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Old 10-10-2012, 06:54 PM   #19
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Fan#: 83576
Location: Appleton, WI
What I Drive: 2004 Subaru WRX Wagon

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Drove it!

Well, might as well write a mini-review. Drove it for about 20 minutes. I'll compare the driving experience to my SVT since it was my point of reference.

The Good:

The handling. Oh my. The handling is truly the star of this car, it's so neutral and so quick. I didn't push it super hard, but I did get the rear to rotate during a roundabout. Doing so delivers an instant smile (I literally was smiling). The steering is very quick and it's very easy to point the car where you want to. Totally intuitive.
The seats are fantastic. They really do hug you in place, and the material feels high quality. Plus they look even better in person than in pictures.
The engine rocks. You want torque? OK, here it is! Revs easy, has power all over the powerband, and there's no turbo lag.Could use a bit more "character" though, see below.
It looks great, inside and out, again better in person that in photos. It really makes an impression, but it's similar enough to the regular Focus to not shout HEY LOOK IMA RACECAR VRRR.
It's very refined, in many ways. The cabin is very quiet, the ride is good, the materials and build quaility seemed spot on (although I didn't have enough time to really poke around in there.)
The ride is perfect to me. It's certainly more supple than my 132k mile SVT, but still firm and communicative. Body roll was less than that of my car.


The refinement kind of works against it sometimes. For some reason, driving it almost seemed "too easy". The clutch was nice and light, the shifter was light and slipped into gears like a boss, and it was easy to point the wheel, punch the gas, and drive it hard. But it felt a bit isolated or something. The engine was hard to hear, even with the sound symposer, and forget about "feeling" it in any way. Perhaps I'm just used to my SVT with it's rougher shifter and louder, vibration-prone cabin and cable-connected throttle and Borla exhaust where the entire driving experience is much more visceral and hands-on.
The cabin was very nicely done, but felt cramped at first impression. A-and-C-Pillers were large, and it was tough to see your blind spot, even with turning around. The full size spare seemed to take up cargo space with a high load floor, but perhaps this is how all Mk3 are, not sure. The back seat had good space though, equal or better to the Mk1 IMO.Again, I'm probably used to my more-open-feeling SVT, and I'm sure I'd get used to it all of it in about a week.
The worst problem: It's not in my garage... Actually, even though I loved the car, I won't mind waiting a year or two to get it. It was everything that I hoped it would be, but it didn't play voodoo tricks on my mind and cause me to start thinking about making a bad-yet-awesome financial decision.
Mine: 2004 Subaru WRX Wagon: 116k, WRB
Gone: 2002 SVT, #1654

Hers: 2012 Focus Ti Sedan: 67k, SGM, Manual
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