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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In case this is useful to any others here making choices, a few notes from test drives to date:

New MX-5: a beautiful looking jewel of a car, and it might be a great choice if you live in a lightly-trafficked area with a lot of twisty roads. But I found it unsuited to urban/freeway driving in heavy traffic, it's too small and light to feel substantial enough with all the SUVs and tractor trailers around. The engine and exhaust sounds are uninspiring in-cabin to say the least (top up or down), acceleration is mediocre, and there is a lot of vibration coming through the car (especially the gearshift, which is visibly shaking most of the time). The armrest is so high that your elbow is almost forced to sit on it while you are shifting which I found really annoying. Trunk is of course miniscule.

In sum: it was certainly nowhere near as fun to drive as I anticipated based on the glowing reviews, compared to my father's vintage 911 it was a yawn. And loaded, with the upcoming hardtop, it's going to be within a few grand of the RS.

New Camaro SS: Appealing in a brutalist sort of way, but not noticeably smaller than the previous generation and still a massively big car for what is really a two seater. My test drive of this was "virtual" as the dealers here are still not letting them out of the showroom - but once I sat in it and adjusted my driving position etc. I quickly realized a test drive would have been a waste of time. Ask yourself this: do you want to have to dip your head to see traffic lights? Because that is what you will be doing if you are over 5'10" tall - the Camaro's tiny windows belong in a bunker, not in a car. The side windows are about 6" tall, the beltline is basically level with your head, and "visibility" out the rear is a bad joke. Chevy blew it, they'd have greatly broadened the Camaro's appeal by adding a modicum of outwards visibility to this thing. Other points: - very stiff shifter, odd downward tilt to central screen, lots of hard plastic, but the interior does look quite good on the top-range 2SS.

In sum: a looker with a great engine, and according to all the reviews excellent handling, but it will put your stress level in urban driving through the roof. No thanks.

2014 Focus ST: This was by far the most enjoyable of the three to drive. (I test drove a lightly used (3K mileage) ST as no dealers here have new ones for testing.) I've written about my ST drive in another thread so will just say here that the only negative was the slightly numb steering - my current car has a hydraulic rack and provides better feedback when the tires start to lose grip. When I deliberately slid the front wheels on the ST there was very little change in force coming through the wheel. Hopefully the RS rack will be more communicative.

So as of now I am nearly certain the RS will be my next car; the only competitor I still want to test drive is the Golf R, but I suspect it will be too polished and uninvolving for my taste, as it has been for some reviewers - and I am also concerned with the lifetime COO, VWs are not very reliable and are costly to fix.
 

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On the ST - as impressed as I was with it, I read a review of the 2015, and apparently changes made for the 2015 MY have made the handling appreciably better. The RS should be amazing.
That's good to hear. I wasn't even aware that the Focus was facelifted for 2015. I just haven't been paying attention.

I did a few test drives of Fiesta STs when they first came out and declared that that was the car for me. Still too big, but moderately powered and more practical than anything else in the family. I was all about that Molten Orange also. It couldn't be had with the Fiesta's "explosion of buttons" dashboard and the seats were very nice. Steering was consistent and decently communicative. There was tons of cargo space if you don't have more than one passenger. The car responded to the Scandinavian Flick really well and I was able to scare the **** out of the salesman that came with me. The only thing that I didn't like (besides the nonexistant rear visibility) was the car's desire to plow through turns. I got kicked out of the Ecoboost Challenge for understeering off of the course. I figured that I could remedy that with suspension parts and tuning. I was ready to sign on the dotted line when a friend who works for Ford said that he had been testing an AWD Focus, so I played the waiting game.
 

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That's good to hear. I wasn't even aware that the Focus was facelifted for 2015. I just haven't been paying attention.

I did a few test drives of Fiesta STs when they first came out and declared that that was the car for me. Still too big, but moderately powered and more practical than anything else in the family. I was all about that Molten Orange also. It couldn't be had with the Fiesta's "explosion of buttons" dashboard and the seats were very nice. Steering was consistent and decently communicative. There was tons of cargo space if you don't have more than one passenger. The car responded to the Scandinavian Flick really well and I was able to scare the **** out of the salesman that came with me. The only thing that I didn't like (besides the nonexistant rear visibility) was the car's desire to plow through turns. I got kicked out of the Ecoboost Challenge for understeering off of the course. I figured that I could remedy that with suspension parts and tuning. I was ready to sign on the dotted line when a friend who works for Ford said that he had been testing an AWD Focus, so I played the waiting game.
I'm very surprised you had trouble with under-steer, as you stated the FiST responds to pendulum turns very well, as does the regular Fiesta if driven correctly. I always found the FiST a little more tail happy then the FoST. I don't think you would of been disappointed with the FiST if you went through with it but waiting for the RS is what I would have done if I didn't already have my FoST.
 

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The Fiesta ST IMO is far better/more fun to drive than the Focus ST. I didn't get any significant push out of the ones I've driven. I've only driven one on the stock tires though.
 

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The Fiesta ST IMO is far better/more fun to drive than the Focus ST. I didn't get any significant push out of the ones I've driven. I've only driven one on the stock tires though.
Dave-ROR

I respectfully disagree but to each his own. The FiST is fun. The FoST is more fun
and hopefully the FoRS will be the funnest :cool: Your opinion may be different, but mine is base on many, many, many years of driving and my own humble opinion :rolleyes:

Merry Christmas to All

YMMV,

MidCow3
 

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Still too big...
You think the Fiesta is too big, but you ordered a Focus?

The only thing that I didn't like was the car's desire to plow through turns. I got kicked out of the Ecoboost Challenge for understeering off of the course.
I've heard you mention being on track in other threads, but this screams driver error.
 

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I own a Fiesta ST, 2016 with Recaro's, nav, moonroof. It is truly a joy to drive. I haven't had it all that long (october) and have put about 2300 miles on, carefully breaking in the first 1000, so about 1300 of actually driving it. I haven't experienced any "plowing" through turns, it handles really really well, I can't really tell its FWD until I turn off TC and start breaking the fronts loose, however I have not tracked it and truly pushed the car, so perhaps that is why. As per cargo room and it being too big... I must disagree here. This car is pretty damn small, its' about as easy as parking gets, but also it puts a damper on its utility (although I'd hope one doesn't buy a sub-compact hot hatch for utility lol), I took my girlfriend and her mom to the airport and they brought two small luggage bags and they BAAAAARELY fit in the cargo area. It is no where near as fast as the Focus ST, but it feels every bit as quick (this is coming from limited experience in a few test drives of the Focus ST, so take with a grain of salt and recognize it as simply my opinion, which of course this whole post is).

I would be completely content keeping the FiST, but I know I'll be on cloud 9 in the RS, which is why I'm trading up. AWD, more utility, more power, better sounds, and one may even be able to justify it as a family car which the FiST simply can't for me. I'm 6'4" and while I fit just fine it really is a two seater, the back seat is laughable, even for a new born (I have doubts a car seat would fit behind me... maybe the passenger side with the front seat properly adjusted, but my seat is all the way back, all the way down, and has some rear lean. Really looking forward to a little extra interior and cargo space the RS will afford.
 

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You think the Fiesta is too big, but you ordered a Focus?
I'd dump it in a heartbeat if they announce a Fiesta RS with AWD. Until then, I've got my Miatas.

I've heard you mention being on track in other threads, but this screams driver error.
I'm not trying to imply that I'm a perfect driver. My racing is not competitive and I'm fine with that. Compared to the completely stock Eclipse that I was driving at the time which had a hilarious oversteering problem, the Fiesta ST was disappointingly loose in the front. But that was just one car at one event. I don't recall seeing that issue with the other Fiestas that I had driven earlier but those were on back roads and parking lots.

This was a thread about test driving cars that one might cross-shop with a Focus. I was simply adding my impressions of another vehicle. I'd be fine with discussing how awesome the Fiesta ST may or may not he, but I don't really feel like this is the place. Hopefully soon I'll type up my impressions of the Abarth but I really want to beat the snot out of it first.
 

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Dave-ROR

I respectfully disagree but to each his own. The FiST is fun. The FoST is more fun
and hopefully the FoRS will be the funnest :cool: Your opinion may be different, but mine is base on many, many, many years of driving and my own humble opinion :rolleyes:

Merry Christmas to All

YMMV,

MidCow3
No problem. The power in the Focus is better, but the handling, steering, etc were more raw and direct IMO :)
 

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Drove a FoST (for context only) & Golf R yesterday.

The ST left me especially enthusiastic for the RS It was a short drive of a floor stock car with just 5km on it. - driver seat/wheel/pedals relationship are great. Pedal weights were good - not light & with feel. Steering felt good at commutor pace, dispute the electric assist. Suspension was a revelation - solid, well damped. The RS will not lack in the fit & feel stakes.

Seats although not relevant in Oz, were great for my 188cm/87kg (physically active) build.
Engine was strong and responsive given the gentle drive.
Interior materials are OK but not a match as the Golf R.

The R remains as the fall-back option but I drove a DSG which aways takes attention to relate through to the rest of the car. The R is a super car. Very sophisticated. Almost all FoSt comments apply. It felt a touch doughy in less than Race mode but the DSG was too intense there - most of the drive was in manual Race. The DSG also has a $1000 gearbox service at 60,000km. Manual for me..

I'm more impatiens this morning than yesterday morning for the RS to arrive!!!!
 
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