Ford Focus ST Forum banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
2013 Ford Focus ST vs. 2012 Volkswagen GTI - Specs - Automobile Magazine

Hop in the Focus, and you will fall in love with the precise clickety-clack gearbox, the snappy clutch, the lightning-fast accelerator, and the zigzag steering. Jump in the GTI, and you will instantly appreciate the low-end torque, the fingertip transmission, the progressive handling, and the relaxed steering. These two musketeers are so different and yet so likable. The GTI is a real GT: compliant, cosseting, competent, and cool. Not enough punch? Then click in a lower gear, put the foot down, and relish the fast-forward zoom effect. Not enough hard-core action? Then work on your driving line, get the torque flow 100 percent right, or simply enjoy the stealth appeal of a car that is almost as satisfying to drive as the much more expensive Golf R.

On a good day and on the right road, the Focus ST is quicker than the GTI. On a bad day (rain) and on the wrong road (winding, uneven, dotted with gradients), however, it's at best a dead heat. The Ford struggles to get the power down in adverse conditions and tends to describe a ragged line when the visor drops, and its manual gearbox is not as efficient as VW's dual-clutch layout. The ST is wilder, louder, and meaner. It looks butch, too, with a big rear wing, an extralarge grille, flared rocker panels, and a slotted lower rear fascia. The partial-leather Recaro front seats are excellent, but you'll have to pay extra for them. Full-leather Recaros, dual-zone climate control, navigation, LED ambient lighting, and HID headlamps are also optional.

The GTI has neither the glovelike Recaros nor the high-end amenities of the Focus. The VW scores ten out of ten points, though, for its impeccable build quality, perfect driving position, comprehensive standard specification, and, above all, for its excellent ergonomics. In contrast, the dashboard of the Focus is a mess. The four main instruments are clear and legible, but the small information display between them is not, and the tiny 4.2-inch monitor in the center stack is something of a joke in the age of the iPad. Not that the GTI's wan radio/navigation head unit is aesthetically any better. The A/C controls in both cars are buried down low, but both handbrakes are still good, old-fashioned lever-operated devices, not electronic buttons. Only the ST offers a set of auxiliary readouts. Three gauges mounted high on the instrument panel display oil temperature, boost pressure, and oil pressure. Nice touch, that.

The Focus is 5.8 inches longer and 140 pounds heavier than the GTI, but the extra sheetmetal doesn't translate into more interior room. There are two fewer inches of rear-seat legroom in the Ford but more space in the cargo hold. Some may miss the compactness of the old two-door SVT Focus, but thankfully the extra head- and legroom don't compromise the dynamics of the modern four-door. The new ST is a real back-road hooligan. As soon as the going gets tough, the intrepid Ford will roll up its sleeves, take a deep breath, and assume total attack mode. Screaming from apex to apex, flying over brows, and crashing into dips, the Focus prepared by the Special Vehicle Team snaps after every pothole, kicks every ridge, and fights every surface change. Corner by corner, the blue streak will tighten the line a little bit more, push the braking point deeper and deeper into the bend, celebrate the fine art of lift-off oversteer, turn in eerily late yet never lose composure or adhesion. This awesome performance is accompanied by a spine-tingling soundtrack composed of tires howling for mercy, turbocharger vanes whining under full boost pressure, and ABS/ESP chips snarling in despair. Criticism? Maneuverability suffers from the oversize turning circle, the steering keeps pulling and tugging in protest, and the suspension setup is as stiff as a dry martini on the rocks.

Step out of the Ford and into the VW, and you enter a different world. It is quieter, less mechanical and physical, more structured and refined, German engineering wrapped in German build quality. Sehr schoen. The GTI is creamy and seamless, a tall-gear-and-low-revs express, very well balanced and very quick. If the ST is a slalom king, then the GTI is a master of winding roads. What this car does best is pick up momentum and carry it through, constantly compressing and expanding energy like one big muscle on wheels, totally elastic and yet absolutely sure-footed, an intelligent projectile that has learned to fly up and down, left and right, slower and faster. Even on the optional nineteen-inch Pirelli PZeros (a size not offered in the States), the car from Wolfsburg is more compliant, more comfortable, and more laid-back than the ST. True, the VW's steering is not as quick as the lightweight direction-finder fitted to the Ford, but it is less nervous at high speed and doesn't allow torque to work your palms as hard as the ST. This overriding smoothness is further enhanced by the dual-clutch automatic transmission, which never ever puts a single dent into the perfectly progressive acceleration curve. Things to be improved? The brakes are too soft, the fuel consumption is too high, and the list of available high-tech extras is too short.

These are two different cars for two different types of customers. An ST buyer might briefly look at the GTI, but the mind-set of a prospective Volkswagen owner is probably too resolved to consider the extroverted Focus. As is almost always the case, the final decision is a matter of taste and ability. Both contenders are seriously quick, but the Focus is sharper-edged. Always on the prowl, dynamically quite radical, and totally committed, the ST is a highly involving hot hatch -- despite and because of its rough-and-ready personality. It is, in a nutshell, the better choice for young and keen drivers and fashion-conscious street jockeys. In the other corner of our imaginary ring sits the VW, which is is better balanced, less playful, and more mature than its challenger. A deceptively quick cruiser, the sixth-generation GTI might be ultimately less engaging than the Focus, but it is finely honed and complete, a master of the nuances of motion, an amazingly versatile tool, and truly rewarding to drive. On Sunday mornings, after a round of golf or for that impromptu back-road detour, you would invariably reach for the Ford keys. At other times, however, most of us might be better off with the fob that reads GTI.


2013 Ford Focus ST
BASE PRICE $24,495
ENGINE 16-valve DOHC turbo I-4
DISPLACEMENT 2.0 liters (122 cu in)
POWER 252 hp @ 5500 rpm
TORQUE 270 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
DRIVE Front-wheel
CHASSIS
STEERING Electrically assisted
SUSPENSION, FRONT Strut-type, coil springs
SUSPENSION, REAR Multilink, coil springs
BRAKES F/R Vented discs/discs, ABS
TIRES Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2
TIRE SIZE 235/40YR-18
MEASUREMENTS
L x W x H 171.7 x 79.1 x 58.4 in
WHEELBASE 104.3 in
TRACK F/R 61.2/61.0 in
WEIGHT 3223 lb
EPA MILEAGE 23/32 mpg
0-60 MPH 6.2 sec
TOP SPEED 154 mph


2012 Volkswagen GTI
BASE PRICE $24,765
ENGINE 16-valve DOHC turbo I-4
DISPLACEMENT 2.0 liters (121 cu in)
POWER 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
TORQUE 207 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm
TRANSMISSION 6-speed automatic
DRIVE Front-wheel
CHASSIS
STEERING Electrically assisted
SUSPENSION, FRONT Strut-type, coil springs
SUSPENSION, REAR Multilink, coil springs
BRAKES F/R Vented discs/discs, ABS
TIRES Pirelli PZero
TIRE SIZE 225/35YR-19
MEASUREMENTS
L x W x H 165.9 x 70.0 x 57.8 in
WHEELBASE 101.5 in
TRACK F/R 60.4/59.7 in
WEIGHT 3080 lb
EPA MILEAGE 24/33 mpg
0-60 MPH 6.7 sec
TOP SPEED 130 mph


Read more: 2013 Ford Focus ST vs. 2012 Volkswagen GTI - Automobile Magazine
 
  • Like
Reactions: 02_svt_guy

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Cool write up. Makes me happy about my choice. We own a GTI and I'd describe it much as above. But I'm coming from a long line of hard sprung, corner-eating sportscars (MX-5, RX-7, earlier Boxster, MCS), and I'm fairly certain that the Ford will feel posh compared to those, yet still more raw than the VW. A nice gap bridge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
685 Posts
Whenever I see a phrase like this, I know the writer is biased:
German engineering wrapped in German build quality
NOBODY I have EVER met ever says that unless they're are committed to the German brands like a religion. The fact that the Focus ST even got through to the writer on any points, is a WIN.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Whenever I see a phrase like this, I know the writer is biased:

NOBODY I have EVER met ever says that unless they're are committed to the German brands like a religion. The fact that the Focus ST even got through to the writer on any points, is a WIN.
Bouncing from German to Japanese cars and back, I understand the writer's sentiment. Can't speak to American cars, though.

German cars have a subjectively "solid" feel, are quiet and "composed".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Whenever I see a phrase like this, I know the writer is biased:

NOBODY I have EVER met ever says that unless they're are committed to the German brands like a religion. The fact that the Focus ST even got through to the writer on any points, is a WIN.
Agreed!

Bouncing from German to Japanese cars and back, I understand the writer's sentiment. Can't speak to American cars, though.

German cars have a subjectively "solid" feel, are quiet and "composed".
German cars definitely are more substantial and have a better feel to them. Every Toyota/Honda I have ever been in the doors feel light and cheap and the seats are terrible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Frankenbike

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Agreed!



German cars definitely are more substantial and have a better feel to them. Every Toyota/Honda I have ever been in the doors feel light and cheap and the seats are terrible.
Have a '64 Beetle here that is still so air tight, you have trouble shutting the door with all the windows rolled up! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,533 Posts
I think a lot of German engineering was used in the development of the ST. Not exclusive of course, but plenty of it. Isn't the RS group German? The Focus ST is a fine blend of engineering from different groups in different parts of the world, and designed to be consumed by people in different parts of the world.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ATX Eric

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Volkswagen owners always have a different opinion of their cars than Volkswagen mechanics. During my college education in trade school I knew 3 exclusive Volkswagen mechanics. They specialized in Volkswagen to make money. Volkswagens break down a lot and owners of Volkswagens pay big dollars to repair their "superior German engineered elegant machines which are so much more than cars."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
It is nice to see someone talking about the pluses and minuses without a strong bias. I can appreciate the solid feel of many German cars, while looking forward to the ST big time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Volkswagen owners always have a different opinion of their cars than Volkswagen mechanics. During my college education in trade school I knew 3 exclusive Volkswagen mechanics. They specialized in Volkswagen to make money. Volkswagens break down a lot and owners of Volkswagens pay big dollars to repair their "superior German engineered elegant machines which are so much more than cars."
Good lord. I feel like a broken record in saying that if you look at individual models, the GTI has better reliability than several of the supposedly reliable Asian models, and, of course, Ford.

But let's beat that dead horse and call a Jetta a GTI. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
Good lord. I feel like a broken record in saying that if you look at individual models, the GTI has better reliability than several of the supposedly reliable Asian models, and, of course, Ford.

But let's beat that dead horse and call a Jetta a GTI. :D
A GTI might have the same reliability of other cars whether German, American, Korean and so on, but from the point of view of a mechanic, the repairs are almost always more expensive for Volkswagen compared to similar models. Minor repairs on a Volkswagen are not cheap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
589 Posts
Is this article written by a VW lover ? ST is German car too. Ford has a German build quality too also it was engineered in Germany , wonder focus outsells Golf in some European market,.I always laugh when american car magazine doesn't know anything about cars
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Is this article written by a VW lover ? ST is German car too. Ford has a German build quality too also it was engineered in Germany , wonder focus outsells Golf in some European market,.I always laugh when american car magazine doesn't know anything about cars
Istvan,

Heretofore at least since I was born, Ford has had nowhere close to German build quality. Part of the reason I'm even considering this car is because Ford has seemingly made great strides in this area of late. This is a test for me.

The reviewer is right to be simultaneously surprised and skeptical.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
A GTI might have the same reliability of other cars whether German, American, Korean and so on, but from the point of view of a mechanic, the repairs are almost always more expensive for Volkswagen compared to similar models. Minor repairs on a Volkswagen are not cheap.
Gotcha, JS. Makes much more sense. Sorry for assuming.
 

·
Director of Web Relations
Joined
·
4,009 Posts
I let my VW buddies talk me into a Turbo Jetta Wagon years ago and it was a huge mistake. I won't get into the list of problems as it's just too long. The support I got from the dealer and VW of America was so bad, I'd never buy one again. The car was a German built turd (wagons are built in Germany).

I found the local VW crew to be so impassioned about their cars that they excused frequent trips to the dealerships, doors freezing, windows not rolling up, etc, etc... I had never experienced such unreliability in a car before or since.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
589 Posts
Istvan,

Heretofore at least since I was born, Ford has had nowhere close to German build quality. Part of the reason I'm even considering this car is because Ford has seemingly made great strides in this area of late. This is a test for me.

The reviewer is right to be simultaneously surprised and skeptical.
Eric , i grew up in Europe and Ford was always as good as Volkswagen ,i remember my favorite car was the escort

ford_cosworth_clarkson.jpg

epcp_0901_07_z+1996_ford_escort_rs_cosworth+interior.jpg

also my friend had a second generation Fiesta and i think he still have this car after 15 years


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
869 Posts
Well then you've been getting a separate group of cars than us, Istvan. Because Ford, from a quality perspective, especially in fit/finish and road feel (NVH, steering input, etc.) had been building absolute junk for a couple of decades. The car that raised my eyebrows enough to start paying attention again was the '05 Mustang. And it seems to have continued to get better from there.

Keep in mind that I'm not including passenger trucks. Those may've been great for some time. But I had experiences in a whole lot of Ford cars over that time and nothing came close to a well-outfitted VW.

Many marques here are just now catching up to the Germans in regard to fit/finish. VW is on the bottom of that German list, but for years, they were still better appointed and used better materials that ANY American marque and anything Japanese that wasn't a luxury brand.

As Shomare has mentioned (and as you seem to be hinting at with regard to the Fiesta), Jettas and Passats are known problem factories. GTIs and Golfs, however, do not have this history and continue to outrank many other makes/models in reliability. We may be talking about two separate things here.

Either way, the GTI top line cars, IMO, cover both categories. Well-appointed with nice materials, and pretty darn good reliability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,955 Posts
We also have to remember the Fords we used to get were not the same as the european ones. Now with One Ford we finally get the good stuff. I currently have an '08 VW Rabbit and a '11 Ford Fiesta (wife's car). The VW definitely feels more tank like (nice thunk when you shut the door). By comparison the Fiesta feels really light. However it scores extremely well on crash tests and has boron steel. I'll miss that tank like thunk when I finally get my ST.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
589 Posts
Well then you've been getting a separate group of cars than us, Istvan. Because Ford, from a quality perspective, especially in fit/finish and road feel (NVH, steering input, etc.) had been building absolute junk for a couple of decades. The car that raised my eyebrows enough to start paying attention again was the '05 Mustang. And it seems to have continued to get better from there.

Keep in mind that I'm not including passenger trucks. Those may've been great for some time. But I had experiences in a whole lot of Ford cars over that time and nothing came close to a well-outfitted VW.

Many marques here are just now catching up to the Germans in regard to fit/finish. VW is on the bottom of that German list, but for years, they were still better appointed and used better materials that ANY American marque and anything Japanese that wasn't a luxury brand.

As Shomare has mentioned (and as you seem to be hinting at with regard to the Fiesta), Jettas and Passats are known problem factories. GTIs and Golfs, however, do not have this history and continue to outrank many other makes/models in reliability. We may be talking about two separate things here.

Either way, the GTI top line cars, IMO, cover both categories. Well-appointed with nice materials, and pretty darn good reliability.
When I moved to America I was shocked how junk the American fords were , you guys deffinetly got different cars then us Europeans , Taurus used to have a toys r us quality interior , hard plastic everywhere , feel bad tho , you never experienced the good fords we had . :-( I remember they used to compare ford to Toyota , in Europe ford competes against Vw and Audi , ford Mondeo is very close to the Audi a4 quality
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top