Pleasently surprised...Sorta - Focus Fanatics
Ford Focus Forum
HomeContact UsAbout UsGalleryDiscussion ForumsMarketplace


Go Back   Focus Fanatics > Ford Focus Third Generation > MK3 Focus

MK3 Focus The place to chat about general questions, window tinting, exterior body, interior and lighting upgrades for the third generation 2012-Current Focus.

Search This Forum | Image Search | Advanced Search    
Ford Focus Tire & Wheels FocusFanatics Merchandise

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-13-2012, 06:49 AM   #1
2kwik4u
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Fan#: 102523
Location: Louisville, KY
What I Drive: '12-Sonic Blue-5dr/5spd/203A/Roof

Posts: 319
FF Reputation: 1 2kwik4u Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Pleasently surprised...Sorta

At just under a months ownership I was finally able to go out and "push" the car through some local backroads. It handled far better than I expected. I think the tires are a weak point, however without the handling package (TI,or sport) I can't realy complain too much. I didn't pay for the premium sticky rubber, so I shouldn't expect the thing to stick like it has sport tires on it. It also felt "loose" overall, which is not what I was expecting from a FWD car. Overall it was nice to be in something small and "sporty" again. I daily drove a Mazda RX8 for about 6 months while my wife was pregnant, which we promptly traded away for her A4 when junior arrived. The Focus isn't close to the Mazda, however if you can get past the lean, and soft suspension I think it could probably chase down the Audi through the twisty roads, of course any straight section will leave the Focus wanting for more power, but that too wasn't as bad as I expected (So long as I kept the revs up around 4,500 or so). The Audi "feels" better through the same section of road, but the Focus maintained similar corner speeds before feeling like it was going to let loose. On the street though, I'm still well below ultimate traction levels. Never heard a scrub, or squeal from either cars tires.

Aside from better wheels/tires, are there any other suggestions to improve the handling without killing the ride?

I lowered my S10 (click for picture) significantly, and had 275's on all 4 corners. Huge sway bars, and stiff springs all around. It handled like a champ, but rode terribly. I don't mind lowering springs, but won't sacrifice the current ride for handling again. I've read of a rear sway bar, and seen at least one thread on swapping in Koni's from a different make/model, and getting them to work. Any thoughts from the resident suspension guru's??

On another front....I was a little dissappointed. My wife is participating in this large local festival, and has a booth where she sells customized Christmas ornaments, plates, mugs, etc.....Anyway....I had to make a trip to the storage unit last night to get some items like our EZ-UP, tables, camp chairs, and a couple totes of "inventory". Plenty of space back there (not like our Yukon, but acceptable) with the seats down, and the hatch-cover-board-thing out of the way. My complaint is it felt like the springs comrpessed all the way to the bump stops. The overall weight of the items wasn't that high. Maybe 250-300lbs of cargo total. Less than I would expect if I had a car full of my buddies. The car juts rode horribly as if there were NO springs in the rear, a very similar feeling to when you overload a pickup truck and ride on the bumpstops.....Kinda sucked really. I might have had my expectations a little high here...I dunno. Any thoughts?


2kwik4u is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 09-13-2012, 12:22 PM   #2
4motion
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Fan#: 90975
Location: Aguada, PR
What I Drive: 06 Jetta 2.0T 6MT

Posts: 21
FF Reputation: 1 4motion Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
In terms of the cargo weight experience, i think its a weight distribution issue. Buddys in the back seat IMO transfers the weight diferently than a equal ammount of weight over the overall cargo lenght. Maybe not a huge difference, but probably it can be felt somehow. :)

Cliffnote: More weight on the front wheels, less in the rear when weight is at a rear seat distance rather than whole cargo area. :p

Last edited by 4motion; 09-13-2012 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Cliffnote...
4motion is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
Wildsailor
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Fan#: 102694
Location: Detroit Metro Area, MI
What I Drive: 12 SE Sport Sedan - Sterling Gray

Posts: 89
FF Reputation: 3 Wildsailor Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
On another front, it sounds like you are somewhat used to RWD and AWD. Front wheel drive (FWD) vehicles are a bit different in the twisty stuff.

Try doing some playing and just a good smooth parking lot can illustrate it pretty quickly but don't attract attention. Tight circles or turns are smoother and more controlled while decelerating and get squirrelly when trying to accelerate.

RWD or AWD techniques are that you brake hard going into a curve or turn and make the course correction while the front is loaded and then step on it as you are going through the curve. A little 'oversteer' adds to the excitement. FWD cars don't like this method one bit.

FWD techniques are that you go into the curves hotter than you would with a RWD or AWD car and you keep neutral throttle or trailing throttle (kicks the rear out on a FWD car) until you are through and then you nail it on the other side in the straight. The car will feel way more planted and stable.

A long time ago in my wild years I worked corners at the Showroom Stock road races. The method was clearly demonstrated when observing the 944 Turbos and the 'Rabbit' GTI's tangle... yes, Rabbits, remember those? The Rabbits would scream into the corners with the inside rear wheel off the ground and roll through smooth and effortless like a ballet dancer while the 944's, right behind them, would be 45 to the line spewing tire smoke, asphalt, and rubber bits out the back end.

Go out and give it a try and you will be amazed at the difference the technique makes.
Wildsailor is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2012, 08:36 PM   #4
John W
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Fan#: 77028
Location: Williamsburg, VA
What I Drive: 2012 Ford Focus SE 5MT

Posts: 61
FF Reputation: 1 John W Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
^^^

I daily drove/autorcossed Rabbit GTIs for 8 years. I've owned a wide variety of FWD and RWD cars, but I really enjoy well balanced FWD cars the most. I love using the brakes to set up the turn and adjust the balance of the car; there has to be almost as much, if not more, coordination with your foot as there is with your hands.

I just got my third gen Focus less than a month ago. It's not a Rabbit GTI. It's heavy, the steering doesn't offer great feedback and it's hard to dial in negative camber to the front wheels. The worst part is that the stability control cannot be turned off (is there any hope for an aftermarket fix? It's been the biggest disappointment on this car so far.)

But, the Focus strikes a wonderful ride/handling balance, does not understeer too badly at all, and has fairly high limits, even with the all-season tires. The steering, while lacking feedback, doesn't have any slop in it, much like my 2005 Focus ZX3. And it has much more suspension travel than a Rabbit GTI.

All in all, I think it will be a great daily driver that can be a fun back-road car as well.
__________________
2012 Ford Focus SE, ╠╬╝, Sport Package, Ingot Silver. 1993 Volkswagen Fox. Formerly: 2005 Focus ZX3 SE, ╠╬╝, Pitch Black, SVT suspension.
John W is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 09:06 AM   #5
2kwik4u
Focus Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Fan#: 102523
Location: Louisville, KY
What I Drive: '12-Sonic Blue-5dr/5spd/203A/Roof

Posts: 319
FF Reputation: 1 2kwik4u Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
After some thinking....You guys are probably right. This is the first FWD car I've really leaned on in terms of handling. I've been autocrossing for years but they have all be RWD, or AWD vehicles (some odd ones in there as well).

Here's the list of cars I can remember pushing around cones:

- '91 GMC Syclone
- '00 Chevy S10
- '87 RX7 GXL
- '05 RX8 GT
- '98 Lincoln Mark 8
- '84 BMW 318i
- '98 Firebird
- '06 Audi A4
- '98 SVT Contour

Obviously not an FWD cars in there, although the Audi is heavily FWD biased.

I'll give the revised driving technique a shot when I can and see how it shakes out. I know the SVT Contour I drove for awhile had a HUGE "Lift-Throttle-Oversteer" problem. Basically if you lifted mid corner the back end would seriously lighten up and start coming around on you. Does the Focus do that at all?
2kwik4u is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 09:43 AM   #6
suss6052
Focus Addict
 
suss6052's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Fan#: 95752
Location: ..., MI
What I Drive: 2013 Ford Focus ST2 Ingot Silver

Posts: 12,378
FF Reputation: 23 suss6052 Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (3)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2kwik4u View Post
After some thinking....You guys are probably right. This is the first FWD car I've really leaned on in terms of handling. I've been autocrossing for years but they have all be RWD, or AWD vehicles (some odd ones in there as well).

Here's the list of cars I can remember pushing around cones:

- '91 GMC Syclone
- '00 Chevy S10
- '87 RX7 GXL
- '05 RX8 GT
- '98 Lincoln Mark 8
- '84 BMW 318i
- '98 Firebird
- '06 Audi A4
- '98 SVT Contour

Obviously not an FWD cars in there, although the Audi is heavily FWD biased.

I'll give the revised driving technique a shot when I can and see how it shakes out. I know the SVT Contour I drove for awhile had a HUGE "Lift-Throttle-Oversteer" problem. Basically if you lifted mid corner the back end would seriously lighten up and start coming around on you. Does the Focus do that at all?
The 98 SVT Contour is FWD, so this would be the second car you've pushed in anger around some twisty bits/ cones/ road/etc.
suss6052 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 10:26 AM   #7
raptor1956
Focus Addict
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Fan#: 97725
Location: Taylorsville, UT
What I Drive: 2012, Sonic Blue, Focus Titanium

Posts: 1,202
FF Reputation: 1 raptor1956 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Good thread and it's nice to see some guys with ACTUAL performance driving knowledge...

I've had a number of compact sporty cars over the years: 1985 Celica, 1989 240SX, 1998 Integra GSR and of those cars the 240SX had the best (neutral) handling when stock. I wound up putting Eibach springs and new shocks on the Integra that lowered the car about 1.5 inches and did NOT put the camber kit in so I had a good deal more negative camber and that really helped with the understear issue most cars, particularly FWD cars have. The springs did give the car a noticeably firmer ride but not terrible.

Now that I have the 2012 FF Ti HB I have to say it's pretty close in handling to the Integra with only a tad less power (160 v 170). I haven't had any of the issues the early adopters have had with the DCT and since I do a lot of longer distance driving I'm not going to make the ride any harsher than it is -- I guess I'm getting old. Sucks!


Brian
raptor1956 is online now  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
mac.mogul
Focus Fanatic
 
mac.mogul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Fan#: 90409
Location: Wichita, KS
What I Drive: 2011 Sterling Grey SES Sedan

Posts: 3,702
FF Reputation: 13 mac.mogul Great Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
I think the 2012's could benefit from better dampened shocks for all trims, but for the most part the handling is the best I've experienced in FWD. That torque vectoring is really very impressive for a brake-based system. I still think a real differential would be beneficial but maybe that would cost too much to produce.
Typically in a FWD (Like my '11 Focus, ha) if you go into a corner with a heavy foot you'll quickly disappear in a cloud of understeer, but the mk3 stretches the limit so you have to be really pushing it to throw it off it's game.

There is a member on here who runs a '12 Titanium dct hatch in STF in my local region and his only modifications are lighter wheels and better tires. I have the FRPP suspension kit, my car weighs approx 300 pound less and his times at the last autox were consistently 1-1.5 second faster than mine.
__________________
2011 SES 5spd #006 >> SR #213

What other people think of me is none of my business.
mac.mogul is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 10:55 AM   #9
raptor1956
Focus Addict
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Fan#: 97725
Location: Taylorsville, UT
What I Drive: 2012, Sonic Blue, Focus Titanium

Posts: 1,202
FF Reputation: 1 raptor1956 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac.mogul View Post
I think the 2012's could benefit from better dampened shocks for all trims, but for the most part the handling is the best I've experienced in FWD. That torque vectoring is really very impressive for a brake-based system. I still think a real differential would be beneficial but maybe that would cost too much to produce.
Typically in a FWD (Like my '11 Focus, ha) if you go into a corner with a heavy foot you'll quickly disappear in a cloud of understeer, but the mk3 stretches the limit so you have to be really pushing it to throw it off it's game.

There is a member on here who runs a '12 Titanium dct hatch in STF in my local region and his only modifications are lighter wheels and better tires. I have the FRPP suspension kit, my car weighs approx 300 pound less and his times at the last autox were consistently 1-1.5 second faster than mine.
Lighter wheels make a big difference owing mostly to reduced moment of inertia. One of the reasons why going with bigger wheels doesn't make the most sense on the race track.


Brian
raptor1956 is online now  
    Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2012, 12:45 PM   #10
skourg3
Focus Rookie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Fan#: 100252
Location: Plattsburgh, NY
What I Drive: 2012 Focus SE Hatch

Posts: 11
FF Reputation: 1 skourg3 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
Quote:
Originally Posted by raptor1956 View Post
Lighter wheels make a big difference owing mostly to reduced moment of inertia. One of the reasons why going with bigger wheels doesn't make the most sense on the race track.


Brian
That's true, but applies a little more to drag racing. Stiffer sidewalls on the tires are important for handling. Obviously there's a balance point; you don't want to go with 14" wheels with massive sloppy sidewalls but also don't want to go with bigger than you have to because of the weight difference.

Also, getting a desired wheel width (for wider tires) is sometimes correlated with the diameter, to some extent. It's easier to find wider wheels that are larger diameter.
skourg3 is offline  
    Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks & Social Networks
-->
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:08 AM.


Copyright 2002-2014 FocusFanatics.com. All Rights Reserved : Terms of Use : Privacy Policy : Advertise Information

Focus Fanatics Ford Focus Forum offers many fun ways for you to engage with other Ford Focus Owners from across the world. Whether it be about the aftermarket performance modifications, technical how-to's, European tuned suspension or awesome fuel economy similar to the Acura TLX or Fiesta ST. You can find all Ford Focus and Focus ST related information here. Join our Ford Focus discussion forums and chat with local Focus enthusiasts in your area.