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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right, will be looking into a new car early next year so doing a bit of 'prep' work beforehand. Really keen on the following cars after doing a bit of a research into them. Anyone have any experience/thoughts/opinions/comments on these:

Mini Cooper S - Excellent performance, maybe too cutesy?

Focus ST170 - Good handling/performance, but its a Ford?

Fiesta ST150 - Same reasons as above

Ford Racing Puma - rare, quick, brilliant handling, but its a ford and overpriced.

Also interested in... Ibiza FR TDI, Fabia vRS, Bora 4motion.
 

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I had a normal puma 1.7 and I liked the handling and gear change.

I had a test drive in a cooper s
and was not impressd at all, I didn't get the impression I was driving
a car with 170 Bhp, the handling seemed quite responsive. Some of the
interior seemed a bit flimsey as well.

I also tried the Ibiza Cupra TD. IT didn't feel any quick than my PD
130 golf. I like a car to have stiff suspension to eliminate body roll,
but the seat's suspension was a bit of a bone shaker on rough road
surfaces.

I also tried a Fiesta ST. Which I didn't find very quick, but the
gearchange was very nice. I was a bit dissapointed after owning a puma.
 

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Right, will be looking into a new car early
next year so doing a bit of 'prep' work beforehand. Really keen on the
following cars after doing a bit of a research into them. Anyone have
any experience/thoughts/opinions/comments on these:

Mini Cooper S - Excellent performance, maybe too cutesy? - I've driven a few and just dont like them - handle well but not my cuppa tea

Focus ST170 - Good handling/performance, but its a Ford? - nice handling but a bit slow

Fiesta ST150 - Same reasons as above - torquey engine, but the Zetec S is a better car IMO!!! Seriously!

Ford Racing Puma - rare, quick, brilliant handling, but its a ford and overpriced - the standard Puma is fantastic - the FRP is rawer and a bit quicker

Also interested in... Ibiza FR TDI (dunno), Fabia vRS (brilliant, should never have sold mine!), Bora 4motion (dunno)
What are your main criteria?

If you want masses of grunt in a fun chassis for ?10k - it has to be a Fabia vRS

If you want big fun, try a standard Puma - ?6k will get a nice one, it
will hardly depreciate and on twisty roads they are one of the best

If you want serious fun, try a Clio 182 cup and be amazed!
 

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Mini Cooper S - Too girly no matter how good, i couldn't live with one.

Focus ST170 - Great handler, not enough poke tho

Fiesta ST150 - Exactly as with the Focus

Ford Racing Puma - Brilliant handling, bit too cramped, and a 1.7 is much better value if you ask me.

You've picked a mix of derv and petrol there... so if fuel isn't a concern, why not a Cupra R? Can be had for ?10k now, 210 or 225bhp, great looks, great handling... i would choose it over any of the cars you've mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So the ST's are a definate no-no then? My main criteria really has to be a balance of price and performance. Will have a budget of 11.5k tops at the moment. Bearing in mind that I'll be moving up from a 1.6 (the quickest thing I've driven is a BMW 318i) I don't want to jump ahead of myself, but think I'm ready for something a bit more challenging (although only have 2 year experience under my belt).

To be honest, the non-FRP puma's seem a bit common and I was really after something a bit more special. I will definately look into them...heard that 0-60 wise they only take about a second longer than the FRP's?! Once again a bit girly as well.

Fabia vRS - love the sound of them and have only heard good things. The girlfriend hates the thought of a Skoda on the drive though.

Still really like the Cooper S - like I said haven't been driving long and they seem quite forgiving if I do get a careless. They are meant to handle brilliantly too.

Apart from the vRS I don't really see myself buying a VAG car.

Which out of the above would best suit me considering my experience driving and other things I've mentioned?
 

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From my experience:


Mini Cooper S -
Brilliant fun to drive and BMW build, but
vertical
windscreen and 'designy' feel not to everyones taste day to day.
Incredibly noisy
power steering whine annoying too, but they all do it. I got a Mini
Convertible for my sister - good car but one to borrow, not own?


Ford Racing Puma -
My sisters Puma 1.4 was bloody brilliant fun to drive - a real shock. The Racing Puma must be fantastic.

Fabia vRS - Incrdibly quick, nice proportions, good spec, bargain. But diesel, and I don't like 'em.

Bora 4motion - true sleeper. Needs 18" wheels and tyres (stock
16"s sucked for grip) but the engine note and grip were
brilliant. A real bargain, well equipped and rare as hens teeth.
Better handling cars out there, but 4WD, 6spd, 2.8 V6 and 204BHP for
?10k is hard to beat. I miss mine A LOT - the engine note was one of the best there is at any price - better
than my BMW IMO.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you want serious fun, try a Clio 182 cup and be amazed!
lol, I don't trust a car without ABS, especially one with 182hp. I know they're one of the best handling cars out there though having been a passenger in a 172.
 

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The 182 cup has ABS, ESP and ASR

I think you are thinking of the 172 cup which didn't have ABS?

If I were you I would spend a weekend test driving all of the cars on your list and see which one floats your boat.

If you try a Fiesta ST, make sure you also try the Zetec S - its down
on power but a riot to drive - the engine revs and revs and it handles
brilliantly

If you dont want a Skoda badge but like the vRS, Seat and VW do equivalents
 

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?11.5k eh? You might get a Leon Cupra 150PD for that kind of dosh.

I decided against the Fabia because of the interior and the gawky looks. Great car but not for me.

The Mini is a good car, but a bit small and really harsh on fuel.

I would not write off the Fords because of the badge but the others are right in saying the ST170 is slow compared to similarly priced machines like the Clio 182 (suggested above by MOB), Astra GSi Turbo's, Civic Type R's, Mondeo ST's, Vectra GSi's, Leon Cupra R's all of which can be had for ?11.5k.

Your call.
 

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By the way, the Racing Puma was overpriced and underpowered. It should have had a minimum of 200bhp. Would certainly not be on my list. An older Escort Cosworth or Subaru Impreza would be in its place though. They could also be had for ?11.5k.
 

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?11.5k eh? You might get a Leon Cupra 150PD for that kind of dosh.

I decided against the Fabia because of the interior and the gawky looks. Great car but not for me.

The Mini is a good car, but a bit small and really harsh on fuel.

I would not write off the Fords because of the badge but the others are right in saying the ST170 is slow compared to similarly priced machines like the Clio 182 (suggested above by MOB), Astra GSi Turbo's, Civic Type R's, Mondeo ST's, Vectra GSi's, Leon Cupra R's all of which can be had for ?11.5k.

Your call.
For me, for the money you have, a Clio 182 or a Type R and I'd be leaning towards the Type R, a very quick and capable car but at the same time quite practical and it's a Honda so it'll be easy to own.

The Puma seems to be your favourite at the moment, but you're only going to get one with a number of miles on the clock now and I know they do suffer over the years with the usual Ford falling to bits syndrome. Great cars when they were new though, the FRP's premium over the 1.7 is really not worth it IMO, much better cars around now for the same money.
 

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I wouldn't discount the ST170 Focus.
Best handling FWD car I've ever driven and lots are well specced.

The engine is a bit lacking in oomph and needs serious stoking but the six speed 'box is excellent and the handling makes up for any power deficit.
I also like the stealth look too.

Fabia vRS is too soft but is properly quick.

The Mini looks gay and has no useful boot.

The Puma is a bit old - But at least the Racing one has disk brakes at the back (all the rest have drums!).

The Fiesta ST looks good fun to me - I'd check one out.

After having a brand new Seat Altea break down on me nearly causing me to miss a vital meeting, I'm off Seats for life I'm afraid.
 

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Mini Cooper S - Excellent performance, maybe too cutesy?

Focus ST170 - Good handling/performance, but its a Ford?

Fiesta ST150 - Same reasons as above

Ford Racing Puma - rare, quick, brilliant handling, but its a ford and overpriced.

Also interested in... Ibiza FR TDI, Fabia vRS, Bora 4motion.
My opinions:

I reckon you'd be struggling to get a Cooper S for ?11.5k. Any ones at that price will be private and probably miley.

The Fiesta ST- it's nearly ?14k new IIRC and hasn't been out all that long- you may get a very early one for the money though, but I wouldn't bother.

Racing Puma- by all accounts handles well but they're now pretty old compared to the other cars you're looking at, overpriced, not that quick, and well...... Pumas are girls cars aren't they?

You say you only have 2 years driving experience- does that mean you're only 19/20? If so then forget the Civic Type-R that someone mentioned and also the Bora V6 because you'll never get insurance without paying an arm and a leg (although Bora V6's are fantastic bargains if you can afford the insurance).

Out of the ones you mentioned I'd say the ST170 and Fabia vRS are the best bets.

Coming from a 1.6 Golf you won't find a 170bhp Focus slow, and although I've only driven a 1.6 version of the Focus, it has handling that can only be dreamed about by Golf owners. As someone else said they quite often come well specced (leather etc) and you'll easily find a good one for your price.

You should also at least drive a vRS- my missus wasn't that keen about getting a Skoda but I persuaded her to at least test drive it. After about 1 mile of the test drive she had chosen the colour and all but written the cheque. It is that good! There is nothing that you can get brand new that comes anywhere close to the blend of performance and quality for the money, and thats before you take economy into account.

You might be able to get a new one for ?11.5k if you haggle hard or use an online dealer (like tins.co.uk) but if not then an ex-demo is easily got for that kind of dough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

Had a test drive in a Mini Cooper S yesturday, and loved it although still not convinced on the looks. Gear changes are very short and stiff and something I'd have to get used to again (6th in 30 is possible). Brakes were good but you do have to give it some. Was very suprised at the excellent ride quality, and was very similar to the ZR 160 I drove a few weeks ago. Performance wise, I can't complain too much..overtaking at ease and effortless. Interior was very fancy, bit of a TT wannabe but all seemed to be of good build quality. Leather seats were comfortable although not enough legroom for me. All in all, it was a good experience but it's something I'll have to seriously think about.

Stevoraith - Yes I'm 19, and you're right insurance on a CTR isn't going to happen and to be honest, Im not too keen...most of them seem to be thrashed anyway. MCS's are cheaper than you think..start at around 9k on autotrader for a 52/53 plate with average to above average miles. I will be test driving the vRS sometime this week and really want to like it, its just the gawky looks as someone said that put me off, and I still have prejudices towards that badge! ST170 seems a bit boring to me now, see them everywhere and I've heard although the handling is brilliant, the performance really doesnt match.

I'm now also looking into the Leon 150 TDI and maybe an S3 (although I think I'm only getting cheap quotes because of the lower engine capacity).
 

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MCS's are cheaper than you think..start at around 9k on autotrader for a 52/53 plate with average to above average miles. .
!!!

I sold my sisters 51 plate Mini One with 36k on it for ?9k last
month.... an independent now has it up for ?9,995...

It depreciated only ?1,700 in three years. Best cars I know of for holding their value!
 

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If you think insurance is high for a CTR I would doubt it would be much diffeent for an S3.

The 150PD Leon would be cheaper and combine performance and economy. Look at www.seatcupra.net classifieds as there is a yellow one there for sale for that price IIRC.
 

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If you think insurance is high for a CTR I would doubt it would be much diffeent for an S3.

The 150PD Leon would be cheaper and combine performance and economy. Look at www.seatcupra.net classifieds as there is a yellow one there for sale for that price IIRC.
You'd be suprised mate...... an S3 was the same to insure as my Cupra, yet a LCR or a CTR were around 20-30% more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It's true, they do vary a lot...

I'm only 19, 1 NCD...and although I'm not stupid enough to buy one (my lack of driving experience would end up killing me or someone else...probably), I'm getting reasonable but different quotes. With elephant.co.uk..

Leon Cupra R - ?1985 FC

Civic Type R - Over 21 only.

Audi S3 - ?1817 FC

Audi TT (same engine as S3..) - Over 21 Only.

Mini Cooper S - ?1480 FC

Fabia vRS - ?900 FC!
 
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