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Well, everything I've read said the SVT is the king in terms of performance/fun to drive.

Mazda3 is certainly more refined though.
 

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Simply for the styling and the fact that the 3 is Japanese-made I would buy the Mazda.

Not to mention the new Focus is hideous. The exterior is ho-hum, not really offensive, just boring, but the interior...it is UNFORGIVEABLE!!! Seeing the new Focus inside and out will make you want to kiss the Japanese engineers for transforming the Ford platform into the 3 we know.
 

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As much as I wish it was not true. Go for the Japanese build quality. You can almost certainly bet the 3 will still have all its pieces properly connected several years down the road.

My only experiences with a Focus have been rental cars, but when the remote sideview mirrors were broken on all 3 of the cars I rented, and none had 10K miles on it, then there is definitely a build quality problem. I can only hope Ford has improved the American Focus now that it is being made in the US and not Mexico.
 

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Back when I had a Focus, my friend in the Navy got a hold of one-of-a-kind race prepped head, from Austria.

Guess the guy that made it didnt want N/A, so he made another. When we put it on the car, before dynos were like 109whp and it jumped another 40hp (with CAI and exhaust)

I could easily take a GSR or SI with no problem. Then I sold it for my Jetta and never looked back.
 

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The Mz3 will feel more refined, as in a nicer, quieter ride. The SVT Focus is a sport tuned version of the Focus, which starts as a bit more of an econobox than the Mz3.

The Mz3 is also a bit quicker off the line, at least the 2.3L version is. In the Car & Driver testing, the Mz3 was .4 of a second faster in their 0-60 times.

However the SVT may feel a bit sportier to drive, if you like its sports-tuned suspension and like a bit more "feel of the road" when you drive. Definitely worth taking a test drive in both to find which one connects more with you.

As to reliability, the Mz3 is likely to be better. The newer Focus have improved, but the sports-tuned models usually are a bit worse than a standard car. In any case, both will be better than a Jetta, which is racking up an astoundingly poor reliability record in their 1999-2003 models (jury is still out on the 2004 models). These are now on several consumer groups "don't buy" lists and were scored as one of the bottom 5 cars in a recent J.D. Powers quality survey. This is particularly true for any Jetta/Golf that was assembled in VW's Mexican plant.

Too bad too, as I really like driving both Jettas and Golfs. I've been told by Mazda reps that one of their market goals is to build a fun to drive car that can compete with VW on those terms, while appealing to people who want better reliability. They see VW as being vulnerable as word of their problematic nature becomes more widely known.
 

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Outside of the 6 speed it's hard finding anyting that much better about the SVT now. I was seriously considering the SVT myself but after seeing the January Car & Driver and it's performance numbers I was sold. The 3 matches or beats the SVT in all by 1/4mile, and that's only by like .1 and the 3 should beat the SVT 0-60 by a couple tenths as well.

I do prefer the styling of the Mazdas and as others have cited as much as I hate to say it being a Ford guy the Japanese build quality of the 3 is by far better than the typical Focus.
 

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My dad was thinking about getting a Jetta, but he decided not to when my uncle told him about their reliability issues. Then again, at the same time my cousin went out and got a brand new GTI.
 

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Hands down for the SVT on performance and handling. 3 thumbs down for build quality and looks.

We 3 owners just need more the performance side... turbo or supercharger would balance the whole car out. Although it already seems pretty balanced, I think Mazda shoulda tuned the motor to 180hp and 160tq.... intake and exhaust should fix that.
 

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Actually vaboom if you look at the skidpad numbers for the 3 it actually outhandles the SVT and as I mentioned the 3 out runs the SVT to 60 and only looses by a tenth in the quarter, not what I would call "hands down".
 

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Regardless of what automakers put out there will always be some to ask for more. If Mazda made the 3 w/180/160, you guys would still b!tch, so chillax and enjoy the 3.

Want more oomph? Get an RX-8.
 

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One turned passed me the other day when I was at a light. The light turned green, and I forgot to go. The guy behind me was mad.
 

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cowtown said:
Actually vaboom if you look at the skidpad numbers for the 3 it actually outhandles the SVT and as I mentioned the 3 out runs the SVT to 60 and only looses by a tenth in the quarter, not what I would call "hands down".
the SVT feels more ballsy. But then again after the break in, the motor definately feels more responsive. Hell, in another 3 months.. Ill own my buddy's SVT.
 

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M3-GT said:
Absinthe said:
You're gonna have both 3 and SVT?
I think he means that after his "personnal touches" to his 3 he's going to smoke his buddy SVT. :lol:
Hehe.. We run pretty hard together. I havent topped out 3rd yet, but we are neck to neck. Hes really impressed with the cars handling and performance.

Only mod he has is a catback exhaust.
 

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vaBooM said:
M3-GT said:
Absinthe said:
You're gonna have both 3 and SVT?
I think he means that after his "personnal touches" to his 3 he's going to smoke his buddy SVT. :lol:
Hehe.. We run pretty hard together. I havent topped out 3rd yet, but we are neck to neck. Hes really impressed with the cars handling and performance.

Only mod he has is a catback exhaust.
From what I've read I think we are both on the same page regarding what we want. What mod do you plan to do? Performance wise. hehe
 
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