Originally Posted by swansong
Good insight from a former MS3 owner, thanks!
Like the OP, I'm starting to consider my next-car purchase. Current plan is to buy a new Focus ST in a few years and keep the SVT as a winter car, but I'm really tempted to get a 07-09 MS3 for a year round DD. It would save a hell of a lot of money over the ST, and I have always had a thing for the Gen-1 MS3. Had a chance to drive the new ST and came away as impressed as I thought I would be, but haven't driven an MS3 yet.
To the OP, St. Louis doesn't get a whole lot of snow in winter does it? I bet a RWD car with a good set of winters, or possibly even all-seasons, may get you by. Also worth noting is that the Focus (and other hatchbacks) obviously offer more interior and cargo space, and while that may not be a necessity in a daily manner, having the ability to occasionally haul a large amount or awkwardly-shaped crap is very valuable. That said, good list! I'd take any one of those cars, (if they were given to me!)
Not totally sure about the winters yet...only been here a few years. The first winter was a blizzard every week. The next winter we got almost no snow. So it's hit and miss, I guess. You can tell I'm nervous about a RWD car though...mostly don't want to get caught out in the snow and be "that guy" who can't pull away from a stop sign. Truth be told I've got a 1998 Nissan Frontier 4X4 as my non-commuter car, which I drive on the weekends and when I think the roads will be slick. So I probably make too much out of the RWD vs FWD, as long as my truck keeps working for me.