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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right, been on the lookout for a replacement for my VW Golf (51 plate). I am considering the Ford Focus ST170 (53 plate), what are people's opinions on this car? And would it be a good move to go from my current car to the ST170?

Any feedback appreciated.
 

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You'll certainly notice a world of difference in terms of performance and handling compared to your current Golf!

A friend of mine has one and I have to say it goes round corners very well indeed. [Y]

The only thing you might find is that the interior seems a little bit 'cheap' compared to your Mk4. [:(]
 

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Used to have a focus, the handling is brilliant, and the car never had any faults in the 3 1/2 years I owned it. But you do get a lot of road noise and the cabin is not as high quality (in my opinion) as the golf.

If you have not test driven an ST170 already then definitely try before you buy, I did and found the performance was not as good as I was expecting, so went for a good ol 1.8T VW.

It's all down to your personal preference really, if you like it then go for it!
 

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A friend of mine has a ST170 estate (it was pre registered by the dealer) and has had a couple of problems with it. All but one were minor trim niggles. The one big problem was the engines top end and the engine management unit. Was eventually sorted under warranty.

Really nice car though. Handles well and he loves it!!

Advantage over the Golf/Bora is the factory handling and you get a newer car for your money. Golf interior vastly better quality though.

Tough decision, but mine would be the VW.
 

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the focus is the better car. handles better, and will give good n/a performance.

your golf will seem decidedly lack luster after you've tried one.

newer car for you money compared to a 1.8T or V5/6.
 

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Ive driven several focus's (not a 170 though) and in terms of performance and dynamics they are way ahead of their golf counterparts. They do feel pretty cheap and tacky though and are generally not as nice a place to be. At the end of the day, its all about what you, personally, are looking for in a car.

I've been looking at st170's myself. But they are pretty pricey (about the same as the a3 quattros Ive been looking at). The only thing that puts me off them, and 172s for that matter (my elder bro has one), is the shoddy quality inside.

Have a look at ffoc.co.uk for more info on the ST170. It looks like they have a few well known little niggles (what car doesnt), and theres some useful info on there.

Hope ive been of some help

Peter
 

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I have owned two ST170's as i used to work for Land Rover and we got heavily reduced cars. I was very impressed, although i had the 4th ST170 sold in the UK so i was very unique for a little while!

Had no real trouble with either of them but only had them for 9 months each (minimum we had to keep them for!). My 2nd one the suspension strut hadnt been tightened enough so knocked on steering but that was fixed the same day and i didnt have a single rattle on either car.

They are quick and not to thirsty and with ford Depreciation you can get one cheap. Handling was first rate, cleaning 22 spoke alloys takes about 4 years if i recall correctly though!

Good car but not particularly special either. Lacked an X factor like the a Turbo GTi or a Civic Type R.
 

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My Focus is Ok. I think build quality wise it may not look or feel as nice on the inside but I do think it is put together better than my MK4. Not as many rattles and squeaks from similar milage/age cars. One thing though, if VW is in your heart it'll be the wrong move to get a Ford. I've had mine for six months and I can't complain about it in anyway apart from.. its not a VW. I'm already looking to change back to the german badge as there's just something I miss.
 

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I was previously a ford man and almost got an ST170

As said they handle well and seem pretty solid, not of the same build quality as a golf but you wouldnt expect it to be.

The only thing that spoilt it for me is they are geared towards
cruising rather than performance, they have a great top end but arnt
that quick to 100 for a 170bhp light car, and thats all down to the
gearing, they arnt a great deal quicker than the standard 2.0 focus
which has 128bhp.

If you are looking for performance get yourself a 1.8T and chip it, if for a crusier go for the foci.
 

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A friend of mine has had two of them now. The first one was in that horrible matt blue (Capri blue is it?) It was about 18 months old when he got it and had about 20k on the clock. He had nothing but hassle with it, it was forever back under warranty having bits done (trim, alternator, cat, ECU, sensors etc) and in all fairness it wasn't that quick, so I made up my mind on that ST170's should be given a wide berth.

However that car was written off and he got another one as he liked them. Same year, 53 plate, except in grey with full black leather recaros, climate, xenons etc. This was a much nicer car, and for some reason was much much quicker that his old one. Still not particuarly free revving but in comparison his old one seemed very asthmatic, so that said my advice is drive a few to get a feel for them. He just sold that for ?9400, with about 20k on the clock, and it was mint, so it was alot of car for not alot of money for the buyer.

ST170's themselves handle very nicely, and in comparison to a mk4 Golf they dont feel heavy to drive. The drive is lovely, the ride is firm but nice (although road noise is noticable at speed) Even low spec models are a nice enough drive.

They look nice, the interiors are OK, well laid out but a bit bland and cheap compared to a mk4 Golf (most cars are tho!!)

Cheap enough to run, cheap enough to service, parts, accessories etc. You can pick up a tidy sensible mileage 52 plate for under ?6500 if you look around.

Don't bother racing Civic Type R's though. If you into modifying the engine, get a 1.8T or a CTR. If you are after a well priced cheap to run sporty sensible mile muncher, then yes, definately consider one.

I hope you find my 2 pence worth or use.
 

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As said already, it seems to be the better car in all respects except for quality of materials but an ST170, I believe, would be an overall better car than your current ride. You'll also get better customer service from Ford than you do from VW as some people in my firm say how nicely they are treated by Ford aftersales people which has to be a big advantage over VW.

~ Maxie
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
First of all I must say thanks to all of you guys (possibly girls [:p] ) maxGTI, bazking69, CBZS, chrisf70, JoeBickley, peanutjb, Essex Escy, mk1fan, bora1977 and last but not least brian_1.8T, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply with all of your feedback.

To be honest, if my insurance wasn't as high I would push a little further and buy a Civic Type-R or a Golf 1.8T, however until it comes down a little after building up my no-claims bonus (although my dad's car getting nicked twice from our drive doesn't help) I have to settle for a compromise and I feel an ST170 might just be that.

I'll be putting my car up for sale in the summer (about May/June) and wanted to gather as much information on a replacement before then. I'll also not be interested in modding my next car and so that shouldn't be an issue for me.

The price range is also very appealing, I have seen ST170s going for ?6500-?7500 for a 2003 model in mint condition and low mileage. Of course I am not ruling out other options (apart fom the CTR & 1.8T I can't think of any others right now) and so the hunt goes on...
 

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Sounds like im in a similar situation to you at the moment mate. Im looking to sell my 1.4 in the summer and buy a new car. My original plan was to buy a A3 quattro and modying it, but Im now thinking that that would be a massive leap. 75bhp to 200+bhp and 4wd is a pretty big gap. Im also thinking im missing out on the potential of owning a well sorted fwd hot hatch for a year or two. My brother has a 172, and they're so much fun!

Ive looked at 1.8T's loads, and while the golf is my favorite hatch, if im going to get a hot hatch, I want to concentrate on dynamics rather than power, so that kinda counts out the golf.

As far as alternatives to the st170 goes, the CTR is quite a bit more pricey, the clio 172/182 is amazing but french, the peugot 206 gti is pants and french, and the seat ibiza cupra is smaller. Other than those, the octavia RS is massive, the leon cupra's for the budget are the older style ones, audi a3 1.8T is a GTi but without the looks, and the mini cooper is way to pricey for the performance.

Whatever you choose, choose it because you want it, not because of other peoples opinions (also known as my mindless rambles). I myself am very interested in a 172 if the insurance isnt too much. Hopefully Ill be able to put up with the frenchness for a while, and then I'll get my A3 quattro!

Just out of interest mate, how old are you?

Hope ive been some help

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Peter, I enjoy your rambling as it reminds me alot of the conversations I have with myself (in my head!) about what car to go for and you have been a help.

The 172/182 I did consider, but I have been put off by friends saying "Yuck, its French!", but as you say that's their opinion and it is still a contender for me.

I have to agree with your observations on the other cars you have listed, Fabia VRS may be an option, but again I have some sort of phobia about the Skoda badge.

I'm 25 by the way, have only 1 years no claims as I used to drive on my dad's insurance as named driver since 18 (big mistake looking back). The ST170 is a good compromise for me, I get a similar size hatch and better performance and I'm willing to sacrifice the interior for that as I'll be in the driving seat and not a passenger!

Seat is also in the running! As you can see I am quite indecisive which doesn't help. But I have a few months to make my decision...
 

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My personal opinion is avoid a Clio 172 or 182. I used to work for a Renault dealer hence I got to notice alot of stroppy customers and cars breaking when they really shouldn't be. Renaults repuatation for consistent quality is very poor, too much electrical stuff going awol and in all fairness Renault customer service at both dealer and manufacturer level isn't the best by a long shot...

Plus they have made alot of fuss about their F1 success in the last 2 years and shamelessly cashed in on it with sporty models that aren't actually that accomplished. Again, just my opinion...

I also have 2 friends who have had 182's, and yes they were rapid, and handled well, but they were let down by stupid insurance premiums, far from good build quality and reliability and poor interiors. In my opinion, for the money, there are far better cars to get in this market than a 172/182. I don't really care who's toes I might tread on here as I have driven them, as well as a multitude of mk4 Golfs, a few CTRs and a Leon, so in my opinion I can justify what I say about cars as I am not just going on the 'I havent driven one, but its French, its shite' theory!

Given the circumstances, I think the ST170 would be a good choice, and as long as you aren't expecting too much, I think a ST170 should be your cup of tea. But again, if you arent that fussed about performance, what about a mk4 Golf Gti 2.0??
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'd rather not go for the 2.0 litre GTi thanks!

V5 seems like something I could go for, V6 would be a bit of a stretch for my budget I reckon.

Shortlist so far:

Focus ST170

Golf V5
 

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Sounds like im in a similar situation to you at the moment mate. Im looking to sell my 1.4 in the summer and buy a new car. My original plan was to buy a A3 quattro and modying it, but Im now thinking that that would be a massive leap. 75bhp to 200+bhp and 4wd is a pretty big gap. Im also thinking im missing out on the potential of owning a well sorted fwd hot hatch for a year or two. My brother has a 172, and they're so much fun!

Ive looked at 1.8T's loads, and while the golf is my favorite hatch, if im going to get a hot hatch, I want to concentrate on dynamics rather than power, so that kinda counts out the golf.

As far as alternatives to the st170 goes, the CTR is quite a bit more pricey, the clio 172/182 is amazing but french, the peugot 206 gti is pants and french, and the seat ibiza cupra is smaller. Other than those, the octavia RS is massive, the leon cupra's for the budget are the older style ones, audi a3 1.8T is a GTi but without the looks, and the mini cooper is way to pricey for the performance.

Whatever you choose, choose it because you want it, not because of other peoples opinions (also known as my mindless rambles). I myself am very interested in a 172 if the insurance isnt too much. Hopefully Ill be able to put up with the frenchness for a while, and then I'll get my A3 quattro!

Just out of interest mate, how old are you?

Hope ive been some help

Peter
I had a 172, fairly nippy, it was much more immersive & demanding than the golf but certainly a fun drive (except when you're getting blown around at 140!)

But hate to say it, you will almost certainly regret buying it! 2 years and 6k in repairs. I wish I had gone for the typeR! Same thrills, more reliable, not french!
 
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