22nd Nov 2005, 03:59

Good review. isn't the st2 slower than the rst?

22nd Nov 2005, 09:01

MG ZS180 is pathetic and slow, does NOT compare to new Golf GTI!

25th Nov 2005, 07:35

How can you compare an MG ZS180 to a Golf GTI? Theres no comparison what so ever, the MG is a Rover in drag and I wouldn't drive it too hard because when it goes wrong were are you going to get it fixed!

As for the Fords engine, they have infact borrowed it from Volvo and tweaked it a bit, this engine has been around way before Ford took over Volvo in 1999.

As for the guy who has just test drove both cars, a very good comment you made, but I think the overall fit and finish and build quality, resale value, and the good looks of the Golf would sway me and remember there is a big tuning market out there for the new Golf GTI if you are interested in this.

29th Nov 2005, 15:20

You can never compare a 4 cylinder engine to a 5 or a 6. They are just hard work. No torque at low revs and lumpy power delivery throughout the rev range. The only Golf worth having is the VR6. Plenty of power + AWD to put it on the road!! The VAG 4 pots are really thirsty as well. 25 mpg out of an unrefined 2 litre is terrible! VW rekon on 35 mpg - in their dreams - you'd only get that if you didn't use the turbo.

9th Dec 2005, 05:45

I recently test drove a Golf GTI. Very impressed with speed and ride/handling, but the sunroof rattled like a pig! Very embarrassing for the salesman. Build and finish not quite as good as I was expecting inside (more hard plastics than the Mark 4). Looked at Focus ST in a showroom and not much difference in interior quality. Haven't driven focus yet, but the general view of the motoring press is that there isn't much between the Focus and the Golf in performance or dynamically. I'm not that bothered about image, at the end of the day it's about personal preference. I found an internet broker selling the Focus £3500 cheaper than list price so I've ordered one! £15350 for a new (not pre-registered) ST2 with metallic paint is pretty good value if you ask me. I still like the Golf in many ways, but the online prices for the Golf aren't as good as the Focus. To sum up, both great cars in their own right, both have their strong points and I would have been happy with either, but the bargain internet price won me over! As for 0-60 figures and the like, do people really believe that tenths of a second differences have any impact in the real world. I think some people read too many magazines! I'm more interested in whether my car is going to bring a big grin to my face when I drive it, not whether it's image is any better or it's 2 or 3 tenths of a second faster to 60. Big deal!

12th Dec 2005, 11:27

Author of the test drive comparison here, and I have just ordered a Focus ST3 in Performance Blue (Electro Orange Metallic is too OTT in my opinion).

I drove both cars again, although I had to use a different VW dealer as the one before had sold their Golf demonstrator!! This second demonstrator was not as impressive. It had a squeak from somewhere around the trim on the B-pillar, and the tailgate was awkward to close. It also didn't sound as sweet as I remember the other one sounding, with an odd intermittent metallic rattle from under the bonnet. Having a relative who almost came to the point of sueing VW over a troublesome mk4 Golf GTI 1.8T, VW's quality reputation didn't do much for me anyway, but this rang alarm bells.

In terms of the drive itself, the Focus again came across as slightly better where it counted. Particularly that steering (I will admit to that being a bit of a fetish of mine, after owning several GTI Peugeots) which is far superior to the Golf's. I was also able to throw both cars around a bit more, and although both impressed (again), the Focus was that bit more engaging and the engine still blew me away in relation to the Golf's powerful, but rather uncharismatic unit.

Anyhow, this time the choice seemed a little easier. The ST3 spec pushes the price up to Golf levels, but everything you'd ever want comes as standard.

I wish Golf GTI owners all the best. They've got a cracking drivers car, and should rightly feel pleased with that. However for me, on the day, the Focus just did the whole "drivers car" bit with a little more excitement and polish.

As an aside, I was interested to note when comparing the last two test drives, it was the Focus that was clearly the better assembled and finished. Not sure if this is Ford progressing, VW slipping, or a bit of both.

3rd Jan 2006, 03:21

I couldn't agree more with the comment from the 21st Dec 2005, I also saw a new Focus ST parked up the other day and honestly thought it was a joke, it looked so cheap and tacky with the exterior silver trim bits and the rear end is worse than the new Megane, I couldn't find one angle which I liked it from. Although the ST may be a good car it's just another Ford which I personally would never buy and would feel embarrassed driving it due to its awful looks. For the people who think image doesn't matter your just kidding yourself, if someone gave you 50k to blow on one brand new car I can guarantee it would be a top of the range Audi/BMW/Porsche, great cars with great images, you wouldn't waste your time with lesser makes. The new GTI is still the cream of the crop and remains the car to beat and for the moaners saying it's only a 4-pot, check out the new R32 which wipes the floor with the opposition although it is not as good looking as the GTI.

5th Jan 2006, 03:14

Comments on 4th Jan, No the 50k example is not irrelevant what so ever, I was simply giving another example of why people are willing to pay more money for a better built, more luxurious car. And I never said I would be embarrassed to drive a car because of the badge, I said I would be embarrassed to drive the car because of it's dreadful looks, if you like it's looks then good for you, but in all honestly the old ST170 is far better looking. Who cares anyway the GTI is the best 'all round package' hot hatch for <20k this has been proved time and time again better look next time to the opposition.

5th Jan 2006, 05:40

The British car market is just about the most image and badge obsessed in the world. Which is why makers like Ford can't win when they produce great value, well sorted drivers cars like the ST, at a bargain price. And why the VW Golf remains a highly aspirational product despite the extremely average (and that's being kind) reliability record of the Mk IV and some build quality niggles.

There's one cold, hard reason to buy a good badge, and it's the same reason you should choose a silver car over a green one; perceived desirability. Compare the projected depreciation of a Golf GTi to something like the new Vauxhall Astra VXR over 3 years, and suddenly that saving on the list price doesn't look like a saving at all.