The Civic Type R gets low to mid 30's mpg, I used to own one... The Clio gets marginally better (I used to get a couple of MPG better than with the civic on average), but I never had any real issues with build quality, just electrical niggles. Now I have a family I don't have a hot hatch, but those were definitely the best two of the last gen hot hatches - consensus, sales figures and magazine reviews agree with me.
I find it funny that the ST170 owners are trying to justify not getting a faster car with frankly poor reasons. The Focus won't get any higher mpg than these faster cars, and it only handles AS WELL as them, not better. I don't know why people are assuming that Clio Sports and Civic Type R's don't handle well, check any review or ask any owner. They go round bends brilliantly, if you put the three cars around any proper track with the same driver, there is no way the Focus would be quicker.
If insurance is a big deal for a young driver, or if you prefer the looks of the Focus, then it may be a better car for you, but from a performance standpoint, it is beaten by the cars mentioned, and they match it on cost of tax and fuel.
Why would the Civic run out of fuel any quicker than the Focus?
That's the main problem with the ST170 is that it's got the same running costs as its competitors, but less performance. It's a good car in every other way, and can be bought for a very reasonable amount now.
It's a shame Ford didn't make it 200BHP. The Civic Type R is simply an awesome car. I've got an ST170 and it's great, but it won't keep up with cars the Type R or the Clio 172/182. I've had terrible reliability problems with french cars, so I refused to consider the Clio (plus I think the spoiler looks stupid).
ST170: It's a car with good torque and good acceleration, but it will be beaten when compared with similar class cars that have turbos.
Build quality (in my opinion) is better than my Mark IV Golf GTI 1.8T 150, and it handles better due to its sporty suspension and big tyres, but it doesn't accelerate as fast..
I never had more confidence in throwing a car into a corner than I have in the ST170, which makes it a real fun drive, and the extra gear is great (which the golf didn't have).
And Ford parts are cheaper than VW.
All in all, I'm pleased with it so far, and for the money (£4000) you get a pretty good deal.
Well I've had 2 ST170s. Now the first was in the Ford dealer more than out. Lots of problems, including handbrake fault, cracked manifold, clutch/flywheel, power steering pump, ABS cutting in far too early, and ESP making it hard to stop; ESP cuts engine power when you need to go! (with sluggish pick up) Ford wouldn't recognise most of these faults.
So I swapped it for another, which seems much better built, and no real problems in the last few years till now.
...the inlet manifold stuck open (I'm not sure what this needs to fix it; any advice?)
...some times the gearbox/clutch seems slow to react, making it hard to select gears for few seconds, mainly changing down 2 second (anyone else had this or know why?)
As to the performance, it was built to compare with lower spec models in 2000. Like the ZR, Fiesta S, Golf mk4 GTI, Skoda, Saxo VTR or S, Civic VTi, Celica T, and a few more.
The ST170 was designed to be a hot all rounder, and it really is as it offers... 5-door, 5-roomy seats, fair sized boot, very little torque steer, it's well balanced, handles really well and smooth ride (not the bone shaking of other sports cars). It's easy to get my nan and kids in to go shopping (not possible in a Civic).
Off the lights the Focus is a little sluggish. I had an XR2i (CVH) before, which was as quick 0-60. Once in second with rev's over 3400, you can feel it wants to go, even uphill, and will match closely even cars above its class.
I've had 135mph out of mine and know it had more to go!
Have also played with few boy racers in Civic Rs, and kept up very well, and on twisty or bumpy roads would have been equal (on a track, no question that many cars would beat the Focus, but then on a track I'd grab the RS and kiss the Civic R bye in my mirrors).
I love the Focus as it's fun and practical,
Check the Top Gear and Fifth Gear lap times, and you'll find the Civic Type R is as fast around tracks as the Focus RS, and at least the Civic doesn't try and throw itself into hedges on normal roads like the RS.
Well I have a Focus ST170, and I can say that I've raced a few high powered cars, and kept up with them.
Oh and my clutch was slipping, but I don't think it's got anything to do with how much power the Focus has, it's how you drive it, and if you can drive well, you will out drive any car.
Some people give up when they get above a certain speed, so I'd say buy a Focus ST170 and drive it to its limit, and see what it can do. I have and I'm pleased with it, and for £2200 for a 52 reg, you can't argue with the power.
"leaves Civic Type R s for dead" - LOL
Even with your minor mods, you'd be lucky to stay with a Civic Type R, let alone beat one. The best you'd get from those mods realistically is 10 bhp, and that's not gonna be enough to thrash a CTR!
Indeed, the Civic Type R has one of those VTEC zones!! They are sooo rapid, and an ST170 doesn't have nothing on it LOL. I had a Type R, and it was superb, but the hype of the VTEC, which is only the variable valve timing, didn't float my boat. I'm sorry, but the performance should be a tad lower down the rev range so you don't have to thrash the nuts off it. Honda certainly know how to make an engine, as I was surprised it didn't blow up having such a high rev range. I went for an ST170, which is a fraction slower, and I had a bit more confidence with it in the corners, and it's much more comfortable. Oh, and it too has a VTEC zone!! LOL. Had my Focus for 6 years now, and it's only had a coolant leak. It all comes down to luck of the draw with any car on how reliable it is. People can spend thousands on a super car, and it can still have reliability problems.
I think there might be a few people on here that have Type R's and got beaten by a 170 :-) One in particular seems to have real hate for the Focus; must be a Civic owner!!
I've had a 1.6 Zetec-S Fiesta in the past (2001 plate) and that wiped the floor with all sorts, Alfas, Audis, BMWs etc, the list goes on. Like one of the previous comments suggested, it is all about whether or not you can drive! If you can't, it won't matter what you buy, you'll still look like a muppet when you get your a*** kicked by someone that can, in a car that's older, cheaper and less powerful!
I say this on the night before I pick up a 3 door ST170. All I can add is that I can't wait... and that I never considered a Civic or a Clio LMAO!!