1 2
Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/1/16 10:59 a.m.

When the Focus ST was announced for 2012, initially I was mildly interested as I had grown up with FWD hot-hatches, especially those touched by Shelby's team in Whittier among others. I had also been impressed with the Focus SVT from the previous decade.

However at the time, I was more interested in the new Miata as I was finally sick and tired of working on my street cars and not having any time or energy for my project cars. I shopped the NC Miata a bit, drove a few and waited to pull the trigger as we were enjoying being without a car payment. The ND Miata came along and I fell in love instantly and started drooling all over the Mazda website, hoping to get more info on how to order one, etc.

Then on Halloween of 2015 my wife and I found out she was pregnant with our first child. Needless to say, the Miata was not going to work as a family car. This led me to the Focus ST initially as my co-worker had one and he seemed to enjoy it. Fiat/Chrysler had absolutely nothing close to the proper size that was as fun to drive (I'd love an Abarth and I like the Dart styling, yet there is no Dart SRT or similar) and aside from the Volt there wasn't really anything on the GM side that I was as interested in. After years of dabbling in vehicles from ze Germans, I had soured on their particular brand of masochism, so that counted out the MINI among others. Mazda in its infinite wisdom had dropped the MazdaSpeed line, so while the new 3 was fun to drive and very pretty, it was lacking a bit in the performance department.

Then Ford announced the RS for 2016. A real, honest to goodness Euro-RS coming to the US! January of 2016 I visited the local autoshow and they had an RS on display. I knew that was what I wanted. In February I visited a local dealer to place my order and I began my wait.

At the time, the dealer indicated it would only be a few months for the car to arrive. That turned into 9 months of waiting. 2 of those months, the car sat in Belgium waiting to be trucked to the shipping port so it could make the journey across the ocean to New York. Yeah, I was unhappy at losing an entire summer's worth of driving and by the time the car arrived, our daughter was 4 months old.

Fast forward to October 26th, 2016 and we arrive at the dealership to check it out:

After a brief test drive and much waiting at the dealership to get the financing sorted (I had a pre-approval from our Credit Union) I took it home and put a total of 15 miles on it.

As of Halloween evening, I had only put 110 miles on it and it still feels like I'm driving someone else's car they loaned me. I had driven older cars my entire life, so I've never had a new car.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/1/16 11:12 a.m.

To help it feel like more MY car and to make some subtle improvements, I bought a couple of items from a great vendor on the FocusRS.org called Your Little CNC Shop:

The top part is an improved rear license plate bracket, since the original plastic piece tended to flex and allow the plate screws to hit the paint and damage it. This bracket is stronger and more resistant to flexing and you'll get less rattling of the plate when you close the trunk.

The second is a throttle pedal spacer to help improve heel/toe as the stock throttle pedal sits a bit low. Proper seating position helps a bit, but it just needs about 3/8" to be just about perfect.

I'll paint these to avoid corrosion and to help them blend in a bit, but they are so pretty right now that I couldn't resist sharing :)

Pics later after I paint and install them.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy Dork
11/6/16 8:45 p.m.

Congrats! Heck of a car.

nepa03focus
nepa03focus Dork
11/6/16 10:10 p.m.

Beautiful, I saw my first rs last week. I liked it, i liked it a lot. Those parts look pretty too.

DocV
DocV New Reader
11/7/16 7:33 a.m.

That car looks great. I really like the white. Ford seems like it's firing on all cylinders these days -- multiple forms of awesomeness offered to the US, and I am glad they saw fit to bring AWD turbo.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
11/7/16 7:53 a.m.

You'll be going with a Recaro, right?

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/7/16 8:07 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve:

Heh, that would be nice. We'all see what happens when we need to switch to a forward facing seat.

I suspect the wife will roll her eyes and then we'll buy the one she says we should :)

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/7/16 8:13 a.m.

In reply to DocV:

Yeah, I initially wanted the blue because it's bloody awesome, but it's also extra money and I'd be worried about it getting chipped in a DD. So white it was! Luckily most of our other cars are white, so our neighbors probably think we're a bit more weird now. :)

It seems that Ford is where Chrysler was in the eighties with a decent range of vehicles and some great halo options.

I'm not sure what happened to Mazda, but they missed the boat by dropping the MS3/MS6 and not updating them to compete.

Chrysler is so out to lunch that it's pathetic. GM looks to be trying, but they're not sure where they are on the map and will likely find a way to screw it up.

The0retical
The0retical Dork
11/7/16 12:56 p.m.
pinchvalve wrote: You'll be going with a Recaro, right?

I've got that booster and an actual car seat (Performance Ride). The weight rating for the car set ran something like 5lbs to 70lbs so there's not much of a concern of them outgrowing it quickly which was one of the selling points.

I just bought the booster because its less cumbersome than the full blown car set for my two year old and I need the car seat for incoming child number two.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/18/16 7:35 p.m.

First "mods" installed:

Nothing fancy, just a few bits to help the car standout a bit.

I also installed the pedal spacer which wasn't too bad, other than working in the footwell which isn't much fun no matter what car you're working on.

I'll give it a try tomorrow when I go for a longer drive than simply moving the car out of the garage.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
11/18/16 7:45 p.m.

Awesome car! Love the white on it. Looks very star wars

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/18/16 10:30 p.m.

In reply to Fitzauto:

Thanks! Heh, I picked up a Millenium Falcon sticker for it, but I think I maight save that for the 924 and find something else for this.

I do wonder where to put the GRM Dork sticker on it, I haven't figured out where it would work yet.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce UltimaDork
11/19/16 6:17 a.m.

If it will fit I'd throw the sticker on the rear quarter glass. Fantastic car BTW.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
11/19/16 4:55 p.m.

Looks vaguely familiar.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/19/16 10:57 p.m.

In reply to jstein77:

Yeah, just a little :)

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
11/19/16 10:59 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: If it will fit I'd throw the sticker on the rear quarter glass. Fantastic car BTW.

That's what I was thinking, since the rear hatch is pretty curved and tiny so there's not a lot of good real estate there, unlike on my 924

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/7/17 12:54 p.m.

Roadtrip!

Took the family down Highway 101 from Newport, Oregon to Klamath, California to take in the sights and visit some redwoods.

The FoRS did great though some sections of 101 were really rough and eventually I hit a nasty seam at 35mph that was marked 45mph and destroyed a sidewall. It was like hitting a parking block. Luckily no issues with the alignment or the wheels, just the sidewall:

This happened somewhere between Gold Beach and Crescent City on our way to Klamath where we stayed overnight. It held air and didn't feel at all different and I only noticed it the next morning when I was loading the car to head North again. I drove it about 20 miles to Les Schwab Tires in Crescent City and it was there that it finally went flat.

$395 for a new tire overnighted to the Les Schwab Tire Center in Crescent City, California, plus $100 for a 2-day car rental from a local rental place and the vacation continued without much hassle and allowed for more time spent in the Redwoods, especially the Trees of Mystery.

Rental Sonata, aka a bucket of warm wallpaper paste: Trees of Mystery:

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/7/17 2:06 p.m.

Bummer about the tire, but it looks like you had fun anyway.

How are you finding it as a "family car"? I bought an ST for that purpose, and unfortunately our infant seat only fits in the middle of the back seat - which is a huge pain.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/7/17 2:19 p.m.

In reply to cmcgregor:

Since the seats in the RS are the exact same as the ST Recaros, I'm surprised you're having issues, but then the wife and I aren't terribly tall people so we don't move the front seats too far back compared to some.

When the baby seat is on my side, its a little tight, but it works fine. There's more room on the wife's side, but that requires walking all the way around the car to put the kid in. Of course, the baby seat is technically safest in the middle seat, but I can imagine it isn't as convenient to put/out in that position.

The biggest issue I've had was simply fitting the damned stroller in the trunk, it just barely fits and there's not much room for groceries, etc. since you have to put it in and take it out when moving from store to store.

On the road trip, I moved kiddo to the passenger side and dropped the seat back behind me so I could fit the pack and play along with the stroller and everyone's duffle bags, diapers, baby food, parental snacks, camera bag, breast pump bag, extra coats and boots. It was very packed. Annoyingly the Sonata sedan swallowed all of that without dropping the rear seat, so we had a place to change the kid that wasn't essentially a cold portapotty at a State Park wayside.

Of course we didn't use the stroller once on the trip since kiddo spent so much time in the car seat she wanted out whenever we stopped. Oh well, eventually we can move to a umbrella stroller for the quick trips.

I should note that we usually use the wife's Highlander for trips to Costco or if we need to carry more than ourselves, but its getting higher in mileage so we are trying to leverage my car when possible (plus I enjoy driving it much more)

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/7/17 2:25 p.m.

Yeah, the stroller in the trunk is another big annoyance. The wife and I are not super tall, the bigger issue may be that the seat we have is not super small. It's amazing how much easier cramming everything into my wife's Fit is, despite the Fit being a smaller car.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/7/17 2:52 p.m.

Something about the location of the seats and how long the nose is in comparison to the rest of the car.

Hilariously, I had a Fiesta as a loaner while the dealer had my car and I couldn't fit the stroller in the trunk at all and had to drop the back seat. It was an absolute joke.

If I could get the ST in a Wagon with AWD, it would be pretty close to perfect to what I'm looking for. Unfortunately, to get that sort of fun utility, I have to look at SUVs/Crossovers (thanks but no thanks) or Subaru (again, no, just not my thing, I don't like the way the boxer 4's sound and their reliability has been all over the place) or go to ze Germans (RUNAWAY!) or work really, really hard to swing CTS-V wagon.

cmcgregor
cmcgregor Dork
3/7/17 2:54 p.m.
Stefan wrote: Something about the location of the seats and how long the nose is in comparison to the rest of the car. Hilariously, I had a Fiesta as a loaner while the dealer had my car and I couldn't fit the stroller in the trunk at all and had to drop the back seat. It was an absolute joke. If I could get the ST in a Wagon with AWD, it would be pretty close to perfect to what I'm looking for. Unfortunately, to get that sort of fun utility, I have to look at SUVs/Crossovers (thanks but no thanks) or Subaru (again, no, just not my thing, I don't like the way the boxer 4's sound and their reliability has been all over the place) or go to ze Germans (RUNAWAY!) or work really, really hard to swing CTS-V wagon.

Yep. I have the EXACT SAME dilemma. Funny that we both ended up with almost the same solution, haha.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/7/17 2:59 p.m.

I should add that it averaged 23.7mpg over the 788 mile trip and never once complained, even after the tire committed suicide.

Now its nearly time to for its first oil change!

Ran into a couple of its brethren when we stopped for our anniversary lunch at a Hawaiian place in Crescent City:

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
3/7/17 3:24 p.m.
cmcgregor wrote:
Stefan wrote: Something about the location of the seats and how long the nose is in comparison to the rest of the car. Hilariously, I had a Fiesta as a loaner while the dealer had my car and I couldn't fit the stroller in the trunk at all and had to drop the back seat. It was an absolute joke. If I could get the ST in a Wagon with AWD, it would be pretty close to perfect to what I'm looking for. Unfortunately, to get that sort of fun utility, I have to look at SUVs/Crossovers (thanks but no thanks) or Subaru (again, no, just not my thing, I don't like the way the boxer 4's sound and their reliability has been all over the place) or go to ze Germans (RUNAWAY!) or work really, really hard to swing CTS-V wagon.

Yep. I have the EXACT SAME dilemma. Funny that we both ended up with almost the same solution, haha.

Well, I was just about to pull the trigger on a new Miata as I needed a newer car that I didn't need to work on. Since I work from home more often then not, it didn't need to be anything large or fancy. As I was waiting for the non-launch versions to become available, the wife announced that she was pregnant. So that was that for Dad's (New) Miata, luckily Grandpa has an NB, so I can live viariously through him for the time being :)

Of course, if I had known how much of a PITA the RS ordering and delivery nonsense was going to be, I'd have just bought a slightly used Mazda 5 and spent the extra money on my project car for the track. Oh well. Life goes on.

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
3/8/17 3:01 p.m.

I was pretty lucky with mine, taking delivery only 4 months after placing the order. That sounds crazy, but most RS owners had to wait a lot longer than that.

1 2
Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
k9xBH2iOpxxg30Vx2VtcLCddinIAO6Nj