Yep, the dampers were a direct drop in with no complications whatsoever. Even the endlink and brake line brackets were exactly the same. My stock dampers showed no signs of leaking, though - so I'm not so convinced that they were to blame.
Since you're down in NC, coilovers should be just fine for you. Go with KWs if you can, the stainless bodies won't rust like everything else will, just in case you do encounter some salt on the roads. I'm averse to doing a coil setup on this car because I've run coilovers before, and they don't do well with northeast winters. Adjusting seized coilovers is no fun.
For comparison's sake, I haven't ridden in any Ti Foci with the 18" handling package. I'll see if I can work on that, but I'd imagine this rides firmer than yours does.
The other option you have, is to wait for Koni Sport dampers, which I was told by Koni themselves to see by the end of the year.
Joined the dark side.