My new 2014 Focus ST! Yes, another one...

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erod550
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Postby erod550 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:14

I hate that crap so much. I get that they're a business and trying to make as much money as possible off of you, but when they straight lie to your face and then you walk and they're all wait wait wait and give you what you asked for in the first place. Slimy.

My favorite car-buying experience by far was my SRT-4. I had already done research ahead of time and got my own financing ahead of time too. Walked in with a blank check and said I want this one and I'm willing to pay X (about $500 under sticker). I was out of there in under two hours. Most of the time when I buy a car I'm at the dealer for a good 4-5 at least.
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roninsoldier83
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Postby roninsoldier83 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:14

erod550 wrote:I hate that crap so much. I get that they're a business and trying to make as much money as possible off of you, but when they straight lie to your face and then you walk and they're all wait wait wait and give you what you asked for in the first place. Slimy.

My favorite car-buying experience by far was my SRT-4. I had already done research ahead of time and got my own financing ahead of time too. Walked in with a blank check and said I want this one and I'm willing to pay X (about $500 under sticker). I was out of there in under two hours. Most of the time when I buy a car I'm at the dealer for a good 4-5 at least.


My sentiments exactly. Although in this case, due to the rebates from Ford, I couldn't secure my own financing beforehand and they knew it... I worked in the business years ago (I think it's been 7+ years since that experience- time flies!) and in my opinion, there's a way to conduct yourself with dignity and still make a profit. Blatantly lying to someone when you know they have no other options (in order to get the deal on the car you were promised) isn't the way to do it.

This is the first time in several years that someone has really tried to rake in the dough with adding a few extra points on the back end while I was in finance. The sad thing is, they probably do it all the time and most customers believe them. To add a point is onto someone's actual rate is bad enough, but adding 3.5 is kind of a big deal. To someone that didn't know any better, that could potentially cost them several thousand extra dollars over the life of the loan. And for what? Just so some finance guy can pull an extra few bucks on his commission check?!? Dirty business practice IMO.

I've had two really good experiences with buying cars from a dealer:

-1. My Mazdaspeed Miata. Negotiated over the phone, told them what I would give them, they agreed. Drove down there, they had the car cleaned/gassed/ready to go & my paperwork was already waiting. No tricks, no one in finance trying to sell me on anything. I paid cash and was out of there in less than an hour.

-2. When I bought my old BMW 335xi. The luxury car brands really do treat you better.... Again, all terms worked out before I arrived & everything was done when I got there. No games, everyone was polite and they had this crazy idea: the sales guy was ALSO the finance guy, so you worked with the same guy the whole time. No sales pressuring BS. I told them who I wanted to finance through & what rates I knew that creditor had and they got it done without an issue. I was in and out in about 1.5 hours.

The rest of my experiences have been mostly 3-5 hour experiences full of beating my head against the wall.
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Postby roninsoldier83 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:14

Not exactly related directly to the FoST, but I went to check my accounts today... my account with Ford Motor Credit has already been paid off by USAA! USAA didn't even play around- funded my new account with them immediately & over-nighted the check!

Conversely, my Infiniti hasn't been paid off yet, even though I bought the car on the 17th lol... The Ford dealer said they mailed the check via snail mail a couple days ago. I'm sure they actually sent it and that it will be paid off soon, I just think it's ironic that my refinancing bank paid off my "newer" loan first even though I refinanced a full week later!

On another note, the more I get used to this car, the more I like it! The dealer filled the tank with 87 octane when I bought it, and technically, it will run on it... but I refilled it with 91 and it makes a pretty noticeable difference! Ford says running 93 octane will result in 9hp more than 87... Cobb's dyno says running 93 makes an extra 19whp over 87 octane (241whp vs 222whp): http://www.cobbtuning.com/Dyno-Database-s/70119.htm

^^^I'm with Cobb on this one. Even though we only have 91 octane available, I would be shocked if the car didn't pickup 10-15hp with the higher octane gas. Or at least it certainly feels like it!

The car also has a ton of grip for a FWD car! The factory 235's grip the road very well and the car rotates without a fuss. I'm really liking this car! Although I do have one minor complaint: the pedal spacing makes it pretty tough to heel-toe the car. Minor issue, but something I would have thought Ford would have put a bit more thought into... Overall though, this really is a ton of car for the money. :)
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erod550
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Postby erod550 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:14

235s from the factory? Nice. My SRT4 came with 205s and the MS3 had 215s.
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Postby roninsoldier83 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:14

So, I've now put about 900 miles on the FoST and it's a fun little car to drive! It has more grip and better rotation than any FWD car I think I've ever driven thus far.

Although, I am not impressed by Ford's [lack of] quality control at this point. I noticed not too long ago that the car actually came with 2 different color headlights! If you look closely, the trim on the left one is black and the trim on the right one is chrome lol. In my mind, there can really only be 2 possibilities for why they were different colors:

1. Piss poor quality control from the factory.
2. A minor accident the occurred on the dealer lot.

At this point, I'm pretty sure it was the former- an issue from the factory; as I literally saw them remove the factory shipping plastic with my own eyes in their service bay... and I saw the tech take the car out of "transport mode" so that I could test drive it. It literally had just gotten off of the truck from the factory. I doubt they had replaced the headlight and put the shipping plastic back on [perfectly], just to cover up a minor repair.

I spent some time checking, and I didn't see any other signs of repair... no signs of being repainted anywhere, the body panels are all aligned pretty well, and the factory clips on the underbody & fender well don't look like they've ever been touched- no scratches, wear marks, signs of stretching, stripping, ect. I suppose they could have just replaced a cracked/faulty headlight (assuming you don't need to remove the bumper to do so).... but I've taken apart quite a few cars over the years, and I'm 99% sure the bumper cover has never been removed.

Maybe the headlight was found to be faulty during their PMI checks (I test drove it during the day, so I wouldn't have known) and they replaced it while I was in finance... I suppose that could be plausible... but I'm about 99.9% sure the car has never been in any sort of an accident, unless it involved only the headlight being damaged & replaced without removing the bumper.

From what I understand about damaged disclosure laws, if there was any damage to a brand new vehicle, they are bound by law to report it if the damage exceeds 5% of the vehicle's value. So, on a car with a $24k MSRP, they would have to disclose any damage over about ~$1200. From my understanding, they don't have to report damage under 5% of the vehicle's value in order to account for common vehicle part replacements that occur from time to time, like flat tires, cracked windshields, ect. So, I suppose there could have been a cracked or faulty headlight incident, but I'm still confident that the bumper cover has never been touched/removed.

I contacted the dealer and according to them, there was never any damage done to the vehicle and they're confident it must have been a factory assembly error. According to both Ford and Carfax's records, it was never damaged, so I suppose it likely was an assembly error.... Either way, they replaced the right headlight with the proper (black trim) headlight, so all is well.

I think this is the first car I've ever owned that was back at the dealer for fix/replace something right after I bought it lol.... Granted, it's certainly not a deal breaker, and really just comes down to a minor piece of trim- it's just a funny coincidence. Ahhh, my first experience with owning an American car ha!
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RX-7 Chris
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Postby RX-7 Chris » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:14

So you bought a car with one black eye and gave it a second one?
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Postby Huzer » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:14

So you're as enamored with the quality control as I am? Haha. Thankfully, the driving dynamics overrule the minor fit and finish issues I've noticed. Weird that yours came with completely different headlights. I suppose I should go over mine a little more closely, now.
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erod550
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Postby erod550 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:14

I had my MS3 back at the dealer within a week or two of buying it. It had a faulty gas cap that was triggering CELs. They replaced it quickly and I was on my way.
2015 Ironman Silver Veloster Turbo - Bone stock and staying that way

1990 Crystal White Miata - Beater - Bignose 1.6L Swap, Robbins Top w/Glass Window, E-Codes, Air Horns, Brembo Rotors



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Postby roninsoldier83 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:14

RX-7 Chris wrote:So you bought a car with one black eye and gave it a second one?


Now with 100% more black eye :D That'll teach her to not get out of line on me!

Huzer wrote:So you're as enamored with the quality control as I am? Haha. Thankfully, the driving dynamics overrule the minor fit and finish issues I've noticed. Weird that yours came with completely different headlights. I suppose I should go over mine a little more closely, now.


Haha, yep, that sounds about right. It is painfully obvious that the car doesn't have the quality control standards that former vehicles of mine have had.... but it drive extremely well for the price, and honestly, at the price point we picked these things up for, it's a very minor issue that I'm not concerned about.
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Postby roninsoldier83 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:14

FoST update:

Found a set of dirt cheap used wheels (17x7) from a Focus Titanium for sale and picked them up. As it turns out, Ford changed the front brakes on the late build 2014 ST's (built after 3/31/14). As such, the 2013 ST's and early build 2014's (built before 3/31/14) have brakes that are about 1/2" smaller.... Which is a pro and a con. It's nice to get a "free" brake upgrade (although they apparently use a slightly less aggressive pad in order to reduce much complained about brake dust); but there's a drawback: the late model ST's like mine can no longer run 16" wheels like the earlier cars can. Ford even started including 17" spare tires, like mine:
Image

Either way, the new 17x7 [winter] wheels barely clear the OEM brakes! Test fit:
Image

While I was at it, I saw Tirerack had Blizzak WS70 tires on closeout, so I picked up a set before they sold out in 215/50/17. All in all, she's getting ready for winter early.

I'm still pretty happy with the car. It's a lot of fun to drive for a $19.7k econobox! However, the pedal position is really piss poor for heel-toe down-shifting. Maybe I'm just used to the Miata's nearly perfect spacing.... Either way, I'm happy with the powertrain, brakes & suspension, but will likely do something about the gas pedal position. I'm thinking about picking up a pedal spacer like this:

http://www.garageline.com/interior-bits/293-garage-line-2013-ford-focus-st-accelerator-pedal-mount.html

^^^I'm so used to heel-toeing the Miata almost everywhere, whereas the FoST can only be [easily] heel-toed if you're 100% on the brakes, which isn't really feasible for daily driving or moderate spirited driving IMO. Especially when the brakes are this grabby! I also think changing the pedal spacing would make it a tad more comfortable for daily driving as well. If I decide to pick one up, I'll be sure to let you (cough*Tim*cough*) know, assuming you're interested.
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Postby Huzer » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:14

Congrats on the wheels. I've been looking on occasion, but haven't been looking too hard. Mine was built on 3/12/14, so I'm prior to the brake upgrade. If I find some 16"s to go with, I'll go that route. I saw the tire rack sale on the tires as well. Good prices.
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Postby roninsoldier83 » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:14

So, it's been about 2000 miles and I've had enough time to get to know the car a bit better. Quick recap of the highs and lows of the car:

Highs:

-Powertrain/torque curve. It's still not the most powerful car on earth, but the low-end grunt is very nice for daily driving. It's one of the few cars that I keep T/C on while I'm driving on purpose, as T/C seems to actually help get the car going quickly from a stop.
-Drivetrain. I'm still digging the clutch/gearbox & think it's a fun-to-shift car.
-Fuel economy. I drive the car like a normal human being, with the occasional spirited burst. As of right now, my MPG calculator is at 28.9mpg & I drive about 45/55% city/hwy. The MPG screen is generally pretty accurate based on at the pump calculations.
-Good balance of handling & comfort. Shortly after I bought the car, I found out tire pressure was set WAY too high (~48psi all around vs recommended 36psi). I lowered it to about where it's supposed to be, and it made a decent difference in ride comfort. For a car with a sporty nature, it's actually pretty compliant.
-The super-quick steering. Very nice when you're on a mountain road & driving it how it's supposed to be driven!
-Ford Racing support. I'm not planning on modding this car, other than winter wheels/tire and maybe some tint & a pedal spacer kit. But, if I was, it's nice that Ford Racing offers aftermarket parts that allow a person to keep a 3yr/36k mile warranty that includes a much more aggressive tune, colder spark plugs, an intake/exhaust, stiffer springs, short throw shifter, ect. Again, I don't plan on getting the tune, but for those that want it, a 90ft-lbs increase in torque for a whopping $500 isn't bad at all.
-Bang for buck. For the price I paid, there's still nothing out there that will touch this car.

Lows:

-Tiny gas tank. 12.4 gallons isn't exactly road trip friendly.
-Piss poor turning radius. I think the turning radius is rated around 39.4 feet. Painful.
-Touchy brakes. The brakes feel strong, but unfortunately, they're a bit too grabby IMO. I've accidentally gotten them into "full lockup" mode several times.
-Horrible pedal spacing. In the Miata, I can heel-toe without a second thought & frequently do. In the FoST, the gas pedal is too far to the right and too close to the ground. Under 10/10ths track-oriented braking, it would probably be alright, but for occasional spirited driving, it sucks. This will be remedied with a throttle pedal spacer kit in short order.
-Poor quality control. My car came with 2 different colored headlights... Granted, the dealer fixed it, but it really shouldn't have come like that haha. The car was also not properly PMI'd, as the tire pressure was damn near maxed out. Not a big deal, but very telling IMO.
-Lower quality dealerships than I'm used to. Maybe it's just the dealer I bought mine through, but the buying process was horrible, as was my only service transaction with them (replacing headlight). It felt very "old school car dealer" [shady] all around and was a real hassle. I won't be going back to that dealer again (Freeway Ford), but it doesn't bode well for what the next few years might be like. Then again, maybe I'm just spoiled from the German & Japanese cars I've owned over the past ~15 years. I guess only time will tell.

The "Other" category:

-Torque steer. Yes, it's there. But IMO, it really isn't a big deal. I keep the T/C on and the torque steer really doesn't bother me for daily driving. I'm actually pretty shocked by how little I notice it.
-Variable steering rack ratio. It takes a while to get used to IMO, but again, it really doesn't bother me. I suppose some could view it as "darty" on the freeway, but I think the electric rack does a good job of weighting the steering so it's not an issue. I'm actually pretty comfortable in this thing on the freeway.
-Summer only tires. To some, this might be a deal breaker. To me? Not a big deal. It gave me a good excuse to pickup a set of smaller wheels & Blizzak snow tires. :) I prefer a summer/winter combo over all-seasons anyway.

That's about all I have for now... I'll report back in a few months with how this thing handles snow while wearing snow tires!

Cheers,

-Brandon
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erod550
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Postby erod550 » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:14

39.4 feet in a compact car is ridiculous. I thought the 38 feet of my SRT-4 was bad. Almost all U-turns became Y-turns. My big ### Mustang can do it in 33.4 ft lol. And then there's the turn on a dime Miata at 30.0. :D
2015 Ironman Silver Veloster Turbo - Bone stock and staying that way

1990 Crystal White Miata - Beater - Bignose 1.6L Swap, Robbins Top w/Glass Window, E-Codes, Air Horns, Brembo Rotors



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2011 Kona Blue Mustang GT 5.0

2009 True Red Mazdaspeed3 GT

2005 Flame Red SRT-4

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Postby roninsoldier83 » Mon Aug 25, 2014 9:14

erod550 wrote:39.4 feet in a compact car is ridiculous. I thought the 38 feet of my SRT-4 was bad. Almost all U-turns became Y-turns. My big ### Mustang can do it in 33.4 ft lol. And then there's the turn on a dime Miata at 30.0. :D


Yeah, it really is piss poor. :D

Although, RWD cars generally do have tighter turning circles. The FoST has two things working against it in the turning circle department:

-235 wide front tires.
-A steering rack that quickens to a 10.1:1 ratio.

The price you pay for extra grip and a super quick steering rack... :(
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Huzer
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Postby Huzer » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:14

Agreed on pretty much all counts. The dealership experience (I haven't been back since I bought) was not good. That said, my dealership experiences in general have sucked. My wife's GC? Sucked. Any of my Mazda purchases have sucked as well. The only Euro experience I have was when I got a key made for the Volvo.

Overall, excusing the purchase, I've had a great time with the car. It's very practical, fun, and comfortable. I'm not disappointed in this car and would buy it again 10/10 times at the same price.
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