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And if you're REALLY lazy:
WILSON: Like other Foci by SVT, this is a terrific package at $22,150. It’d run with our Mini, I’d bet, at about the same price. There’s some roll (more than Mini or Evo) but not much dive/squat, and it has good grip and comfortable long-distance/high-speed cruising ability. I’m always surprised by the drivetrain noise that intrudes on the cabin in the Focus, but it seems to be at a pitch that doesn’t really irritate you over time—at least, I get used to it, which isn’t always the case when you get in a car and notice the engine noise.
STOLL: I’d agree wholeheartedly that this is an excellent handler and, even at the escalated price, a great buy. The Recaros are a huge bonus and the orange is a color this vehicle was built to wear. I write this after driving the SRT-4 and, while I’m convinced the SRT-4 is a great driver, faster and perhaps a little quicker in the steering department, I’d still consider buying this instead for the overall package, which includes great handling, braking and a flawless shifter. Then again, maybe I’ll take another night in both, just to make sure.
RAYNAL: Yeah, baby. This is a good one, even with the orange paint. I love the snarly exhaust, the way the Recaros fit, the spot-on steering. Love the wheels, too. We here in the States are still shy on horsepower compared to what Europe gets in its RS, which is 212 hp. This would be a screamer with that engine, but I’d want just the engine, because according to what I’ve read, the Euro car’s chassis modifi-cations make it crash and jar over bumps. I thought this SVT version was decent ride-wise compared to the sticks-like-glue handling. I do think Ford could improve the NVH levels a bit.
RAYNAL: Acceleration is explosive. Stand on the gas in this thing and it feels like it’s shot out of the proverbial cannon. The ride comfort, while just crude enough to let you know you’re in something really special, is in no way unbearable. The engine surprised me with its down-low power and torque, producing smooth standing starts. It’s geared pretty short, which I expected, and the grip felt incredible, though I’ll confess to cooling it on the wet streets last night.
Again, the power... unreal. The Brembos were excellent. I didn’t love the seats: They look the part, but the side bolsters need to be stiffer (or maybe I’m just too fat). They’re comfortable enough, but I was looking for more support. My only real disappointment is that I didn’t get to drive the Lancer Evolution that we had a couple of weeks back. It’s a field of two for now, the STi and Evolution.
FLOYD: Where’s the five-point harness? Holy schnikes, this is one wicked ride. Kinda’ like getting on a mechanical bull, grabbing the rope as tightly as you can and whipping yourself around. This isn’t the kind of car you’re going to want to drive every day unless you’re in the cast of 2Fast 2Furious. There’s the ‘hey, look at me’ wing, suspension that lets you feel any little pebble, the bling-bling gold BBS rims, etc. Yep, you’d have to be a risk-taker, a get- me-behind-the-wheel-and-let-me-run-wild kind of guy.
It’s one of those cars that just says ‘drive the hell out of me,’ and it’s oh-so-hard not too. Especially when you feel that power whoosh as you wring it through first gear, then second, then, geez, I’m already at 80? Whoa. It’s more of a primal car than the Lancer Evo to me: The handling seems less precise, like it wants you to hold on and wrestle with it a bit as you tear into a wide sweeper. The 300 hp comes on strong as you wind out the rough-edged clutch setup. The Evo’s gearbox seem-ed a mite smoother. Interior-wise, it’s a draw to me. I liked the looks of the STi seats, but other than that, the Evo wins as a daily driver.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with either, but the STi is obviously more true to its rally roots. Grab that rope and hold on, pardner.