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Mr Know-It-All
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...and why?

I've been here a loooong time - probably the longest of any member who doesn't own a Focus and I'm certainly the only Mod or Admin without one. Kind of silly, huh??


Anyway - that all might change this month, and now comes the debate. I had originally ordered a ZX3 in 2001 - then heard the SVT was on it's way and decided to wait. About the time that the SVT was released, things at my job got shaky and I didn't want to be strapped to a car payment if I got layed off - which ended up happening late last year. I had also caught wind of the now still-born Competition Package which was very appealing to me - shame they didn't build that as there would be no question in my mind what to buy. I have had my new job for a while and it's as stable as any job can be in the IT field I guess, so I've begun thinking of finally making that car purchase again even though I'm not really in love with anything that is out at the moment. It's promted mostly by problems I'm having with my current car which was supposed to last till I made up my mind.

I would be sold on the regular SVT, but if you've bothered reading through that forum lately, the car has had a lot of teething problems. I hear that some have been remedied, although not completely, and some of them seem to border on being major problems. Sure, there's the warranty and you can have problems with any car, but I'm still unsure whether I want to go down that road. On top of that, they have elimated the blue seating surfaces mid-year and I could never live with the red every day. The solution to that is to get the Euro Pkg, but even though it looks outstanding - it's loaded with every single SVT option including the dreaded, undefeatable traction control. If I could just get the seats, wheels, and HID's the Euro Pkg would be perfect; but with everything they have added on, it all adds up to extra cost and weight I just don't need or want. To be honest, I wasn't even considering the SVT because of the price increase they made for '03 until they announced the incentives this week. Now it seems somewhat logical. I think I would have to find a car with the blue seats somewhere for that to happen though.

What I was considering prior to these renewed SVT thoughts was just getting a new PZEV ZX3 and driving that for a while. It's not exactly what I want, but it will be more reliable than the nagging problems I've been having with my current ride. Additionally, it would be cheap enough to allow me to explore having a second "fun" car like a used Miata, MR2 Spyder, or possibly my current realistic dream car - the Porsche 968. Anyway, those are just some thoughts for the future - they may change, so don't give them too much weight in your decision.

My biggest question is how many would still choose the SVT over the PZEV. I know the potential of the PZEV is very high with mods, but I probably wouldn't mod either the PZEV or the SVT, so it would be a "take it as is" approach. With the PZEV, you lose the great brakes, a bit of the handling precision, the perfect look IMO of the SVT body changes, and several other little things I find appealing on the SVT. You do get an excellent engine that seems to make good power, you get a more reliable package in the engine and transmission department, by all accounts that I have read, the rest of the '03s are quite reliable now, and I'm certain that insurance would be cheap. I'm not a domestic guy by nature so I've always been hesitant of actually purchasing a Ford.

Other things I've considered are the Cooper S - my favorite car of all actually - but I'm having problems getting past the Chrysler engine they have used and have no desire to pay a markup. I could also get an EVO. Two of my friends have them and they are amazing cars, but I don't think they make great daily drivers, and honestly I wouldn't want to spend that much on one vehicle. I'm not very serious about that though so I'd rather not see 25 "Dude, get an EVO, they rock!" replies. For the record, I really don't like anything else on the market right now as sad as that sounds. Cars that don't do it for me are the WRX, SRT4, Z, GTI or R32, Civic SI, MS Protege, SE-R and countless others. I'd consider an RSX Type-S, but even that car disappoints me since they offer the much improved Type-R version in other areas of the world.

I'm really most serious about this SVT -vs- PZEV decision, so if you guys could address what you see as the pro's and con's if it was your decision, I'd really appreciate it. Sorry for such a long post, but I was trying to cover all the variables that are spinning in my head.

Thanks in advance!

>8^)
ER
 

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I like the SVT. I just drift to that car, it looks hot, handles great. I considered the pzev to, but they are going to offer the regular 2.3 so that took me out of getting a pzev and waiting. Then the nice deals on the focus applied to the SVT also, and thats another reason im on the SVT now. But i actually like some of the other cars you dont more than the focus. The se-r has always been close to my heart ever since the classic days.
 

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Faster than a Cobra
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I've been here a loooong time - probably the longest of any member who doesn't own a Focus and I'm certainly the only Mod or Admin without one. Kind of silly, huh??


>8^)
ER
AHHHHEM! ONLY Mod without one?
And I got you beat on the membership length too.


Anyways.....as for me, I would still chose the SVT, but I have different priorities than you as well. For one, I don't have to have an ultra fast car so the performance potential of the PZEV is not a factor to me. I have been driving an automatic Dodge Neon for 5 years now, so just about anything else will feel a LOT faster to me. The SVT will be more than fast enough for its main use, a daily driver with some autocross action on the weekends. I don't speed on the highway or street race and have no intention to. If I wanted a car fast enough to beat every other car on the road, then maybe buying a stripper PZEV and modding the heck out of it would be the way to go.

Another thing is that once I get my new car, I won't have a lot of extra cash to spend on tons of mods on a regular basis. The SVT has every option I want on a car, and I don't have to add anything later. Of course, I still will change things along the way, but at least until I do I know I will be perfectly happy with the way the car is instead of hoping and wishing for that next mod to make the car closer to what I really wanted to begin with.

After driving a cheap car for 5 years, I am ready for a loaded, sporty hatchback and not a stripper hatchback. I'll deal with the SVT problems if they arrise, but by the time I get my car, the 04 models should be pretty reliable (I HOPE!).

I hope my take on the situation helps you think through yours.
 

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i bet the insurance on the reg. focus would be cheaper if that matters. but id bite the ins. bullet and get the SVT...
 

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SVT.... so long as it carries the same 100K warranty.... and it is SVT so you get the loaner cars! You'll be out ahead if you're not gonna mod!
 

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I think everyone in the market for a compact car goes over all the things you have. If you're going to buy a car, the factors should include these:

1) Why? for speed, for looks, covenience, going to work?
2) Do you have (or are you willing to buy) another car that fills these other spots?

Some of your cars that "dont work for you" suprise me (GTI, WRX). I would say, if money is not an option, go with the SVT if you can live with the small idiosyncracies. If you're going to get another car for a toy, do the PZEV. 145 stock hp isnt too bad and you're going to have a lot more freedom with your options on it. Throw in a decent factory warranty... you're in there like swim-wear.

Maybe I'm biased, I didnt want to drop the cash on an SVT...
hope it helps
 

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Well.. I have the 100k warranty on my SVT, even tho I also mod it (Didnt think about it at the time) I would definately choose the SVT if you are looking at a second car for "fun" as a trackmobile or something.

Pick up a 2002 with the blue seats. Allan FJ handle slidemaster might be able to help you find one and he is with Barber Ford in Ventura.


Of all the teething problems I have had like none.
The audiophile system had to be swapped out once at the very beginning but besides that perfect.

(I did go in for a warranty thing to get an ECU update but mainly just to get them to do it)
 

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Faster than a Cobra
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Some of your cars that "dont work for you" suprise me (GTI, WRX). I would say, if money is not an option, go with the SVT if you can live with the small idiosyncracies. If you're going to get another car for a toy, do the PZEV.
Actually, that's not too surprising. If I had $30,000 cash to lay down on any car right now, I would still buy a Focus over a WRX, GTI, Evo, Sti, or anything else. The style, handling, practicality, and value of the car appeals to me. Those other cars don't have those same attributes in my eyes. Maybe the same things appeal to Peloton as well?

I also know of a Sonic Blue SVT at a dealership just outside Dallas that has the blue inserts. Of course it also has sunroof and audiophile.
 

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Mr Know-It-All
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so far - this is exactly the kind of input I'm looking for.

Ataru - for some reason, I thought you bought a sedan?? And you've only got me by 2 weeks on the membership and I was lurking here a while before I signed up...


= = = = =

Just to clarify some of my dislikes - the SE-R from a drivetrain standpoint feels more like a truck to me then a sports car. The GTI is nice - I saw a 20th AE the other day and I was really impressed by how it looks - but my friend owned a 337 which is basically the same car and it really wasn't much fun to drive. I would actually prefer the VR6 over the 1.8T - a good normally aspirated engine is almost always more appealing to me. I rule out the current GTI mostly for it's mushy suspension and the fact that it's very near a major redesign. The look of the new WRX is not appealing to me - I actually prefer the bug-eyed version, but I'm not a sedan guy, and I really don't want to "join the WRX club" so to speak. Even though the EVO is essentially the same thing, it is a much better overall drivers car on so many levels that it's hard to ignore, but again, I don't feel it makes for a great daily driver and I don't want to spend that much for just one car.

I believe I could be quite happy with the PZEV even in its stock form. In the past three years, I've managed to rent 5 ZX3s for various lengths of time and am always amazed by the composure and 'fun factor' they have even when bone stock and saddled with an automatic trans. My car will most definitely be a manual though. I would prefer a little more performance - a car I could take to a track day and have lots of fun. I've already done that one time with a borrowed SVT and was really impressed - even more so than any ZX3 I had previously driven.

The SVT is definitely a notch higher in most respects except for what I perceive to be some nagging reliability problems. The point of the loaner car is a good one that I wasn't factoring in. I also feel that if I could get a PZEV for ~$14,500 and an SVT for ~$16,500 (using X-Plan and their incentives) that the SVT is still the better bargain based on what I really want. Who knows - I haven't actually sat down to run the numbers at a dealership, so maybe the cars could be had even cheaper than that. The PZEV I'd be interested in wouldn't be loaded, but I'd want standard ammenities like you find on the SVT.

I'm still left with a lot of questions, but I appreciate any input. Thanks for the tip on the Barber Ford guy too. I've had bad luck at Kemp, Vista and Galpin so it would be nice to deal with someone who probably knows how we expect to be treated. It's hard to beat Galpin's inventory though.

>8^)
ER
 

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Small Car Czar
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E,

If your not going to touch the car, then I would pick the SVT hands down. It's a damn fine car right out of the box. With the current incentives it's a great value...you also could do something about the red seats without too much trouble, although I like mine fine.


Another choice I don't think that was mentioned...wait until November/December for a Mazda3. You will basically have the PZEV engine and the C1 Focus chassis...what is bound to be a great combo. I may be doing the same thing, although the EVO is still calling my name.
 

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I agree with the majority. If you're not going to be modding the car then I'd go the SVT route no question.

One thing with SVT HQ is that there are 100 or so members that participate on a regular basis. Most of the time it's to complain about a problem or issue they are having. There are people like myself that don't have any issue with their car (although I've got low miliage). The only real concern I have with my SVT is the tranny (long term). Unfortunatly, I'm one of the 02 owners that got screwed with a 3yr/36000 mile warrenty
but with the 100,000 I wouldn't be worried (yes, I'm bitter
). The minor issues; stumbling, squeaky seats etc. don't bother me. Plus, rumor has it that SVT is working on getting the ECU calibration worked out to get rid of the issues it has.

If I were to go back in time and do it all over again? If I was still living at home without responsibilities then I'd go with the PZEV. Reason being, I'd have the extra cash floating around to mod the hell out of it and get it to SVT caliber or better. If I was in the situation I am in now (with a house and such) then I'd go with the SVT because there isn't anything that it needs. Like Ron said, it's great out of the box.

Hope that helps...
 

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Long time no see Erik,

Good to hear things are finally going well at work. I'm sort of in the same situation as you are right now. Ford may offer to buy my SVT back due to it being in for service 104+ days in its first year. So now i have to make a decision on what to do. They may offer me a 2003 SVT or i can take the money and get something else. Pretty much the only other car i've though of is the Mini S. So far i haven't heard any problems from Mini owners about the engine. If you check out Mini2.com there are almost no complaints. A very small group of owners have had some stumbling issues but its only about 5% of owners compared to the 80-90% of SVT owners having problems with stumbling and worse.

Trust me i hate having to leave the SVT. Its a great car and loads of fun, but i can't risk getting a 2003 and having all the same problems happen again. I would feel like a huge fool. Plus, on top of all that i checked and the insurance on the 03 SVT's has gone up and the Mini S's have been MUCH cheaper than the SVT and will be even cheaper in 03-04'.

Then there is the other problem. If i want to order a Mini S the way i want it i have to wait till Late Nov. to recieve it because thats as fast as they can produce them to reach demand. Well if Ford buys my SVT back before that (very likely) i need a car till Nov. so i might get a wrecked Zx3 and rebuild it as a temp daily then turn it into a track car
.

I agree with everybody that if you want a great daily driver that you won't mod then get the SVT. But at the same time i think the PZEV's only short fall would be the brakes which i would really miss out of the SVT. I know you don't want to mod but think of this, a PZEV with an SVT brake swap, FK coils, and SVT front bumper and Euro Rear. Thats it and you'll have one HELL of a daily driver. Good Luck in ur decision, i know you'll make the right one.
 

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Erik,
I would recommend getting the SVTF since it already has a lot of extras right out of the box that the PZEV XZ3 is missing.Aside from the better handling,braking and performance the SVTF comes with a loaner car option,free car wash and vacuum,a free year membership to SVTOA with monthly get togethers of the SVT owners in your area,the SVT Enthusiast magazine subscription,auto related discounts,Team Ford Racing membership and certificate, and a SVT build certificate for your specific car at the end of the model year.Best thing to do though is test drive both and see which you will be happy with.
 

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Erik, After driving mine for almost 20k miles, I'd still recommend the SVTF hands down. Maybe I just got lucky, but the only issue has been a cat heat shield rattle fixed long ago.

My driving is mostly daily driver - stop&go, highway, and back-road twisty blasts when I tire of the direct route. No matter, I still look forward to the daily grind commute with this car. That's something that cannot be said for any other car I've owned, stock, modified, or over-modified...

The 2.3ZX3, while still a nice car, would have me missing everything I love about the SVTF: super brakes, well-sorted suspension, the 6-speed... yes, I admit it, I like the 6-speed... marketing gimmick or not. There's always a gear for any situation, except maybe a 1/4 mile launch
But you have posted your "it's not about the 1/4 mile" picture enough that I assume that's not a problem.

Good luck whatever you decide.
_________________________________
2002 Black SVTF #328
 

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SVT all the way. No disrespect to the PZEV. It's the car I would buy if I was looking to save cash. But, if it's only a diffrence of 3 grand, the decision is a no brainer.
For the money, you will be happy.
And let me agree with J-Rod. I have a very early production SVTF and my only problem was the DSI cable and since the fix, no one that I know has had it happen again.
My only other concern is parts availability and pricing down the road. Right now they are always on back order. What will it be like in 4-5 years when they more than likely won't even be making the parts anymore.
The PZEV is the premiere engine for Ford and the rest of the Focus is standard stuff that you can pull from any one of them. That package is proven and most people go through life with there Focus and have little to no problems.
Again SVT should have it fixed by now, but if you want to think for the long term, look harder at the PZEV before your done.
 

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Can I comment? I love the way the SVT Focus looks. All the little things about it just put it apart from the crowd....even the Focus crowd. And performance is probably awesome too but I'd love to have a PZEV because of the performance advantage. And I don't mean it being so restrictive and putting on a CAI gets you 8 whp. I mean it probably feels nice and smooth. Probably close to a small v6. And adding something like a Focussport CAI and getting the gains you'd get without actually voiding your warranty (depending on the dealer) you'd probably be totally content with the power. And handling will probably be just as good as a ZX3. And they're probably reliable. So I'd say SVT to stand apart from the crowd and have a cool ass car with good power or get teh PZEV for comfort and potential in the future.
 

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Hey Peleton25.

I really thought you had a Focus. Anyhow, ultimately, it is a personal decision. As you may know, in the Spring, the Focus 'may' undergo a facelift and other mechanical upgrades, so things are always changing and improving or getting worse. I hope not worse, but people have said that they do not like some of the "deconting" of the focus.

I like the Mazda3 idea for you. THat would be a sweet car. However, a good deal on a MY03 is definitely available for the Focus.

I am a bit concerned about the number of messages regarding the transmission of the SVT. Warranty or no, it is a pain to have your car not operating correctly because of an issue with the transmission.

In spite of this reservation about the transmission, I think I would go for the SVT base which is a sweet deal and a tastefully different car for about 16K. I think you were very wise to let things settle out for a few years before buying a Focus. If possible, if you do go the SVT route, try to get the manufacturing month/year and try to get one that was made in the Spring 03 or later. THe more months Ford has under their belt making the Focus in North America, the better.

Pros SVT over PZEV ZX3:

1.Brakes (to get all 4 discs for a zx3, you must buy advancetrac..which is 1200 bucks....not too mention SVT brakes are just plain better)
2.Handling package
3.Looks a bit different and very tasteful
4.Warranty/treatment by dealer

I see very little reason to buy a base zx3 pzev over a SVT. SVT is a great deal and very sporty. Only if you had to have a automatic transmission is the only thing I could think of. It is well worth the premium price (not that much either!).

Good Luck

zedex
 

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For a no mod daily driver I would go with the SVT now that they are offering 0% financing and some pretty good incentives.. Go for it... especially for the huge warrenty...
Can't beat the setup and power... if you ever decide on more then add the jackson etc etc and your stylin...
Have you considered and SRT-4. You mentioned driving a neon now.. why not grab the pinnacle of neons??
 

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I think the consensus has it. For a car that won't see any modding, the SVT is darn nice. And a great package out of the box.

Knowing what I know now, I would have waited for the PZEV, but that is because I am trying to mod the living crud out of my car


I mean having the MTX75 tranny with all the existing mods as well as a larger displacement and lighter block really adds up to some nice possibilities. But I do love the way the SVT looks. I think the body is "almost" perfect. The RS body would be the benchmark


Good Luck!
 
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