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I have always struggled explaining to people why the SVT Focus leaves faster cars in the dust when it comes to racing in the twisties or on a road course/autocross track. Even cars like the Spec-V that are both faster AND hold about .02g’s better on the skid-pad according to C&D. I finally found an easy way of explaining it thanks to an article in C&D that compared the Miata MX-5 to the Pontiac Solstice. “CONFIDENCE = SPEED”… simple as that.
Your car may be faster and even hold corners with more grip, but what good is that extra .02g’s on the skid-pad if your car is not communicative enough to allow you to take it right up to the edge of it’s handling capabilities!? That is why we can leave faster cars in the dust, because the SVT Focus has almost telepathic steering and chassis feedback, which allows us to use all of our .86g grip through the corners.

“CONFIDENCE = SPEED”
 

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Not trying to jack your thread, but it triggered my memory - many years ago Car and Driver did a short comparison of (believe it or not) a Corvette and a Honda CRX Si - as daily drivers. The biggest point with the CRX was fun to drive (communicating chassis mentioned above) with limits that were a blast to push but wouldn't get you arrested [:D]
I think the same argument could be made for the SVT...
 

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^^^ yeah, I had a first year version. I always though of it a four-wheel motorcycle... the only car I enjoyred driving in traffic - if a hole in traffic was big enough to see it was big enough to fit the CRX in... [:D]
 

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Very true statement! I totally agree with that, when i auto-x i know exactly what the car is doing at all times and when it is going to break loose all together.
 

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I agree wholeheartedly. And it's things like that that mean you shouldn't just take stats at face value... Unfortunately that's one of the reasons the Focus didn't sell so well, because the American buying public are in general stat jockeys and don't really give credence to more subjective attributes.

If you can pull 1.0G max, but are never quite sure where that limit is, you are either always going to be below it or periodically stepping over it. I would rather be able to confidantly take my car to it's limits over and over and over. That's the one thing about the SVTF I love the most, and why I am exasperated when some other cars get smack-talked because their stats aren't as high as something else. Examples include the base Boxster, Miata, Focus, Mini, etc etc. All of these are playful companions that will tell you precisely where the line is and how to reach it over and over.
 

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That's the main reason why I love this car so much. It just feels right. I've driven a couple BMW's and the experience is almost the same, just not as heavy [:D]

It's all about feel......
 

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Totaly agree with you guys... This car just seem to speak right to your hands when your driving, whats going on, and how wonderful it feels... i've never had so much fun driving any car... even my friends SRT-4... it has power, but putting that power down around turns, or even just feeling it going through windy turns... its just not as crisp and fun as these SVT's.

As Motor Trend Said... Could be the best handling front wheel drive car ever...
 

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^^^There are a few cars I would put ahead of it, but the SVTF is right up there with the best.

Others would be -
Lotus Elan M100
Renaultsport Clio (and several other Clios, like the William's)
Mazdaspeed Protoge
Integra Type R
Mini (Cooper, MCS, Original, et al)
Ford Racing Puma
etc etc.
 

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yah... you got me there... I've always wanted to slip into a Mazdaspeed Protoge and see how onw of those spins its wheels. Infact... to think about it, i dont think i can recall seeing one before.

I would love to drive one of the old Mini Coopers...
 

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Venom713 said:

I would love to drive one of the old Mini Coopers...
Do you mean one of the Cooper Mini's? Like this.. (stolen photo)


A friend used to have one. Let me tell you, once you get over the novelty of it, they are no fun to drive at all. I remember it like driving a childs wagon with a Briggs & Stratton engine bolted on.
 

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Hell yes a mini cooper like that!

but i think you just shattered my dream... it wouldnt really be that fun?! dang it... Then i'd definatly have to go with a Lotus Elise or an Evo...

or well... to be honest... i'd rather have a Focus RS, but thankfully i live in america. damn it.
 

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i havent driven all that many cars recently, having owned the same hunk of crap eclipse for 14 years. my wife's vibe doesnt compare to the svt at all, and when i test drove the svt, i felt as if it was a machine made for the driver.

the only thing in recent memory (a faint one at that) was driving a friends 240sx. it looked kind of like this, but gold...

 

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The Lotus Elan M100 can be picked up in perfect condition for about the same cost as a used SVTF, and has cheap as dirt Isuzu drivetraing mechanicals...

As for the original Cooper;

Handling and Grip are different things
These are the same cars that were giant-killers in their day, putting plenty of Porsches and Ferraris on the trailer. They won the Monte Carlo rally more than once in basically stock form. The engine is a joke and it's hardly the sturdiest thing out there, but done right they can be blindingly fast.
 

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I have a friend who bought a Lotus Elise and he lets me drive it all the time, it is amazing how fast it is with 190hp and the exhaust note sounds good too! $42,000.00 is way out of my league, thats why its cool to have freinds with cool toys like this. [driving]
 

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Yeah...the elise is nice...but it's not FWD lol....driving the original mini is like driving a go kart while sitting on a bar stool lol...my grandpa is big into british cars and has owned a few of them...they are ok to drive...just not everyday....and as for power in them...there's a company that swaps in integra type R motors into the lil mini and puts 13's on the car...lol...yeah it's stupid fast at that point.
 
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