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Old 05-24-2006, 01:28 PM   #1
SVT Robzor
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Outstanding Driver's Cars you've driven? (Long - wanting opinions)

Thought perhaps you all may be able to help me with my research. Though I'm not looking to replace it immediately, I drive an SVT and, while very good, in my honest opinion it falls down in some catagories as a driver's car. I don't want to get jabbed for that, it's a matter of opinion. I could talk all day about what I like, but the list of things that need improving, and what I will need in a more optimal car, consists of:

Seats: I cannot stay comfortable in the cloth-insert SVT seats. I'm betting the Recaro's are better, but, well, I dont drive an EAP car. The seat bottom angle, while adjustable, isnt quite right, the lumbar support is in the wrong place on me (I'm about average sized, 5'-9"), and side support, while good, is not good enough.

Ergonomics: This is a big point for me. To be quite honest, I think they botched the Mk1 interior ergonomics. The relationship between the wheel, pedals and shifter is not optimal. To get the wheel close enough, the pedals feel too close, though I'm getting more and more used to this. The shifter is located too far forward, and too low. You're all probably going to hate the comparison, but the 02-05 SI's shifter (I test drove one) was located very well in my opinion (didn't like how lifeless it was tho), close to the wheel both laterally and vertically. One of the ways to get the shifter where I want it would be with a tall center console, which I understand wouldnt work in a family car, and the Focus needs to be family friendly to stay marketable, so I understand that. Finishing off this catagory, the mounting location for the radio is such that the right side of my Pioneer deck is too far away, the buttons over there (like Eject and audio settings, in this case) are uncomfortably far away. And, there's no flat spot on the top of the dash for me to set my cellphone while I drive, my Neon had a nice flat top that I put one of those no-slip pads on, cell stayed put and was easy to grab if I got a call.

Summary is just that the car's interior doesn't feel like a cockpit, its more like my desk at work. I dont want to reach and turn to get to my car's controls, ideally they're all in hand.

Steering: I haven't driven a base Focus, I know the SVT's power assist boost was lowered some 30%, but to me it still feels over-boosted. This is a relativly small point, except that, either because of the boost or something else, the wheel doesn't do a good enough job telling me what the tires are doing. It feels very isolated, maybe they used thick rubber bushings somewhere to reduce vibration, but whatever the reason, it makes the car harder to drive in bad winter conditions than my previous car (I hate to compare the SVT to my 97 base-model Neon, but there it is, don't damn it until you drive it ). This seems more and more common in modern cars, the SI I test drove seemed similar, so this may be a point I need to let go.

I would gripe about the feel of the Getrag, but I recently flushed with RP synchromax and removed the inertial counterweight and its a new creature, I dont mind it nearly so much now.


The point of this novella is that at some point, probably not this summer but perhaps next, I may be replacing the SVT. There is so much I love about this car that I can afford to be picky, very picky, because I'm not exactly suffering on the meantime, but I am looking for a very very good Driver's Car.

All of the above points are deeply important. Power is not a big deal for me, honestly the SVT is more than I need to have a good time, I'd hapily trade 20 or 30 HP for a cockpit that fit me like a Durex . Good mileage would be nice, but my baseline is 25mpg on premium (what I get now). What I do want is drivetrain flexibility, which will probably come in the form of less power and tighter gearing. I love the highway speed flexibility of the SVT, never having to downshift, and 6th gear steady accel like its in a vacuum. So, what I'd like from any of you are cars you've driven in, been driven around in, or even just heard strongly about, that would fulfil these requirements of mine. If I'm gonna drop the cash for a new vehicle, it might as well be as close to correct as possible.

Cars I'm currently wondering about:
2000+ Toyota Celica
1999-2005 Subaru 2.5RS (money I save in insurance is probably worth not getting the WRX)
1997 240SX, tho almost certainly too old at this point...
Late model Tiburon GT
2000+ Mazda Miata (I think I can swing a 2-seater for a few more years)
Mazda3?

My rule of thumb is $15,000 or less.

Thanks for reading, you esteemed input is appreciated!


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Old 05-24-2006, 01:51 PM   #2
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Honestly.. I can sit here and give you alternatives to everthing you just said... but I dont cause I dont have the time and I dont think I could change your mind. With that said, its whatever feels better to you, I like the celica, subaru 2.5, and mazda 3.

Since you seem to want comfert the miata might not be the way to go but hey test drive them all if you have to!


Oh yeah for the cell since I can set mine to ring and vibrate at the same time I put it on the seat between my legs. That way I can feel it becuase if its in my cup holder the shelf my head unit gave me I can hear it with the sub on. Only problem is when you try to get out the car really fast and forget its there.. *bam* but hey whats another scratch on my cell its already got a ton.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:45 PM   #3
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I think you might like the Subie the best. I'd suggest going for an early Rex, but the 2.5RS is good also. Has a good engine, good trans, good interior ergonomics,but you'll want to upgrade the seats.
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:59 PM   #4
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i think out of all those, the miata would be the most fun to drive.
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:20 PM   #5
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I've sat in new Miata two days ago. It certainly hugs you, but my pecker is not used to being so close to pavement... but it was comfy
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Old 05-24-2006, 03:37 PM   #6
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I've actually been reading a lot of good things on the Tib. People don't like the weight and, as a consequence, the handling. I know there arent many cars on the market that'll handle like the SVT, its something I'll need to weigh during a test drive. People do, however, like the seats, the ergonomics, the 6 speed MTX, and the feature content. Oh, and the styling. From the sound of it, I might be able to "fix" the handling with a beefy rear sway, since it apparently just wants to plow into nose-heavy understeer.

If I get a chance to test any of these this weekend I'll update with my ergonomics report
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