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



  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    I am with hpulley4 on this one as well. I can't stomach the looks of the Focus either. After seeing so many of them on the street everyday, the car tends to look overcooked big time.

    Too bad, as the Focus platform is excellent as well as its handling dynamics, but the build quality and expected reliability fall well below the standard of its immediate competitors. The SVT Focus at $18K could be considered a bargain, but upon close inspection, the build quality and the prospect of receiving poor service (And lots of recalls) from Ford dealerships, makes the Focus in any form a pretty questionnable proposition.

    If you love the looks and have to have a Focus, lease it for 3 years and at the end of the lease get rid of it.

    I know some here have had positive Focus experiences. Again I think this is one of the best cars to come out from Ford in a very long time, but the shoddy long term quality, recalls and poor resale values are a fact of life with this model, unfortunately.
  • muffin_manmuffin_man Posts: 865
    It didn't occur to me at the time I wrote that to seperate RSX/RSX-S, GT/GT-S, Mini/Mini-S, but maybe we should? Ugh.

    And I don't know about the SVT, I guess I was somehow mentally attaching it to the normal ZX3.

    I don't know why the Si was on the second tier, magazines seemed dissapointed, I guess. I haven't driven one. Actually, the only cars on this list I've driven are the GTI and RSX-S.

    Let's try again, and I'm not factoring in style, since that's personal preference anyway.

    GTS, Mini S, RSX-S, SVT, GTI
    Si, RSX, GT, Mini

    That is hardly different from before. The thing with the Tiburon, is it just doesn't seem to have the same sporting aspirations as the other cars. It's very good looking (from pictures), but the engine and handling seem to lack the urgency of the others.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    oddly enough I like the focus style. It is the Celica's that I cannot stand. So go figure ;-)

    I do know that when you buy a SVT product, you get different perks than the average, joe shmoe Ford driver. I have no clue how it works in practice though.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    As far as I am concerned, they have yet to address the quality issues significantly. Acording to the L.A. times, the Elantra (isn't that what the Tiburon is based on?) had 5+ recalls last month alone!!!!!

    Hyundai did a nice job on the exterior. I actually like the interior (seats hold you in very well, and the stereo is really nice!), but the Tiburon V6 is even slower than the Ford SVT Focus.

    The Focus had at least 6 recalls last year (2001 model), so I question the long term reliability on a Souped up Focus (what the SVT basically is).

    Also, Ford always seems to have little quirks about their products that other manufacturers do not seem to have. (Electrical problems that need to be recalled in a variety of models, possible fire starters). One of the reasons that Arizona as a state will no longer buy Crown Vic. Police cruisers.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    I personally really like the RSX Type-S interior. To me the Mini's seems at little odd, with too much plastic.

    If you want controversy, this should help.
  • drivinisfundrivinisfun Posts: 372
    Both interiors are made of plastic....
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    we're talking about economy cars here, essentially. Much plastic going on in all.

    I like the MINI interior for its originality in this group.

    My one major complaint about the RSX is the dash vents. They are DIRECTLY out of my Alfa Spider and I HATE them. Over time they have loosened up and fail to stay in the position you put them. Granted, in a convertible, it really doesn't matter, but it would drive me nuts in a closed car like the RSX. Aside from that, I also find the dash layout rather bland and nondistinctive. Same goes for the GTI.

    I think the Tiburon is downright unattractive on the inside.

    The Celica isn't too bad. I think its probably the most "sportscar" like with the high center console and low seating position.

    The dash layout on the SVT is more what I would call funky. It definitely stands out, so I have to give credit there. I just can't say that I find it visually appealing.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    According to a recent article, they found the Tibby fell between the RSX-S and GTS in both acceleration and braking. And they said handling was pretty good, too.

    Wish I could remember what mag. Anyone else remember? I think it was Motor Trend.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    They compared the Tiburon V6 with the Acura RSX-S, the Celica GTS, the Mitsu Eclipse V6, and the Beetle Turbo S.

    BTW, guess which car was ranked last by C&D?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    I was thinking of an article where they drove the Tibby V6 and a racecar version of the Tibby.

    On that C&D article, I would hope it was the Mitsu that finished last. If not, it should have. OK, so I'm a little biased against Mitsus due to personal experience with a POS Galant. ARRGGG .... ok, enough of that.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    The Beetle finnished last due to the tremendous oversteer and the annoying spoiler that kept going in and out at 40 mph.

    I believe the Tibby finnished 4th with the Toyota and the Mitsu finnishing tied for 2nd.

    I agree with you on the Mitsus. Rented a Galant and totally agree with your assessment!
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    Kevin - The WRX has a ton of aftermarket mods available that will take it way beyond my GTI, but when I factored in the original WRX cost and the cost of typical WRX performance upgrades you are talking $30k or so. Granted a $30k WRX will blow the doors off my GTI. A huge advantage the WRX has is it's all wheel drive which can easily handle 300 HP. I'm about at the limit of HP a small FWD car can reasonably handle. VW makes a 4Motion GTI for it's European market - hello modified 300 HP 1.8t 4Motion GTI. It is rumored that VW will make the 4Motion GTI available in the US when the Golf 5 debuts in mid 2003. It should be a $1,700 option similar to the Quattro system on the Audi A4. VW 4Motion is essentially the Audi Quattro system.

    As far as warranty issues with the mods I've done to my GTI, I researched that as well. I have a mod friendly VW dealer that doesn't reject warranty issues out of hand on modified cars. They have to prove that the modifed part caused the failure. A lot of the after market performance parts I've installed on my GTI have a lifetime warranty which is a lot better than the factory warranty. The VW 1.8t engine is massively over engineered in typical German fashion. It can easily handle the level of performance I'm extracting from it. It is supposedly engineered to handle 300 HP with no internal modifications. I haven't had one problem with my modified GTI in 10k hard miles. I do maintain it really well though.

    Gbrozen - I drove the MINI S and thought it was an absolute slug. You have to keep the RPM's up to get anything that approaches performance from it - I'm keeping tabs on the MINI S performance aftermarket, pump that little MINI S up to 220 HP or so and I bet it'd be quite entertaining.

    I love really fast little hatchbacks that handle like go-carts more than any other type of performance car.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    It looks like you researched your cars heavily and found the right car and dealer that fit your needs. For the price point, it sounds like you did very well. Good luck and have fun with the GTI!
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I believe it's understeer
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    unfortunately, many of these small 4 bangers need to be kept in the high RPMs. Honda and Toyota are notorious for it.

    The nice thing about the GTI is the peak torque comes in under 2K rpms and carries you through to the peak hp up there around 5500. But that's the nice thing about LPTs. You're just spoiled. :)

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • huntzingerhuntzinger Posts: 356
    The 'slug' comment is probably a good example of how & why its misleading to compare vehicles based on their horsepower ratings, or even their HP/weight ratio.

    The relevant old adage is that "we buy horsepower, but drive torque".

    For most people - - and more so for those who go with an automatic transmission - - they don't have the willingness or interest to make the effort to keep the engine RPM's in the sweet spot of its power band when performance is desired. Typically, this means relatively "high" RPM's. Consequently, we defer to a preference for a larger displacement V6 or V8, partly because they typically will have more torque, but mostly because they have broader RPM delivery band of good levels of torque.

    Engineering design philosophy and finesse does address this to some degree. One example is an engine cam design that sacrifices peak horsepower to make more torque (ie, make a "less peaky" motor). Another is what VW has done with the turbocharging system in the 1.8t motor: its considered an "undersized" turbo by many, but its design objective is really to increase torque, not horsepower and it does a good job, providing the engine with a healthy amount of torque across a very broad RPM range.

    - - -

    On steering, most cars today typically have understeer, not oversteer. Understeer is that "plowing" feel when you go into a corner, turn the wheel and not much happens - the car goes straighter than the wheel input would otherwise say it should be. This has been built in on purpose, because understeer is more forgiving of the habits of poor drivers.

    In contrast, oversteer is where a small input results in a large turn-in; typically, the back end wants to come around. Its most commonly found today on AWD systems (with appropriate throttle manipulation) and rear-end-heavy RWD systems, such as the classical example, the Porsche 911. FWIW, the rate at which a car's rear end will swing around is partially a function of the Z (vertical) axis Moment of Inertia ...the lower it is, the faster (which is usually considered to be not a good thing for normal driving).

  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Was late in the day. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!
    C&D said the understeer was almost as bad as the Saab 9-3 Viggen (considered to be their #1 understeering car!)

    Huntzinger - To emphasise your point, look at the Maxima 99 to 00. The engine displacement was the same, yet HP increased to 32. Interestingly enough, even though the manual 0-60 dropped by over a second, the automatic 0-60 speed was identical between the two years.
  • "I drove the MINI S and thought it was an absolute slug. You have to keep the RPM's up to get anything that approaches performance from it..."

    The engine on that car you drove was not worked in yet.

    Trust me as a Cooper S owner. Once you work it in, you'll notice more pep.

    BTW, the car (mine at least) has ample low-end power.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    The silly thing about the break-in of the Cooper engine is that you want to go above the limits (4500RPMs) while you are under break-in restrictions but once the engine IS broken in you don't really need to unless you really want to haul @$$. It was amazing how much power the engine gained on break-in; it took even longer than the owner's manual said to fully open up -- I'd say it wasn't really broken in until after 3200km (2000 miles).
  • voochvooch Posts: 92
    Can someone define break-in? I thought new cars didn't need to be broken in anymore.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    good to hear other opinions. Wish I could bring myself to go find an S to test drive to judge for myself. I'm just afraid of liking it too much.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    There are different schools of thought on this. Many people (myself included) still feel the need to break a car in rather gently even though part of today's manufacturing process in many cases is to bench run the drivetrain.

    Its probably more of a mental block that keeps people like me from pounding on their cars when they are still "new" rather than an actual reason.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    IF you have a manual transmission...a break in period is necessary for longevity and performance. Basically 500 miles of gentle driving (no full throttle accelerations!!!)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,300
    why only a manual??

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I break my cars in too - I don't go over 5k rpm for the first 1k miles, vary the speed on the highway - don't use the cruise control, brake firmly to set the pads. I used to change the oil at 1k miles but VW STRONGLY recommends against it. It's hard to wait 5k miles to change oil. I bought 2 new cars last year and both are nicely broken in, noticably more power.

    I didn't upgrade the ECU in my GTI until it had 5k miles on it - I even drove it up to APR in Alabama and had them chip it on the spot.

    Thanks for the insight on the MINI S, the car I drove had less than 500 miles on it. I need to drive one with some miles on it. My GTI gets faster as it breaks in - I'm approaching 10k miles now - it makes sense the MINI S would be the same.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I forget to put in....longevity and performance of the clutch.
  • All engines "open up" between 2000 and 8000 miles. You get better power and gas mileage afterwards. It should happen no matter how you treat the engine, especially since all the engines will have been run in the exact same way for 5 minutes or so at the factory. How you treat the engine for the first 500 miles or so may determine how much of a gain you get later on, though there is no clear and decisive way to do it. Some say take it easy, some say gradually increase revs, some say to let it rip on the trip off of the dealership lot, and every method has anecdotal evidence which "proves" that it is the best way. As for me, I just drove my car like I normally would, and now the car feels stronger, I get better gas mileage than the EPA says I should, and it's never burned a drop of oil.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I kept my celica under 3500 rpm for the first 1000 miles - very difficult with this engine! All the cars I have ever had new have lasted to 200K+ miles with the original engine, by doing this. Now I am up to 8K on my new celica, and my mileage has gone up along with the peppiness of the engine - my mileage was around 33 in mixed driving when it was new, but is up to 35 now.

    And remember - no hard braking for the first 200 miles or so! This will give the brakes a chance to seat properly onto the rotors.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • Hey I was wondering if the celica gt is classified as a sports car or a compact car for insurance purposes. My insurance is alstate if that makes a difference, thanks for your help!
  • voochvooch Posts: 92
    I have a GT and its pretty cheap. I'm 28 and I pay about 600/6months, with collision and all the stuff that you need when the bank actually owns it. I don't think its rated anything like a sports car. It says 3A00102 for class, which means nothing to me, maybe it will mean something to you =)
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