Yes hard as it is to believe in my "Zetec is the best Focus in the World" attitude I actually gave an ST170 a damned good hiding today at work. I have never driven one in 4 months of being there, just a lazy test drive about 12 months ago when they first came out after I had bought my Zetec and fallen in love already.
This thing has been sitting on the dealership lot for months, the tyres were plain greasy after being blacked most days for 2 months straight and wearing off and being re-blacked (tyre black) to make them look good.. took a Sri Lankan bloke who's an Airline Captain on a test drive, thinking of importing the car into Sri Lanka from buying it here. He told me to drive him, he didn't need to drive
so I did just that. Launched it hard, blew out some cobwebs and got it purring nicely after a few corners, but the first corner launched into in 2nd gear and feeling the arse end slip right out from under me because of the greasy tyres then whacking on full oppy lock and powering out... well I guess powering isn't a term I could apply to the ST170... I'm so used to 2nd being my corner exit gear, the response below 4000rpm in 2nd is virtually non existant compared to what I'm used to. So i adjusted my driving style and changed into 1st for the tight roundabouts and corner exits and MAN was it fun!!!!! That thing goes like the clappers, but agreed it just doesn't feel fast enough, although it runs rings around anything I've ever driven handling wise. Lincoln's assessment of the handling is spot on, it just feels stunning and is so amazingly easy to control well beyond it's limit, sensational stuff. The Zetec can get a bit of a handful simply because it hasn't got the power to overcome it's grip (or lack thereof when out of control) and thus when you go bananas in the car, there isn't enough power to return things to normal as quickly as the ST. Basicall the ST is a scream to be a dickhead in but also handles like a dream.
It would take some getting used to, living with an ST that is. My Zetec feels like it charges harder in a straight line and probably does coz it's run in, but the ST definitely outhandles it. I hate the seats (too hard and built for fat bastards not skinny blokes like me) and the turning circle is positively disgusting but to be expected, I though the Zetec was shabby... I guess it just pales in comparson the the XR6 I've driven the last 48 hours!!
In brief, I'd only own an ST170 on 2 conditions.
1) Put on a new exhaust and intaketo give it some low down guts
2) put on 20kg oin the arse and hips to fit into the seat better
Until then I'm over the moon with my Zetec and it does everything I need. As long as it's keeping up with Linc's ST I'm happy too!!!
2002 Ford Focus Zetec - Machine Silver - 3 door
2 1/4 inch Cat-Back Exhaust, 40mm KW Lowering Springs, K&N Panel Filter, ST170 Indicators, Zetec Floor Mats, Darkest Legal Tint, Genuine 15 Rear Wheel kW FPV Sticker
European Ford Owners Club - Southern Region President