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Old 01-02-2007, 07:24 AM   #1
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Test drove 06 WRX TR: Not trading in the SVT

Last Friday I got out of the office early and took the time to finally test drive a MY2006 WRX TR. The car had been traded in with 10,000 miles, so it was broken in and in excellent shape. Dealership wanted $23,200 or so for it. I told the salesman I wasn't looking to buy, but would love a chance to drive it. I ended up with the car for ~35 miles and one hour alone, to drive it to my house and pick up my second set of keys for the Focus (locked myself out). Anyway, the test drive.

Short version: my 2004 SVT Focus is a better driver's car in nearly every sense of the word.

Longer version: The car was about as good as I was expecting it to be. We all have our opinion on the styling by now, I think it looks good. Silver was a decent color on it, this one had no spoiler, OEM 17's w/ 215/45R17 Potenza RE92's. The stock exhaust is really very quiet. Interior ergonomics were good enough they didn't piss me off, but no better than that. This is the first boosted car I've driven, which was enlightening.

The Good:
Power from 3000-6500RPM.
The seats were pretty good.
Exhaust note, though not volume, was good.
Visibility good.
Had a big trunk.

Not So Good:
Off boost power embarrassing; and this was the new 2.5L H-4, which was supposed to vastly improve that.
Gearing was somehow strange. It felt widely spaced.
Shift action was notchy, light on effort.
Some interior materials were cheap.
Gauges could be better.
Clutch was weird, I'd get used to it though.
Throttle a little laggy, slightly more than the SVT (I have an aftermarket TB)

But the thing that REALLY killed it for me was the handling. Yeah, maybe I need to get off my high SVT horse, but I was really expecting more.

I chucked the Rex into an offramp at decent speed and cut the wheel hard right doing, maybe 50mph. I know what the Focus does here, handling transitions like this are something the Focus does really well. The WRX rolled, a lot more than I thought it would. Then, the initial turn-in was terrible, I just lost front grip, snap Understeer, something I didn't actually know existed. A second later the front caught, and it started to Oversteer. It wasn't really entertaining, more disappointing and a little concerning given how numb the whole action was, not to mention that if I'd been trying to hold a particular line, I'd be all kinds of off.

It turns out Car and Driver only got .79g out of their last WRX TR on the skidpad. That's a whole lot less than the SVT on its OEM Conti's, but the overall grip wasn't really as disappointing with how confused the chassis felt. I'm seeing finally how journalists got away comparing the SVT Focus to a BMW M3 and Corvette Z06, its grip management is pretty damn good.

Oh, I got the Focus appraised while I was there. Given it's had front end damage, I knew it would be low, and it was. They offered me $5000. That's a hefty loss over the course of 18 months or so (got it for 13,975 last July). The car may officially be worth more to me than anybody else on the planet at this point.

ALSO WORTH NOTING: The dealership had taken trade on a 2003 SVTf, Infra Red w/ HID's. They want 9.9k for it, don't know much about condition, but the price looks good for the mileage. Anybody in the area looking for one, this is a decent enough deal.

http://www.berlincity.com/index.asp?...stock=6M50205A


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Old 01-02-2007, 08:41 AM   #2
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What you experienced in the car is about the same that I did. Its on of the reasons I dislike the way Subaru's handle. Granted the car weighs a lot more than a focus does, so it is having to deal with that.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:51 AM   #3
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Good thread. It's nice to know that I can compete with a wrx in at least one attribute. I've driven a lot of cars and nothing has compared to the handling of my SVT.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:58 AM   #4
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Between the SVT's driving caliber and its miserable resale value, I'll most likely be sticking with it for a number of years and just adding to the stable. I don't think any one car could be as much fun as an SVTf along side an MR2 or Miata, one or the other of which I will someday own as my weekend car.
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Old 01-02-2007, 03:05 PM   #5
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Before I got my SVT I test drove a couple WRX's and I was not impressed with the handling either.
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:38 PM   #6
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for a while i was thinking of trading my st and going for the wrx but this seems discouraging....i am looking for upgraded handling...nevermind now
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:49 PM   #7
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Well, it's without doubt worth a test drive. It's possible the poor car is just under-tire'd, its wearing a set of shoddy A/S Potenza RE92's in the same size as my much-lighter SVT, and apparently stiffening the rear suspension alone does great things for grip management for the cars. The main problem is that its $24,000 of car, or nearly enough, and they only offered me $5000 on the Focus, which is a HUGE cost to myself. Throw a few grand at the WRX and I'm sure it'll do just about everything better, but hell, for nearly $19,000 I can do a load to the Focus too... Combine that with a not-so-stellar interior, increased tire wear and fuel consumption, and a probable increase in insurance costs, and my SVT starts looking pretty sweet all over again.
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:53 PM   #8
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^^ true... re-sale value sucks..
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