This is a discussion on drove a '13 Focus ST today within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; Originally Posted by ElusiveSAV Me likey, how would you clean such a thing? A lot of chrome polish lol...
Looks like it belongs to an Arab sheikh.
The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
2010 Audi S4 Sedan|Phantom Black Pearl|DSG transmission|3.0L Supercharged
I recently purchased a 2014 WRX 5 door (Ice Silver Metallic) and heavily cross-shopped the Focus ST. Just to give some background my previous car that I traded in on the WRX was a 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited (that I absolutely loved but had to give up due to a growing family).
I came into this with an open mind, and after reading all the reviews praising the Focus ST I thought it was most likely going to be the frontrunner, especially with all the current incentives. It is a lot of car for the money. I also read the reviews about how tired the WRX interior was, how uncomfortable the seats are, and how vague the shifter is with long throws. I had not driven a WRX since 2011 and have driven so many cars in between I also came into the WRX test drive with a fresh perspective and an open mind.
For the Focus ST, here are my impressions:
- I drove both an ST2 and ST3, and my first impressions were that the powerband was very linear. This is not a Speed3 where you get blasted with the turbo. I actually liked the power, but torque steer was prevalent and coming from a BRZ, I really was not excited about it. I have owned cars with torque steer and it is something that you can get used to, and control but it is still unwelcome IMHO. The one problem that was also readily apparent was that I live in Minnesota and the roads had some snow and water. The Focus with the stock tires had a really hard time keeping traction and a lot of the power was wasted on wheel spin. The more I drove the car the better I became at applying the right amount of power, but this is one thing that you have to consider with high hp/tq FWD cars. Torque steer, and wheel spin. So while the power felt good, I felt like I was losing some of that power at the wheels. Would dedicated snow tires alleviate a big chunk of this? Probably. But I was able to find some dry roads and I still felt that, while the car made good power, I was not blown away like I was in a Speed3 or a 2013 Genesis Coupe that has a twin scroll turbo as well. So plus side is the engine makes good linear power and good torque. On the negative side it is FWD so you have torque steer and tire spin (especially on wet/snowy roads).
- Handling wise the Focus ST is every bit as sharp as the reviews. It is very sensitive and the car responds very well to quick turns. But, and this was a big but for me, the steering had a very artificial feel to it. It does not have the feedback the BRZ has. I felt like I was driving a car in a video game and I just did not have feel connected to the wheels. It was a big letdown for me. So much so that I drove two different Focus ST's on different days just to make sure that I was just not missing something from the steering. But both drives confirmed my feelings toward the steering. The other thing I noticed was the horrible turning radius the Focus ST has and I found out the hard way during my test drive. When I say it is bad, I actually looked it up and it is considerably worse than my 2013 Honda Odyssey! Yes a compact hot hatch has a much worse turning radius than a 4500lbs minivan that is much larger in every dimension... I realize I would get used to this, but even just pulling into parking spaces is much more difficult with this car if you are used to driving a BRZ. But I digress, the Focus ST really does not handle like most FWD cars. I did appreciate how tight the steering was and how direct the car is when you point plow into a corner. I also appreciated how the rear end would slide out some and coming from the BRZ, that is a nice touch for a FWD car. So it was not all bad, but the lack of driver feedback, the artificial steering feel, and the really poor turning radius made me stop and think about driving this car everyday.
- Interior. First impressions is that I love the Recaro seats! Probably the best seats I have ever sat in in a sub $25K car. I thought the BRZ seats were good, but these Recaro's are better. Man this car has a ton of features for $24,999. This was the completely loaded ST3 that had the leather and heated Recaro's, leather back seat, upgraded Sony 10 speaker system with subwoofer, navigation system with Ford MyTouch, Xenon headlights, etc. Push button start.. Tons of features and the plastic felt pretty good to the touch. BMW or even VW good? No. But again this is a totally loaded car for $24,999 including destination. So that is the good. The bad? Well, there is just a lot going on. Buttons everywhere. Controls were not intuitive. For example, I got in the car and could not figure out how to unlock the passenger door for the salesman. I was looking everywhere on the drivers door for the unlock button. Was not there. I looked towards where the shifter was. Not there. It is next to the hazard button in the middle of the center dash on the car! Okay. Not really intuitive at all, but that kind of some up the interior of this car for me. Yes, it has tons of features but I find the MyTouch system very frustrating. It is laggy, and even the salesman was having issues making it work. I personally would prefer something simpler that just works. So the whole point of trading in the BRZ was to have actual legroom in the backseat for my two oldest (8 and 6) and also fit our 3 year old in the back with the other two in a pinch. I am 5'11". With my drivers seat in the position I like it, there was legroom in the back for me, but it was pretty tight. Would it work for the kids? Yes, but not quite as much space as I hoped for. I was able to install two boosters in the Focus ST and it was pretty clear that a car seat would fit in as well with no problem. So I can fit three kids in the back, but it was pretty tight. So all in all, the Focus ST offers a ton of features and lots of technology for the price. Some incredible seats but the downside to all this is that the interior is busy and MyTouch is just frustrating for me to use.
- Shifter. Most of the reviews praised the manual in the Focus ST, but I was letdown vs the Asin shifter in the BRZ. Throws were longer than I was expecting, the shifter felt like it was a little more forward in the car than I would like and it was more vague than I was expecting. The clutch had good engagement and while I would say it is a decent manual gearbox, I was not in love with it.
- The brakes in this car were very strong. They responded well and were pretty sensitive. On the downside, like the handling, I was not getting a lot of good feedback from the brakes. They worked great but like the handling they felt artificial vs my BRZ which has good brake pedal feedback.
- Exterior. This is probably the most subjective part of any car, but I will be honest. I don't really love the Focus ST's exterior. Yes it has the front grill and rear spoiler to distinguish it from a normal Focus 5 door, but I feel like it needs more. Some wider fenders? A hood scoop? I can't quite put my finger on it, but the car just looks too vanilla for me. And I get that many people probably like that, and it is not really bad per say, I just want a little more. I also hate the rims and those would have to get upgraded immediately for me. But it is functional and I am sure with some tinted windows and new rims it would actually improve quite a bit and I could live with it. (Oh, and I just don't love the rear tail lights, there is just something about the shape that is not working for me).
- At this point I knew there was no way I was going to buy the Focus ST that day. I knew now I had to drive more cars including the WRX and maybe even a sedan or two (I really wanted a hot hatch). But I talked numbers with the Ford salesman (who I was not impressed with). Oh boy. They low ball the crap out of my trade. I mean really low balled to the tune of about $4K that we are apart. Now I am a realist. I realize I am trying to trade-in a very new car that is RWD and it is snowing out. But I also did my homework and knew what the fair trade-in value was and $19K that the dealer offered was an insult. Long story short we got into a heated debate about the value of my car and even when I showed him KBB, Nada, local used BRZ's for sale, the Ford dealer was an ass about it. So I left and I knew there was no way I would buy a Ford from them even if they called me back and offered me more for my trade (which they did several days later).
I walked away from my lengthy test drive somewhat disappointed. Maybe I was just expecting more after all the praise? Maybe it was because I drive a BRZ and was expecting similar handling feel? I could not put my finger on it, but I was actually letdown. The minute I got back in my BRZ it just made me appreciate that car all the more and left me feeling almost sad.. Would the WRX be the same disappointment the Focus ST was for me?
TLDR....but man you should have waited for the 15 WRX...
I spent a lot of time with the Ford dealer and I enjoyed my ride in the Focus ST. Quite frankly, it's a Mustang Lite. I have owned muscle cars before and would love to own a Mustang if it was purely a luxury purchase. I live in snowy New England and I took the Focus out on a post-snow day and it drives like sh*t in the snow. If I lived in a drier or warmer part of the country, I might consider it. It IS a lot of car for the money. But the shifter is a bit clunkier than I like. Also, the entertainment system is RIDICULOUS. I have no idea why car companies think that it is a good idea to have touch screen or video screen in automobiles (let alone FAST ones). Please just give me buttons and knobs. (and no, I don't really want a nav screen either-- that is OLD tech. Cell phones with GPS work just fine for me). Lastly the seats SUCK. Yes, the sales people will tell you how great they are, but they are not comfortable at all.
Also, the salesperson offered me an additional $2,000 off the car as a "special incentive." A lot of car for the right size person living in a warm, dry climate (who does not have to keep his / her eyes on the road).
Stink eye mob #682
[/COLOR]07 Mazda 3 S Touring 5 MT - SOLD
12 Charger R/T Red pearl triple coat , wheels and tunes group - SOLD
14 WRB WRX Hatch premium Protuned 267whp/300wtq @17 psi
That being said, the decision to buy a WRX came when I went to the dealer on a very snowy day and they let me play with a WRX with 6 miles on it (and summer "performance" tires). The confidence to allow that with a new customer spoke volumes to me. They trust their cars! That WRX drove as well as my BMW with snows on. Very impressive initiation for me!
The Mercedes dealer next door was much more reticent to let me take out the GL350 (?) I explained that I would not purchase a car I didn't trust in snow. He let me, but limited where I could go and went with me (unlike the Subaru dealer who just gave me the keys and told me to "Have fun."
The Subaru dealer? He gave me the keys and said "stay out as long as you want". I was gone awhile Just like you, even in the summers the WRX was so much more confidence inspiring. The interior was much more simple, but in some ways I prefer it. The Ford was just too busy.
I also went to test drive an EVO MR, and I knew the minute I walked into the dealer there was no way I was going to buy the car. The salesman and the manager were really slimy and treated me like I was an 18 year old with no credit fresh out of high school. Salesman insisted he went with me and he was rude the whole time. I took it out for about 10 minutes and got out of there as fast as I could. It was a ghost town and it was a Saturday...
I agree with this. I was on the fence between a subru and a ford st. Both 2013's. Only reason I considered a St is because it took me about 8 months to finally find a WRX within 200miles of where I live. They dont last on lots too long around here. Dealer told me they usually hold them for about 48 hours total. But back to the fact. The dealer told me. I could spend about 30 on a subaru with no sat nav. sony system. ect ect... Or i could spend 40-50k on a subaru with all that junk. Point he made was when you buy a subaru you buy a subaru. Your not paying for the goodies. Your paying for the motor and the car. Your buying quality. Ford was able to take a 2013 model stickered at 32k down to 22k for me if I were going to buy it. A new subaru cost 28-30k pending where you live. A used subaru two years old with 40k miles on it still will cost you 26-28k... They hold their value and will outlast any ford on the road. Dealer had my subaru on his lot for 1 hour. i drove it home an hour later. Glad I was able to get one.
The Ford is a good car and I am very glad that an American car company is finally marketing solid, fun-to-drive, powerful cars. The Mustang, The Focus and the Fiesta are superb cars.
It was a hard decision. I live in a snowy climate and having a car that performs is all-weather is important. I think that Ford has learned from companies like Subaru.
Given the marketing for the 2015 WRX, I think that Subaru is learning a little from companies like Ford too.
Look at the newer Hyundais and Hondas. Americans LIKE luxuries. Subaru owners likely prefer performance and reliability to creature comforts.
There is something for everyone. The Focus is a lot of car for the money. And, as much as I am pleased about my Subaru purchase, I am sorely disappointed with the crappy sound system. There is a happy medium in there somewhere...
I test drove the Hyundai. It wasnt actually that bad. I have my first child on the way so the thought of a three door kind of steered me away. Dont get me wrong it had plenty of power for what it was. It had a decent amount leg room in the back for the salesman but it just wasnt for me. Get a decent amount of car for your money but if your going to buy a new one then I would suggest getting the ST. Your getting more car for the same price if you buy a leftover model brand new. Price for the hyundai 23-25k. Price of the ST 2013 leftover 24k. I drove all three and decided to go with the Subaru. Couldnt pass up the AWD and the ability to hold value. Something ford and hyundai do not do at all.