then cranks your engine over, and you can get on your way.

If you stalled a vehicle with Stop-Start that did not have Stall Recovery (like the one mentioned in the last section) and you didn’t want to start the car with the push-button, you’d have to put the car in neutral, then depress the clutch, at which point the engine would fire by itself and you could go back into gear and be on your merry way.

So basically, Ford’s feature saves you a couple steps, and maybe spares you from a few choice words from the drivers in traffic behind you.

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Since the Focus RS is all-wheel drive and has some decently wide tires, stalling is probably something that will happen at least a few times as drivers get to know their vehicles, so we can see how this feature might be useful.

Now we just need to see it featured on the Ariel Atom.

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