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Best Hot Hatch - SVT, Civic Si, GTI, RSX, Mini, Beetle...

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  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    "Fashionable" is the word I believe you were looking for.

    I read a review somewhere, or maybe it was a post on here, that these new hatches and sport coupes out accelerate the standard 60's muscle cars despite the hp difference. Now this excludes those barely street legal Hemi's but they didn't make that many of those anyway. It makes me wonder what all the fuss from the gottta-have-a-big-engine people is all about.
  • mbeards3mbeards3 Posts: 7
    I picked up my 5 speed GTI last night. Though I have not punched it yet(new engine), the turbo has an addicting quiet whistle. It kicks in about 2500rpm with a smooth rush. The car is built like a vault. Many nice touches that make it luxurious. The seats are very adjustable and the steering column tilts AND telescopes. Using the heated seats this morning was like get a back massage! I agree that the luxury stoplight drag racer is the GTI, while the SVT kicks on the curves. I think the SVT looks better too on the outside. For me the 0-60mph of 6.5sec, best interior, award winning 20v 1.8T motor and high resale swayed me over to VW. Also, a $400 chip boost turbo PSI(voids your warranty) to give you 200+ HP. The SVT would need a lot more money to get to 200hp.
  • mbeards3mbeards3 Posts: 7
    The subaru wrx was more than I wanted to spend- it was going for around $23K while my GTI came to $19750. My wife has a 1999 subaru forester suv and it is nice and reliable. If you are considering the $23K Acura RSX-s, you should look into the WRX too. I wanted to come under $20K and compared not the MSRP prices but the carsdirect.com price which seems like an accurate estimate of what a dealer will sell the car for. Resale value is very important. In 5 years some cars will trade in at $3000 while another make will get $5000! One more expense to consider is insurance rates for the model.
  • Jackson Racing has a supercharger for the SVT that should put it at 230 or so crank HP. However, the JR supercharger for the regular Focus is about $2600, so the SVT version is likely to be priced at $3000ish. This would put it $1500 or so higher than a chipped GTI. You should be able to do a lot to the GTI's suspension for $1500!
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    Does anybody know the production number for these cars? I know the focus SVT's number is something like 7500. What about the civic si and gti? Do you think maybe ford should have made more? I know exclusivety is the name of the game in hardcore special models, but I think the focus with the performance of the SVT should be a fairly regular part of the focus lineup. A focus cosworth or RS should be considered a hardcore special model. Maybe I am wrong? Maybe 7500 is a lot for this model?
  • VW will make as many GTIs as it can sell. I think Honda wants to bring 20000 or so of the Si over here and I'm sure they'll sell every one of them. The SVT numbers are pretty low, but all SVT cars have been very low production vehicles. It probably has more to do with exclusivity than anything else, since Ford will be selling the SVT in Europe badged as the ST170.

    A Focus Cosworth would be limited in production mainly because it would be hard to find too many people willing to shell out $30K+ for a Focus. If I won the lottery I would be first in line though!
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    I think ford should have left the SVT name for a more hardcore focus or they should more closely integrate the SVT name in fords regular lineup.

    The Civic Si is has almost a cult following here. Ford did a bang up job beating the Si dynamically with the new Focus SVT. The si used to be the budget hot-rod all were measured against and ford NEEDED to best that to be taken seriously. They might be taking themselves too seriously though. If it is true that Honda wants to bring 20,000 or so units on the si to the US then the 7500 units of the SVT seems ridiculous. The performance of these two models is great, but neither is a hardcore special model. The Si is obviously not that special of a model otherwise they would make it more exclusive like the Integra Type-R. Honda seems to realize this and Ford doesn't. With such a small production number ford seems to be saying that the SVT is the hottest stuff they got. IMO they needed to play it cool and casually best honda with a marketable model rather than trumpet it with an exclusive model. They are making a big deal of beating a standard car with a special edition and they are leaving themselves little room to make the focus even better. I think they should have waited to badge a special model like the Focus RS as the Focus SVT, but sell that as just an image car to put the focus ahead of the pack. Then they could sell models with the performance of the current SVT (which should be badged something else) to more people to make money. It would be like the focus beating them on the high end and the low end at the same time. So you see how I think Ford was playing safe not making very many SVT's, but unfortunately you usually have to be bold and daring to make it in the performance market.
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    I was just about to type that ;). So then the CTR is brought over by next year and the SVT's "reign" ends. And we all live happily ever after.
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    Then next year Ford could up the production on the SVT Focus to deal with the si better. Next, after the CTR meets success, they could bring the Focus RS over (or maybe even a Focus Cosworth) as an SVT Focus R (like the short lived SVT Cobra R for consistancy) and stay on top of the performance hatch market. And we all live happily ever after.

    Good to find someone else thinking like I do.
  • I believe the reason that the new SI is so lame is that Honda plans on bringing the Si-R over along withthe launch of the RSX type-r. IMO the GTI is still the best of the bunch. The turbo engine is outstanding and as far as reliability problems with the SVT I owned a Focus for a year and never had a single problem not caused by myself (or the POS Jackson Racing supercharger). And also have a 1991 Escort GT sitting in the driveway with 276,000 miles on it with never a major repair other than timing belt which is standard maintenance. I have no problems or questions over the GTI reliability since the 1.8t is still relativly new.
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    While I agree that maybe Ford should've called the SVT an "RS" or something else like that and come up with something even HOTTER as an SVT model, I don't agree that it is going up against a "standard car" in the Civic Si. Since Honda is only planning on bringing over 20,000 or so, that would account for one 1 of 17 Civics (give or take) they are planning to sell here in 2002 (based upon 2001 sales of 331,000). Since I can't for the life of me find any 2001 sales figures for the Focus, I am going to go out on a limb and say that the SVT model will end up selling a similarly small percentage of the total 2002 Focus sales... Maybe 1 out of 25 or so. Just a guess, of course. Basically, the difference between 6% of the total production and 4% of the total production is academic at best... They are both limited-edition with such small totals.

    -SHOV6
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    Yeah, but 20,000 is a big difference from the 7500 for the SVT, and Ford sells ALOT of regular Focus's. The Si may not be a standard car, but it is not nearly as exclusive as the SVT.

    The GTI may be the best on content and quality of materials used, but on a hot hatch that is less important than other things. The GTI is still to heavy and soft. Its acceleration is rewarding but the handling much less so. The GTI is more like a high speed touring car of hatches and the Focus SVT is more of the nimble sports car of hatches. At least for whats on sale right now at that price range. You might be able to cheaply improve the VW's handling, but that will void your warranty. VW does not let owners do any sort of aftermarket add-ons.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I equate the GTi to being the "muscle car" of the hot hatch segment. It's certainly faster in a straight line that the others out there, but it falls behind through the twisties.
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    I see what you are saying, but "muscle cars" are not really known for luxury appointments. The GTI is and so I see it more along the same line as cars like the mercedes sport coupe or the new bmw hatch. Granted it is just as good if not better than those at most things, but it is more like these than it is like SVT's and SI's. That acceleration is almost a luxury feature because you don't have to work hard to get up to speed.
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    Are you sure that suspension modifications void the VW warranty? Perhaps on the items in question, I wouldn't expect VW to honor a warranty claim on a suspension component if you've thrown on lowering springs and an additional rear bar, but I would be surprised if any other part of the car's warranty would be voided if you only do those minor modifications.

    Having said that, I did hear that replacing the exhaust cat-back on VW might void the ENGINE warranty. Does anyone know if this is true? If so it's a travesty.

    -SHOV6
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    I know a guy who changed the exhaust on his VR6 GTI and in believe it did void the warranty on the engine. I hear that even if you just install new exhaust tips it is the same penalty. So I don't know for certain but I am pretty sure that they are this strict with the guidlines.
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    Anything to get out of having to pay for the fix, I guess. I guess you need to find out what mods you can perform BEFORE you perform them, otherwise you get taken to the cleaners.

    -SHOV6
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    ...but Honda has announced that the Si will sticker for 19 large, $19,250 with side airbags. This is from Caranddriver.com, dated today, though this could have been announced earlier. Just thought some of you would like to know.

    -SHOV6
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    Yes, the Si and SVT are both limited-edition models. However, with the Focus coming from an in-house tuner like SVT with a reputation to build comparably radically-performing cars it will have higher expectations. Sure the old Si was in the center of the "import scene," but nobody ever mistook it as a beastly performance sports car. The Si is a solidly built car with a touch of performance--which leaves plenty of room for the CTR to expound upon it.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    but the problem is price wise there is little room for the CTR to expand over the Si. I'd love for Honda to bring the CTR on over. I just think they'll have to re-align the price of the Si and offer the CTR for under 21K. Even then, it would depend how loaded the thing is at that price.

    Unless the Honda dealers are willing to go much closer to invoice, they may have a not-so-nice surprise in the Si.
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    Say what you will about SVT's ability to produce a radical car, it is clear they were working to a price point... otherwise, the Focus Cosworth would be over here masquerading as an SVT. As it is, they did a superb job, bringing a car to market that has tested against and beaten the vaunted Si in at least two auto enthusiast magazines in the last couple of months (C&D and Automobile)... Not to mention that you get a 6-spd gearbox, more hp and torque from an engine of the same size, better handling, better brakes, and more room for $1250 dollars less (the SVT has side airbags standard). That's a pretty big difference for Honda to overcome in this price range, especially since it appears that the SVT has the Si's number in every performance category.

    The SVT sounds like a good deal to ME. However, I fear that both these cars will be hard to find at a discount... Expect some sort of premium for each, at least at first.

    -SHOV6
  • chem123chem123 Posts: 272
    I would also love it if Honda brought over the CTR. The good thing the CTR has going for it as far as price is it's existence as a relative "stripper" as far as creature comforts and amenities.

    Sho, I also admire the SVT Focus but am not too surprised by it beating the "vaunted" Si (although I will have to disagree with that adjective). Ford did a good job with that car, and I hope they make Honda suffer at least a little for neglecting the performance enthusiast. Competition is great, isn't it?
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    ...and I will tell ya why.

    My folks still have an '86 Si as a beater (purchased new in Nov. '85, for $400 over sticker in this NYC suburb, good to see some things never change!!), and it was one heckuva fun car for its' time. It would still be fun if it had the proper tires on it, and if I weren't so afraid of getting creamed by an SUV while driving it.

    There were a bunch of hot Si's along the way from then to now, not least of which was the high-revving car based upon the last model (an old student of mine owns one). Fun, but in the experience of HIS car at least, somewhat fragile.

    I'd say that the Civic Si has a long history of being a viable performance car, at least in the "hot hatch" category. For the new Focus (a relative newcomer, and from Ford, no less) to do so well in comparison is an achievement, in my eyes. Hey, look at it this way, it's a compliment to the Si... I wouldn't be impressed if the Si were a dud.

    -SHOV6
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    Ford has been making hotted up affordable cars for years actually. They just havn't been selling them in the states. They have the market cornered, in each segment they sell in, on driving dynamics in europe. They haven't quite got the desirablility thing down yet and that is hurting them. The Focus is the best selling car in the UK though. Honda's are nimble, but they suffer from a terminal case of vagueness. They are seen as the dynamic leader in this segment largely because nobody has challenged them. I would like to see Ford (or even Ford through Mazda) push on further in the budget performance market challenge Honda in to going further themselves. Like you said, competition is good for us. Maybe then GM will get a clue and offer us a next gen Astra turbo coupe, Chrysler something like the Neon SRT and Toyota a hot Corolla. I am all about choice!
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    I thought this car had been okayed for production?

    Now for something ELSE that was approved... The Ford GT-40. Read that last night, but forgot where... Now THAT will have a high desirability factor! Not that I can afford one, but Ford needs a "halo car" here in the US.

    -SHOV6
  • to the warranty discussion that I seemed to miss. First, Volkswagen is counting on you not knowing that there are certain warranty protections afford to you in Federal Law (I'm talking about the USA here). Second, they are counting on you not knowing how to document an illegal warranty denial if you were to even know the denial existed. Third, they are counting on you to accept the denial of warranty service and not fight it.

    Title 15, chapter 50 of the United States code (commonly known as the Magnusun-Moss warranty act), among other things, prohibits a manufacturer from voiding a warranty because you use aftermarket parts, except in certain situations, like if the part you were replacing would normally be given to you free from the manufacturer outside of the warranty period. If you were to install an aftermarket exhaust, Volkswagen would be under no obligation to warrant that exhaust, but they cannot void the warranty on the engine or any other part of the car. Now, if that exhaust were to fail in such a way as to damage the engine (or you installed it in a way that damaged the engine), then Volkswagen legally can deny your warranty claim because the aftermarket part caused the damage. But if the engine fails for some other reason, they can't point to the aftermarket exhaust and say "no."

    To put it simply, the factory warranty is valid on all factory parts for the life of the warranty unless it can be proven that an aftermarket part caused the factory part to fail. Period. If they try to deny a legitimate claim, simply tell the service manager that for his protection under Federal Law, the head technician needs to write a report stating the reason for the denial and detail exactly how the aftermarket part caused the factory part(s) to fail. Both the service manager and the lead tech need to sign it.

    Now, dealers of all brands of cars try to feed you that sort of line to varying degrees. I, for example, have quite a few aftermarket parts on my Focus. My local dealership has performed a lot of warranty work on my car and the only mention of my aftermarket parts was one of the techs telling me how cool my suspension setup was and asking if I was going to get a turbo for it. I asked if they could install a limited slip for me and they told me to do it somewhere else because they charge too much for labor. No "it'll void your transmission warranty" talk. I know that there are a lot of Volkswagen dealerships that wont hassle you about chipping your GTI or doing other mods as long as you are upfront and dont try to hide things. On the other hand, I know a girl who had to try 5 different Honda dealerships before she found one that would even look at her Civic because it had an aftermarket alarm. Find a good dealer and what I wrote above wont even come into play.

    At Ford dealers at least, the ones that sell SVTs (not all Ford dealerships can sell you an SVT) are probably the most accepting of mods, but you still should ask before buying the car. Same goes for other makes as well - tell them what you might do and ask how they would treat it. Buy from the friendly one.
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    Thanks for that info, I am sure that a lot of readers here can learn a lot from that.

    -SHOV6
  • scootchscootch Posts: 70
    Lot's of very good info on this post. Hadn't checked it for a while. While waiting for the bus to arrive this morning I began wondering if I really want to trade my '00 ZX3 for the new SVT version. You see, it (not sure about the Si) requires premium fuel. As I was sitting there I watched the guy at the Union 76 station across the street raise his prices five cents a gallon (it seems like he's out there almost every morning doing the same thing) and premium (91 is as high as we go in California) is now 176.9/gal. Ouch!
  • revdrluvrevdrluv Posts: 417
    The SVT gets pretty good mpg though doesn't it? Has anyone tested one yet? My ford dealer sells Roush and SVT, but I haven't seen one on the lot.

    #88 good post, thanks. Now how do you convince the dealers of this? Legal action?
  • scootchscootch Posts: 70
    C&D listed the EPA mileage for the SVT in their comparison test of "hot hatches" last month as 24 city, 34 highway, though they only recorded 21 on their 800 mile "trip." The Si had the highest recorded mileage on the same trip and it was only 23 I think. They must drive at the rev limiter in first or second gear. Anyway, Motor Trend also tested the SVT and they listed a "combined" estimated mpg of 23-24 I think, with something like 27-28 for the Si. In the case of the Si that sounds like the weighted average of their EPA ratings. Sure hope that's not the case for the SVT. I called 800-FORD-SVT a couple of times and to this point they didn't know the EPA ratings for the SVT. I mentioned yesterday that I saw the guy at Union 76 raise prices so that premium was 1.76.9/gal. This morning it was up to 1.82.9! Yikes. What's going on. Twelve cents in two days! 87 was 1.62.9 this morning. Considering I usually only fill up every 2-3 weeks it doesn't make that much difference but if one were to fill up once or twice a week, well... I find it somewhat interesting that VW/Audi went from 150hp to 225hp - a 75 hp increase - with their 1.8L (ex-'85 Golf engine) without having to increase the octane requirement (admittedly they started with 91 octane to begin with) through fiddling with stuff but Ford only increased the Zetec engine 40 hp and they needed to go from 87-91 octane. Cadillac (and Aurora - same thing) on the other hand where able to retune their Northstar to enable it to run on 87 instead of its original 91 requirement without losing any power i.e. it's still 300 horses. Idle thoughts. I need to get to work. Hope the SVT Focii start showing up pretty soon.
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