So, in a category where greatness has been defined by the BMW 3-series coupe, a car that can cost more than $40,000, how on earth does our winner come in, fully loaded, at under the magic twenty-grand barrier?
Funnily enough, the answer comes down to the kind of enthusiasm and love of product that made the 3-series what it is. Talk to the people involved with the Ford Focus program, both here and in Europe, and their love of carsnot marketing, not focus groups, not all that peripheral stuffshines through. Then talk to the guys at SVTthe Special Vehicle Teamand you realize that they are as car-crazy as you are. Actually, they're crazier.
So when SVT Engineering began the program for a more radical, hard-core Focus, it had the benefit of a good starting point. The regular Focus has a magical chassis that becomes even more spectacular with a carefully tuned suspension. Add terrific all-around disc brakes, a six-speed manual, and a 170-horsepower version of the Focus's solid 2.0-liter in-line four, and you've got a small coupe that rocks.
But more than this, the SVT Focus has all the thrills of a tuner car combined with the integrity of one engineered by a manufacturer.
A Mazda MP3 looks good on paper, but it feels like a tuner car. The SVT Focus has all the goodies you would ever want, but it feels as coherent a driver's car as you can find this side of a BMW M3. If you ever felt the need for a set of training wheels, then look no further than the SVT Focus.