I thrashed an ST around the auto-x course that Ford put on for their intro events around the country last month and the car isn’t too bad. I don't think I'll be getting rid of either of my SVT Focus for one but it is a nice car that would likely make a great daily driver. As for a track car with no true limited slip and the stability control it felt heavily torque managed going around the cones. While very good I'm almost certain even from those short track drives that my '08+ Cobalt SS would eat it alive on a road course or short auto-x.
If they brought over the ST wagon I could make a personal case to myself for one otherwise I'm holding out to see what the next RS model turns out to be (the Fiesta or Focus) and when we'll (finally) get it. I’m guessing this will be around the time the Dart SRT-4 should be out and possibly GM will get their act together by then and we'll also have a Cruze SS coupe or hatch based around the old Cobalt SS Turbo powertrain and underpinnings. A Focus RS would have me pulling my checkbook out but not this new ST model. Same with a Dart SRT-4 model that’s really quick in the quarter-mile but doesn’t handle. The next SRT-4 needs to be a complete package.
One thing that has become common over the years is for a lot of people on here to compare the quarter-mile times of new cars like the Focus ST to the Neon SRT-4 and then proclaim things like XYZ car sucks because it took so-and-so manufacturer years just to match the numbers of a ten model year old car like the Neon. The Focus ST might very well only put down times close to that of a stock Neon SRT-4 on the same track, same driver, same day conditions but that isn't so bad when you consider the way better chassis, fit and finish, features, safety, handling, etc. and other significant improvements in the Focus along with a starting price that isn’t too much higher than the $21-23k Neon SRT-4s were stickering at in 2005.
Eric H. - '04 Neon SRT-4 (eBlue/S2) - '04 SRT-4 (blk/stock & now sold)
'92 Dodge Daytona IROC R/T --
'91 Dodge Spirit R/T
plus a couple other turbo Dodges, a Cobalt, a couple Focus, big S/C wagon, and some other stuff...