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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone - just came across this Forum and am excited about becoming a member. As the title suggests, I was the original owner of a 2002 SVT Focus that I owned until March of this year. Those of you familiar with the SVT will know it as the 1st hot hatch that Ford made available to North America. It was a great car (other than the fact it had no torque whatsoever); and I had nearly 13 years of enjoyable driving. It was a truly crude car by today's standards, but that's what gave it so much character. That, and the fact that it handled like it was on rails.

I replaced the SVT with a 2013 Golf R. I considered a ST Focus, but frankly went with the R because of its refinement and a dealer who was looking to move the R and accepted an offer I thought he would never agree to. When VW introduced the new generation R, I am frankly very interested in this model for a future purchase. I really had my doubts that Ford was going to bring the RS to America, so the R was the only car that interested me (sorry STi guys, it's just not for me). Now that Ford has committed the RS to the US, my outlook has changed. I am VERY MUCH interested in the RS.

I'm looking forward to this Forum providing worthwhile and updated information on the RS; in particular on the North American version!
 

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I currently have a 2002 SVT, installed a supercharger this weekend. Only 50k miles on the car. I too can't wait for the RS
 

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Focus 112, although I'm in Atlanta now, I'm originally from New England. I sold the car to my best friend in the Providence area, so if you're ever driving through Rhode Island, be on the lookout for a 2002 2dr, silver SVT with the red interior option. BTW, my Focus was a relatively low mileage car also - 76,000 miles. Have fun with the supercharger, but remember that the dual mass flywheel can only handle so much torque.
 

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Thanks, running great so far. Still making under 200 lbs of tq so should be fine.
 

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In terms of handling how would you say your SVT compared to your R? I loved the way my SVT danced and the way I could implement control slides on offramps in the wet, my ST is the same but the levels of grip are higher and shows its 400lb weight penalty over the SVT a little in terms of changing direction.
 

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There are obviously major differences between the R and the SVT (not to mention in my case an 11 year model difference). But 4 things come to mind right away. Steering input/feel, weight, chassis dynamics, and 4WD vs. FWD. First, the R steering is way too light, over boosted and electronic to boot. The Focus steering, although light in feel itself, felt better connected to the road with reasonably good feedback. Electronic units at this point just can't match hydraulic units - and that's apparent with the Golf, particularly when they over boost the power steering. Second, weight - the R comes in at 3325 lbs. and the SVT weighs 2750 lbs. That's a 575 lb. difference! Clearly the SVT felt light, nimble and tossable. Although the R cannot come close to making up for that weight differential, the third item, chassis dynamics, helps close the handling gap. What made the SVT such a great handler were a lowered body, over-sized tires, stiff shocks and beefier springs. Good stuff, but pretty crude. The R's suspension is light years more refined by comparison. Although still reasonably firm, the R's suspension allows the car to track well while still being compliant over rough surfaces. SVT owners know only too well the lack of compliance when hitting an unexpected bump in the road and feeling the shock wave come through the steering wheel. The fourth item, 4WD vs. FWD, is game changer in itself. If you're pushing a car near its limits, you drive a 4WD vehicle differently than a FWD vehicle. The SVT was the best handling FWD car I've ever driven. Uncharacteristically, the car had no understeer; to the point that when pushed hard it would actually oversteer. If the back end started to come around in the Focus, you had no choice but to let up and countersteer to bring the back end in line (not enough power to pull you out of a sliding back end). The Golf has mild understeer on corner entry, but you let the chassis take its set, and then power through the turn letting the 4WD just pull you through.

A couple of more thoughts before I'm through. I made a substantial improvement in the R's handling when I replaced the OEM Pirelli all-seasons with Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Big change in the way the car drives and feels. And lastly, my biggest gripe with the SVT was its lack of torque. I don't miss the 135 lb-ft (?) that that the Focus had. The R turbo-charged motor is a delight; and its 256 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque are the biggest gains over the SVT.

However, something tells me that the RS will completely change the landscape when it comes to hot hatches in North America. And thus my interest.
 

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Odd that you could not power out of over-steer with that SVT. Was it equipped with a LSD? My SMF car (old Civic with solid rear axle) only has about 133ft-lb and it would pull out of over-steer. Mine was only 2000lbs (+65% on front IIRC) with 255 R-comps on the front and 225 r-comps on the back and did have a LSD.
 

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I like your description between the SVT and the R. I think you are going to be surprised at the difference in the RS vs. the R and SVT though. Speaking from my experience with my ST, if the steering rack is as good or better than the ST's, I think you will be surprised at how much feedback an electric rack can give you. I think the ST's rack is amazing and I love the quick ratio.

I don't think weight is as big of an issues as some people are making it out to be. Well at least not between 2700lbs and 3300lbs. Obviously you're experiencing it with the R, but honestly, the SVT was no "lightweight". I find it funny how easy people forget cars have ballooned over the past 30 years (for good reason) to where they are. Remember Rabbits and CRX's weighing in wet at sub 2000lbs? 2700lbs still is not tossible, is it more so than 3300lbs, yeah a little, but not by much.

Chassis dynamics are going to blow you away. The ST's torque vectoring allows the ST to handle so much better than even some of the best handling front drivers from even 5 years ago. If you think the SVT handled well....just wait. With what I'm imagining is possible with the new torque vectoring based on the rear clutch packs from the RS, you will have to relearn how to drive the car quickly (everyone will I'm guessing).
 

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I love all this SVT talk. Mine can certainly pull itself out of an oversteer, but yes the torque is lacking in lower RPMs
 
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