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Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Acura RSX, Coupe, Hatchback
Mar 16, 2004 (9:01 am)
the electronic throttle lag was described in a test drive by an Edmunds editor in its counter-test against the Mini - defined as "slow to throttle down"; and from Motor Trend 2003 "... a pesky throttle positioner, which kept revs from dropping when the throttle was lifted..."
Realistically, my budget stays firm at $18K. Dropping down to a regular ZX3 is understandable, but probably won't put a grin on my face like the SVT.
The Acura RSX-S owner I talked to said he couldn't hear his high-revving engine while driving... due to his stereo being so loud...
Well, I'm not taking the Si off the list. I am looking forward to finally test-driving the thing... possibly this Friday night... if the SNOW would go away...
#184 of 232 #181 of 183 drat & darn... by silversolara
Mar 17, 2004 (5:45 am)
I don't think VW's problems are solely from the assmbly location. I think it is a design flaw. Audis, which are for most part are assembled in Germany suffer from the same problems as plebian VW's.
I personally would welcome the throttle lag on the dow side and would be more concerned with the throttle lag on the up. I remember test driving then new 99 Jetta, and I stalled out because when I pressed the accelerator the rpms were not there, but I have already started to release the clutch.
Throttle lag on the down is a good thing for slow shifts, makes them smoother, I think.
#185 of 232 A little help
Mar 17, 2004 (8:30 pm)
Trying to decide whether this type of car suits my needs and whether one deal in particular makes sense.
I'm a longtime Honda owner and fan, perfectly willing to overlook the si flaws mentioned in these posts. This would be a second car, used primarily for commuting plus weekly dump runs and the occasional hauling of bulky items. The main family car is a Passat wagon (family defined as my wife and 3 year old daughter and her little brother).
I'm looking at the Si, Scion xB and might consider an SVTF, but am still recovering from a previous experience with an SVT Contour.
I'm pretty sure the Si would be a fine/fun commuter but am less convinced of its utility re. the kids and car seats and cargo room (seats folded). The exact opposite is true of the Scion.
Anyone have experience with children in the Si? How much crap can I fit in the back? Am I being narrow minded about Focus reliability? Should I just grow up and buy a damn mini van or SUV?
Saw an ad for an '03 Si with 207 miles on it for $15,999. Good deal?
All feedback much appreciated. Thanks.
Mar 17, 2004 (10:18 pm)
Long time Honda owner here as well and although I was tempted by the Si I decided that if versatility was the goal then two doors would not fit our needs. Fitting two kids under three in the back seat on a semi regular basis might make the mini van look much more appealing. I remember being distinctly unimpressed with the access to the rear seats in the Si.
Have you looked at the subaru impreza TS wagon? Pretty fair cargo area, reasonable back seat with good access and a hoot to drive. Reasonable price too.
We bought the 5 door SVT. A few thousand miles and no complaints. Actually it is has been fantastic. Ever been carrying a wheelbarrow and bags of mulch and have a kid want to race? As far as reliability, is there a major component that has not been recalled yet? I like to think that Ford has "two putted" the Focus into a rather good car. Then again, maybe that is pride in ownership speaking. Not sure what this means but the vanilla Focus has the same CR quality rating as the Matrix.
Resist the temptation to buy an SUV. I am convinced someday they will be in the same category as leisure suits. Everybody had one, but no one will want to admit it.
Mar 18, 2004 (5:43 am)
I like to think that Ford has "two putted" the Focus into a rather good car. Then again, maybe that is pride in ownership speaking. Not sure what this means but the vanilla Focus has the same CR quality rating as the Matrix.
The latest Consumer Reports has bumped the Focus up into the "recommended" list and says Ford has improved the reliability of the Focus from the previous three(?) years.
Good for them. I always liked the car and would have bought a ZX3 in late 2001 had it not been for the reliability issues with it. Instead I went with the RSX because of the build quality. Both are very fun cars to drive(had a Focus rental while my Explorer was in the shop)...both excellent commuter vehicles.
#188 of 232 Thanks, Sparky
Mar 18, 2004 (9:55 am)
Since the kids would ride in this car pretty infrequently, I'm tying to figure out if I want to deal with the inconvenience. My wife busted me posting the previous message last night and just groaned and walked away, so maybe I have my answer:) but still looking for help rationalizing that part of the equation. I should probably just take one of the kids with me to the dealer and test it out.
We did consider the WRX wagon a couple years ago and my impression was it's a dog at low rpm and hence a poor daily commuter in heavy traffic. Maybe the TS is a different experience altogether and worth considering.
I think you're right that the Focus has wound up being good, but I remain wary of it.
Mar 22, 2004 (8:47 am)
More confusion at Burns Honda when I arrived - I was scheduled for an appointment, but no one was listed to show the car to me. After 10 mins. of watching their staff mill around aimlessly, finally someone condescended to take me for my test drive.
When we got outside, the salesman was very polite but determined that I should hear his whole monologue on the car, ignoring my stamping feet in the cold - ignoring me when I told him that my main criteria were the engine's high revs filling the cabin with noise & whether or not my knees could fit under the steering wheel.
Test Drive: for any late model Si owners out there - where does the clutch engage for you? In my Solara, the clutch engages only a few inches off the floor. In this particular 04 Si, the clutch engaged at twice that distance, at almost a 45 degree angle off of the floor.
I was very embarassed at having the car lurch a couple of times during the drive. All I could think was that I've been driving a stick for 4 years, and I learned how to drive 20 years ago on a manual tranny. So maybe I could learn the new clutch, but compound that with the new position of the shifter on the dash (cool to look at, but execution of the shifting is a vaguely difficult experience). All in all, my left foot/ankle were pretty tired at the end of the drive.
Outside of that: my knees fit well under the steering wheel, the car handled like a true sports car, and at low speeds/revs, the Si is pedestrian. Take the car up to 5K-6K revs, and now the engine is making more masculine sounds, and I couldn't get the grin off of my face.
But at the back of my mind was how I could deal with the noise at a 45 minute commute averaging 75mph. And when I got out of the car, I smelled a dreaded burning odor.
Overall, I am going to test drive another Si before I make my decision - but the main problem is the clutch. If most Si clutches have a high-engagement position, I am leaning towards getting an SVT.
Mar 22, 2004 (11:40 am)
I know what you mean by the high clutch engagement in the Si. My girlfriend has a regular Focus, and yes there is a difference in clutch feel. I think Focus has power assisted clutch, the Si as far as I know is not power assisted hydraulic clutch. Mine starts enagging about half way off the floor. I have always had Honda, so that is normal to me.
Too bad you did not like the shifter position. As soon as I drove it, it became natural. The shifter is right there by the steering wheel, which minimizes the time you are driving one handed. I have to say, I have harder time adjusting to other cars shifter, which feel unnatural after driving Si for a little over a year.
As far as engine noise at 75 mph, it is much quieter than Focus is at 75 mph. I have a 60 mile one way/120 mile daily commute in the Si. Most of the time I am going 70-80 mph and have yet to be bothered by engine noise. The engine is at 3500 RPM at 70, 4000 RPM at 80 mph, which is normal for a small displacement 4 cylinder engine. At low RPM the the engine growls, which is a positive thing to me. Si has a very distinct deep baritone engine growl when floored at lower RPMs.
One of the benefits of the i-VTEC is that you don't have to bring the engine to 5000 RPM to get results. The system monitors the throttle positon, pedal input, gear, and speed. If you were to simply stomp on the gas at 30 mph in 3rd gear, the car will just accelerate without need to downshift.
Ankle pain may be a sign that you need to do more Donkey raises at the gym. (excersise your calfs) Si clutch is not that stiff, I used to drive a 91 VW Jetta with aftermarket clutch, now that was STIFF.
If you like SVT better, then go for it. Si is not for everyone. It seems that there are better deals on SVT right now. And you can get SVT in 5 door, I think
Mar 22, 2004 (9:04 pm)
1. There is no such a thing as a power assisted clutch.
2. The new Focus with the Mazda engines is much quiter than the older versions.
3. Give yourself a favor and test drive the Mazda3 with 2.3L engine before making a decision.
Mar 24, 2004 (10:28 am)
thanks for your posts.
blueiedgod - i didn't drive my manual tranny cars with a shifter on the dash. Comfort being relative, I feel it is only logical that after 20 years of driving my cars, i might need a break-in period for learning the new shifter for the Si. "Deep baritone growl" would be the LAST way i would define the noise the engine makes at 5000 rpms - tenor, maybe, but still not deep.
Regarding the exercise: I had severe ligament damage (3rd degree ankle sprains) to both of my ankles (consecutively, not simultaneously) a decade ago sustained while playing volleyball. After a years of intense rehab, I still live with a loss of 12 inches of vertical leap, and lateral movement to my ankles. I would have to say that if the next 04 Si I test has the same high engagement position for the clutch, I'll sadly have to cross the Si off of my list.
Vadp - thanks for the advice, but if you noted my original query, I want a 2-door hatch. To quote my post from #181: "In case I haven't stressed it yet - I REALLY want a 2-door hatch." Maybe the 3 is sold as a 2-door hatch elsewhere?
A lot of folks have questioned me as to why a 2-door hatch - answer: I don't/won't have any kids, nor will I volunteer to be anyone's taxi.