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WRX vs Focus ST vs Golf GTI vs Opel Astra (ENGlISH)

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t can be hard to approach a new car without preconceptions. Car makers can go to great lengths to give a new model its own identity, but heritage is hard to shrug off. The term 'Fast Ford' trips off the tongue almost as easily as 'hot hatch', and with cars such as the Escort Cosworth and Focus RS still fairly fresh in the memory, the Focus ST has plenty to live up to.
One glance at the feisty-looking Focus ST, and more preconceptions take hold. This, surely, will be an in-your-face car to drive, all edgy and aggressive. After all, lashed onto the standard, rather humdrum Focus bodywork are plenty of spoilers and side-skirts, and with the whole lot blown over in lurid orange paint, the ST looks arresting.

Ford hasn't exactly created a silk purse from a sow's ear, but it has transformed the Focus into something you'd be prepared to put your money into.
Jump in and the dashboard confronts you with a row of gauges, including turbo boost and oil pressure. You sit in figure-hugging Recaro seats, part-trimmed in orange cloth to match the paint job. Subtle it ain't.

Time to start the engine.
There's something a bit rorty, a bit interesting about the noise on start-up. It's definitely a hot hatch sound, but it's not the four-cylinder thrash you were expecting. Drop the clutch and it becomes clear: under the bonnet is a turbocharged five-cylinder.

It develops 222bhp and 236lb ft of torque, making it the third most powerful car here, ahead of the Golf. The Focus ST immediately comes across as a very solid-feeling car: not twitchy, not highly strung, not temperamental. Not what you predicted.
But forget what you thought you wanted: the ST, for all its unusual mannerisms, is fantastic. The engine is a honey: refined at low speeds, emitting a sophisticated thrum that makes it a lot of fun to hold on to gears. It feels muscly and has plenty of low-down torque, but only starts to pull hard if you keep your foot down beyond 4,500rpm.

By then the turbo is in full cry and the bright orange Ford becomes a citrus missile; but the ST's engine never makes you feel like a lout.
Don't imagine, however, that the ST is all mouth and no trousers. On a twisty country road only the Impreza will skip away from it. While the Astra VXR is spinning away its power and scaring its driver, the ST is accelerating effortlessly with only the merest tug of torque-steer to remind you it's the front wheels that deliver power to the road.

The Golf GTI is left trailing too, but only too, but only because the Focus is more powerful. There's little between them in terms of handling, but if anything the Focus rolls a little more and the brakes don't respond quite as keenly. Its steering also feels marginally less sharp than the GTI's, but is more involving.
Back on the beaten track, the ST is perfectly amenable around town and on the motorway. There's nothing offensive about its ride, and refinement is good. Yet all the while, you've got the wonderful engine note and vibrant interior to remind you you're in a hot hatch. Or rather, a Fast Ford. The Focus ST can indeed live up to that heritage, but it's not like any of the famous models from the past. It has its own identity.

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GOLF GTI

If you jump into the Golf first thing in the morning and head into town, it may strike you that the GTI doesn't feel like a hot hatch at all. It's as docile as the family Labrador. It will pad its way comfortably over poor urban roads, you'll have no trouble with the light and easy clutch and gearchange, and there's no exhaust note to speak of.

It's very Golf, but not very GTI. Under these conditions, it's hard to believe you're in a car that could compete with less compromising machines like the Focus ST and Astra VXR.
Whether the Golf GTI's restrained and refined low-speed and motorway manners appeal to buyers is a matter of taste. For some, they will be the key to the car's all-round, everyday appeal, but others may find that the GTI is too similar in feel to the bread-and-butter Golf. Whip some speed up, though, and the Golf GTI morphs into something far more exciting.


With only 197bhp under the bonnet, the Golf is the least powerful car here, but there's more to speed than simple horsepower. Not only did the Golf post a competitive 6.7-second 0-60mph time at the test track, but the GTI's handling is so accomplished that it will comfortably hold its own over cross-country roads. For a start, you can exploit every bit of that 197bhp because the chassis can handle it. There's very little torque steer; the engine's power delivery is unusually linear for a turbocharged unit, so there's no sudden surge to throw the front wheels off line.


It's easy to judge steering inputs, since the electrically assisted system is very progressive and well weighted, although you have to learn to trust the steering to some extent as there's too little feedback through the wheel. Only the Impreza feels more alert through bends than the Golf; turn-in is sharp and eager, and body roll is expertly contained. The damping is well judged too; the Golf never feels too firm, but the body control is first-class on undulating roads.

If you overcook it, you can rely on eager, well-assisted brakes.
However, even when using the full rev range, the engine is slightly disappointing. It's a soulless unit, highly effective at whisking the Volkswagen up to speed and keeping it there but never emitting an interesting noise in the process. A different engine note would give the GTI some much-needed character, and perhaps the fact that this particular turbocharged 2.0-litre FSI unit is also shared with various Audis, Seats and Skodas takes the edge off its appeal slightly.

VW's GTI advertising campaign, which depicts a young man who bought the first Golf GTI back in the 1970s returning, older and wiser, to purchase this latest version, is pretty well spot-on. The MkV GTI is a more mature hot hatch. It appeals to middle-aged buyers who wouldn't look twice at a Vauxhall Astra VXR, as well as a younger crowd who want a fast hatchback that's a bit more sophisticated than your average hot hatch. As a car to buy, own and enjoy, it's very tempting.

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OPEL (Vauxhall) VXR

There's no doubt that each of the cars here offers remarkable performance for the money. The Astra VXR gives you a horizon-chasing 236bhp for just £18,995. In terms of 'bang for your buck', the fiery Vauxhall is untouchable.
Why is it then that, despite having the most power here, the VXR is the slowest over twisty, bumpy back-roads? This is the kind of territory where a hot hatch should excel, covering ground quicker than a lumbering six-figure supercar by making the most of its agile handling and flawless traction. Over difficult Welsh roads, made slick by heavy rainfall, the VXR cannot do this. It can't even keep up with the Golf GTI.
In the wet conditions of our test, the VXR's Achilles' heel was exposed: traction. What use is 236bhp if the driven wheels can't accept it? The Astra's front-wheel-drive layout struggles to cope with that power. In first and second gear it's simply spun away, and you need a tight grip on the steering wheel prevent the VXR's torque-steer pulling you onto the wrong side of the road.

Even in third gear a sensitive right foot is needed since, even without engaging Sport mode, the throttle response is fierce. You can be nowhere near flooring it, and the VXR will still send enough power and torque to the wheels to defeat the grip and send the car's nose running wide of your chosen line in a corner.
Ultimately, this leads to a rather messy style of driving, in contrast to the flow engendered by the Golf and Focus. Your commands are constantly overruled by the traction control system, but we still advise sophisticated electronic driver aids are left switched on.
The VXR presents other challenges. Its steering is numb and suffers from kickback over bad bumps. The six-speed gearbox has a clean movement, but the throw is overly long.

And if you're trying to keep up with an Impreza WRX, you'll find yourself pressing the brakes with ever-increasing vigour, since there's too little bite and feedback to the pedal. On the motorway, both the Golf and the Focus offer a better ride quality and more refinement.
And yet... there's something about the Astra VXR. It's a special car.

Yes, you're fighting the brutal power that bangs in at 3,000rpm. Yes, you're keeping a tight grip on the steering wheel. But you're thoroughly engaged by the driving experience: it's an adrenalin rush.

This is why, for certain hot hatch enthusiasts, the VXR holds more appeal than the GTI.
It looks the business too. In blood-red paint and hunkered down over optional 19-inch alloys, the VXR is a blatant boy-racer magnet. Lock up your daughters: there's an Astra VXR in town. Inside, the cabin is black from ceiling to carpet, laced with menacing VXR and Recaro branding. Like the Ford, you'll never forget you're in a hot hatch in the Vauxhall.
The Astra VXR hardly feels in competition with the Golf GTI, so different are the two cars' priorities. Its biggest problem is the Focus ST which, in entry-level form, is £1,500 cheaper. Considering the insurance costs of these cars, that's a saving well worth having.

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Ну и тем, кто Осилил )))
IMPREZA WRX
Выделю жирным шрифтом некоторые слова т.к. они меня немного удивили.

If you're after a £20k hot hatch, you may not have considered an Impreza. Yet for a little more money than the others here, you can get a five-door WRX that offers similar practicality and greater performance than the ST, GTI and VXR. It's got to be worth a look.
A 5am start with the Impreza gives a serious reality check. Loading the boot in the dark means fiddling with the flimsy luggage cover that snaps back into its mounting without warning. Into the driver's seat, and the whiff of cheap plastic in this factory-fresh example is overpowering.

Escaping a tight London parking space means mastering the sharp clutch and making the best of the poor rear visibility: a small back window is obscured by three rear headrests and, in our car, a dog guard. Onto the road and the car jiggles and bounces over patchy tarmac, while the obstructive gearshift must be worked carefully into place. Phew.

This car had better be pretty special on the open road.
It is. The Impreza was recently revised by Subaru, and aside from some cosmetic tweaks, the WRX also gained the range-topping STi's inverted suspension struts and a new 2.5-litre version of the turbocharged flat-four 'boxer' engine. The result is better road-holding and more power. Thanks to 226bhp at 5,600rpm, the WRX will go from 0 to 60mph in 5.8 seconds.
It feels effortlessly assured on wet, tricky, country lanes, thanks to minimal body roll and the confidence that the all-wheel-drive system instils in the driver. You can apply power sure that it will be transmitted to the road. Some of the classic flat-four cylinder engine burble has gone, but it's still charismatic.

What's more, the steering is not infected by the torque-steer that blights, to a lesser or greater extent, the other front-drive cars, although it is quite light. The WRX's ultra-responsive brakes were too aggressive for some, but that fits the car's philosophy. It's a driving experience for purists.


Trouble is, on our congested carriageways, you'll probably spend 90 per cent of your time in the Subaru wishing you were on a different road, or in a different car. When you're not going hammer-and-tongs on a decent B-road, all the traditional Impreza niggles surface. It's noisy on motorways, not a lot of fun around town and the interior is perhaps the nastiest of any £20k car.

Then there's the sharp pain in the wallet...
Aside from being the most expensive to buy outright, contract hire or privately finance, running costs aren't pretty. The 244g/km CO2 output means company car users pay 34 per cent tax. Fuel economy is not good; we averaged just 19.9mpg. Group 19 insurance is two groups higher than the other cars in the test. Subaru's expertise in handling and performance doesn't come cheap, and the costs seem even steeper if you consider that you'll probably only enjoy driving the WRX for a small proportion of the time you're in it.
If you hold performance and handling above all, the Impreza has the greatest appeal here. But a hot hatch must do more than that. It has to be a practical, affordable everyday car too, and it's on these terms that the WRX struggles.

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Что-то я не понял, в новом ВРХе стоят элементы подвески со СТИ??
 
Медвед-Шатун Клуба
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Andy_Rus написал(а):
Что-то я не понял, в новом ВРХе стоят элементы подвески со СТИ??


Врикс с пятого модельного года идет со стойками-перевертышами, котрые раньше были тольок на СТИ
 
Предвзятый модератор
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и ни слова о зиме... все словоблудие в пустую.. оказывается важнее, чтобы спорт-хэч был практичнее и меньше требовал платы налогов и дешевле обходился в страховании :shock: Я то раньше думал, что такого класса машинки выбирают сердцем, а для описанных выше показателей покупают Дачии/Рено Логан :D
 
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Mako написал(а):
и ни слова о зиме... все словоблудие в пустую.. оказывается важнее, чтобы спорт-хэч был практичнее и меньше требовал платы налогов и дешевле обходился в страховании :shock: Я то раньше думал, что такого класса машинки выбирают сердцем, а для описанных выше показателей покупают Дачии/Рено Логан :D

Ну это англичане, у них безумно доргие страховки и большие налоги и это у них очень актуально. Кстати, все равно ВРХ всех зарулил! :lol:
 
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Mako написал(а):
и ни слова о зиме... все словоблудие в пустую.. оказывается важнее, чтобы спорт-хэч был практичнее и меньше требовал платы налогов и дешевле обходился в страховании :shock: Я то раньше думал, что такого класса машинки выбирают сердцем, а для описанных выше показателей покупают Дачии/Рено Логан :D

Так зим-то у них (в нашем понимании) и не бывает :D
И вообще, вся Европа давно солярой заправляется, так что hothatch'и скоро наверное дизельными станут :shock:
 

ysv

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Алексей написал(а):
Mako написал(а):
и ни слова о зиме... все словоблудие в пустую.. оказывается важнее, чтобы спорт-хэч был практичнее и меньше требовал платы налогов и дешевле обходился в страховании :shock: Я то раньше думал, что такого класса машинки выбирают сердцем, а для описанных выше показателей покупают Дачии/Рено Логан :D

Так зим-то у них (в нашем понимании) и не бывает :D
И вообще, вся Европа давно солярой заправляется, так что hothatch'и скоро наверное дизельными станут :shock:

частично уже стали :D
 
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Да, изначально на Octavia RS был 2.0 TFSI бензиновый, а сейчас ещё и дизелёк появился.
 
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Возможно, кстати, в воскресенье будем сравнивать все эти 3 хэтчбэка. Интересно, кто из них лучше :)
 
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Май
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Гольф 4 мясо. в верси житиай и еще с пакетом вр или вс 4 не помню как его там...280 сил у него якобы получается. дык он с этим пакетом не может мою гтху одолеть в которой 211 дохлых десятилетних лошадок. гонялись со 2ой, он сперва на полкорпуса уежает а потом стабильно просырал....
 
Несносный дед
Окт
11
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ysv написал(а):
Так зим-то у них (в нашем понимании) и не бывает :D
И вообще, вся Европа давно солярой заправляется, так что hothatch'и скоро наверное дизельными станут :shock:

частично уже стали :D

Последий Тор Gear... Дизельный суперкар Ауди R8... Что дальше?
Дизельные Феррари и Ламбо? :lol:
 
Ультраправая группировка Клуба
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да ладно вам, по потребительским качествам, да уже местами и пр драйверз кайф, наши колымаги льют УЖЕ многим, я реально до сих пор не понимаю, почему не могу её продать.
 
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