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onewhippedpuppy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Drove the Ford ST Twins Today

I'm kicking around the idea of buying something new to use as an affordable daily driver, so I took a look at the Fiesta and Focus ST today. Based on what I've read I walked in expecting to like the Fiesta better, turned out I was totally wrong.

I drove a pretty loaded Focus with the Recaros, which are spectacular. The 2.0L Ecoboost engine was responsive and powerful with just a little bit of low end turbo lag, it made really nice noises for a 4-cylinder. Shifter was light and smooth, slightly long throws but good overall. Excellent clutch engagement, smooth and light, right off of the floor with excellent spaced pedals. Steering was just a little vague but perfectly weighted, I got a very slight torque steer tug when goosed it on a low speed tight corner but it's fantastic for a 250 HP FWD car. VERY impressed with the interior, overall high quality and well appointed. Very practical as well, after adjusting my front seat I was able to sit in the back in reasonable comfort (6'1" and 220). Overall I'd rate the car as feeling very German, it was cohesive and high quality while still being fun.

The Fiesta they had was more basic, with no Recaros. The base seats are ok, but the Recaros are a must have in my book. Pretty much everything about the Fiesta felt cheaper, because it is. Back seat was really cramped, I had to lean my head forward due to the lack of legroom. The 1.6L Ecoboost engine was equally responsive with almost no lag, but it didn't have the same sound or character. Shifter, clutch, and pedals were almost identical to the Focus, which is good. Basically no torque steer, but it also has 50 less HP. Overall it felt lighter and a bit more tossable, but not nearly as planted or refined. In the end, I thought it felt much more like an economy car.

So walking away, I really like the Focus ST and am seriously considering one. Because they've been out for a while it seems that dealers are more willing to haggle, lots of people are getting them for Fiesta money. It's a really great car, and feels more expensive than it is. If anyone is looking for an affordable and practical daily driver that gets better than 30 MPG, both of these are worth a serious look. I personally plan to take a look at the GTi, but unless I find it to greatly superior I will take Ford reliability over VW any day.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:58 PM
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Cogito Ergo Sum
 
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Glad you liked it Matt! My folks still love theirs, nary an issue with it in about 5k miles. At my first autocross I out it about 2 secs off a well driven 996c4s, and I had the ESC on. With some practice that could be a very potent autocross car! I would buy one in a heartbeat if I was in the market. Dad got a helluva deal on his. I'll text you the dealers info.
Old 04-15-2014, 07:04 PM
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Interesting commentary on the Focus. Striking package and have given it some thought too. Tried the BRZ?
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Last edited by Robert Adams; 04-16-2014 at 03:00 AM..
Old 04-15-2014, 07:05 PM
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Cogito Ergo Sum
 
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Robert, I've not driven the BRZ, but I was shocked at how little space they have. While the ST isn't exactly huge, you've for space for 4 and some groceries
Old 04-15-2014, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onewhippedpuppy View Post
I personally plan to take a look at the GTi, but unless I find it to greatly superior I will take Ford reliability over VW any day.
Amen. I like VWs. But holy hell do they nickel and dime you to death. German engineered (macro level), but their suppliers, no so much. Sensors, pumps, relays....endless engine lights....no thanks.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:11 PM
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I'm considering looking at the FRS/BRZ too. The back seats are the biggest turnoff there, they are tiny and only seat two. I'd like something easier to use for kid duty, dropping them off at school in the 996 isn't very elegant. RWD is always appealing, though 200 HP seems pretty marginal. I've seen several Focus ST vs FRS/BRZ comparisons where they Focus gets the nod on the street, but is still able to put down a slightly better track time.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:21 PM
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Matt, you're probably right about the BRZ, it is more compact. When you add the kid duty to the equation, the Focus seems a better choice. Our stable now consists of a VW Jetta Sportswagen and a Mazda 3, tame in comparison to the Focus, but so far proven reliable. My future son-in-law just bought a Subaru Crosstrek. Very nice, but a whole different package to the Focus; but enjoyable! We had it out on a couple of twisties and we both had grins when we got back.
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Old 04-16-2014, 03:09 AM
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I'm in the need of a new dd as well. I'm considering the Ford ST twins too. I will test drive them in a couple of weeks. The other vehicle I'm considering is the NEW Mini. The mags I read really rave about it. I liked the old one, but according to what I read, they had reliability issues.
Old 04-16-2014, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onewhippedpuppy View Post
I'm considering looking at the FRS/BRZ too. The back seats are the biggest turnoff there, they are tiny and only seat two. I'd like something easier to use for kid duty, dropping them off at school in the 996 isn't very elegant.
I can relate to this!! My 993 is my DD and my 11 year old daughter barely fits in the back while my 16 year old son rides in the front!!! I think my 930 had more interior room. My only saving grace, is that my son will be driving on his own very soon, so it will be just me and my daughter in the front.
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Old 04-16-2014, 05:18 AM
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funny, me too- if I can wrap my head around the fact it's for 20 somethings.... Housesitting right now and the neighbor has the Focus ST in yellow. I see it every morning.
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:19 AM
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bri, after having two Minis I wouldn't have another. They are very cheaply made and not very reliable.

Randy, if I go that route I'll definitely go with one of the more subtle colors. I'm a big fan of the Performance Blue on the Focus.
Old 04-16-2014, 06:28 AM
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A buddy of mine test drove the FRS/BRZ. He said he really wanted to love the car but he just couldn't pull the trigger on it because the interior was so crappy in both. I've heard that story from a few other people, too.

He drives A LOT for work, so he got a Prius...and we never let him forget it
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:46 AM
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I did the same thing myself a few months back and drove the ST twins and a BRZ back to back in the same day...

I came out liking the Fiesta ST just a bit more, I drove a loaded Fiesta with recaro's. But must admit a Focus ST for the same $ would be a very tough choice.

BRZ was not even close, it was the first thing I drove, and after the ST twins, it was not considered any longer.

And then 4 days later, I bought a 05 GTO with only 14k on the clock, it's been slightly tuned to 430hp, and the price was way less...
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:57 AM
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i havent driven either of these yet. Msny of my car friends that have driven bothe prefer the fiesta though (FIST ). To me it is a much cooler car than the focus.

Hot "regular" hatches are common enough in the the US these days. However, hot economy "crapboxes" are more rare and lovable in my book. There is something noble about souping up the crappiest and lightest car in your lineup.

The new wrx is supposed to be fantastic as well. I am on my 3rd wrx variant, an 06 wagon, and I really like them.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:14 AM
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Like I said, I really wanted to like the Fiesta. It just felt very economy class for my tastes. Still a great car when you consider the price, but a Focus for similar money is hard to beat.

I would consider a new WRX but they are a bit on the pricey side, the MPG isn't great, and aren't offering a 5-door. I'm a sucker for hatchbacks.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:19 AM
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Read a recent comparison on the Focus ST versus the Subie WRX (not STI). Fairly close performance with with a nod to the Subie except the understeer and, they liked the fit/finish of the Subie better. Outcome was the Subie would make a better DD. They still noted the fun factor of the ST and that it's about what, 5k less?

Driven both of them myself and if the 5k was not a deal breaker, I'd be all over the Subie.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:33 AM
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$5k sounds about right, possibly more as the Focus seems to sell a few thousand under MSRP. I doubt the brand new WRX will sell at much of a discount, at least for a while. My other knock on the Subie would be MPG, the WRX gets about the same on the highway as the Focus does in the city.
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Matt J.
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:44 AM
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I've also driven the Ford ST cars and agree with much of Matt's take.
The Fiesta ST I drove did indeed have the Recaros. From a driver's car standpoint, the Fiesta felt superior to me. No torque steer, more feedback, lighter on its fight.

But I also agree the Focus ST is quite a bit faster (the FoST would smoke a stock mk6 GTI, and is way more fun to drive too), seems better built, and obviously has a fair amount more room.

The Fiesta ST, as tiny as it seems, is relatively similiar dimensionally to the first gen Focus. The Focus ST is nearly as big as my girlfriend's Mazda6 wagon.

In neither car is rear passenger legroom more than an afterthought, but it is much better in the Focus if you skip the Recaro seats. However...its all about the Recaros.

I came fairly close to buying a black ST3 package Focus ST last summer. The dealer tried to bait and switch me and I walked away. I'm not sure about where you guys live, but around here the Ford dealership experience is astoundingly poor. They know zero about the ST cars, are not interested in selling them, and the whole thing reeks of cheeseball 'what can I do to get you in a Ford today?'. Replete with 'I assume you definitely want the Armor-all corrosion protection package at only $999' etc in the F&I office...
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Old 04-16-2014, 12:21 PM
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I have heard rumors of deep discounts on the ST variants, I sorta want a fist, but I am trying to see how many miles I can get out of my wrx wagon.

I am almost at 100k which is by far the highest I have ever racked up. I only manage about 23 mpg on premium though. I suspect subaru wont do much in discounts on any wrx variant but I am hopeful for a hatch version eventually.
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onewhippedpuppy View Post
$5k sounds about right, possibly more as the Focus seems to sell a few thousand under MSRP. I doubt the brand new WRX will sell at much of a discount, at least for a while. My other knock on the Subie would be MPG, the WRX gets about the same on the highway as the Focus does in the city.
Yeah that is my only nit to pick too and it really depends on the type of driving for the commute. Myself, I have the Santa Cruz Mountains to traverse every day so, having the AWD available through all weather would probably trump the MPG loss.

I do give the nod to the ST though for its soul compared to the Subie.. The Subie does feel a bit more mundane. If I could afford the excess, I'd have both of them...
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Old 04-16-2014, 02:11 PM
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