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Going to be purchasing an ST or a WRX in June

How does the ST handle the weather? Going to be in Michigan for at least another 4 years
Put proper winter tires on it (Hankook icept, Michelin x-ice, or the best: Bridgestone Blizzaks) and it performs awesome in the snow if you can stay out of boost. Ice, slush, snow, I've never had an issue outside of crazy 5+ inches where the car itself scrapes the snow. Obviously the WRX with proper tires will do much better, but I wouldn't get the WRX because I like modding and the WRX is very limited on how far you can mod it. My buddy with a 2015 WRX in Oregon is extremely limited in how much he can mod his car and they are limited by the drivetrain at like 300hp so basic bolt ons alone is all he can do. Our car can handle 400 with ease before needing a clutch upgrade. If you don't NEED AWD then the ST get's the vote in my eyes.
 

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As Brian60 said, it's really good with winter tires. In my experience the ST's lift-off oversteer characteristics can offer some unexpected excitement when you're forced to brake hard during lane changes in fresh snow. Just don't be too aggressive overtaking in crappy weather (obviously) and I think you'll find it's very civil.

I live in Western Canada with a lot of freeze/thaw cycles during the winter, so our roads suck pretty hard after a fresh snowfall. We also have a lot frost heaves late in the winter that can lead to sudden weight shifts. For what it's worth, my RS' AWD handles that far better than my ST did.
 

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I was debating the same as I get lots of snow too. I landed on the ST, had an MFactory LSD installed and it was still cheaper than a WRX, so a bit of best of both worlds.
 

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As Brian60 said, it's really good with winter tires. In my experience the ST's lift-off oversteer characteristics can offer some unexpected excitement when you're forced to brake hard during lane changes in fresh snow. Just don't be too aggressive overtaking in crappy weather (obviously) and I think you'll find it's very civil.

I live in Western Canada with a lot of freeze/thaw cycles during the winter, so our roads suck pretty hard after a fresh snowfall. We also have a lot frost heaves late in the winter that can lead to sudden weight shifts. For what it's worth, my RS' AWD handles that far better than my ST did.
Shoot, the RS outhandles the WRX in the snow too with that awesome new AWD system lol that's just not fair! :( I need one

I was debating the same as I get lots of snow too. I landed on the ST, had an MFactory LSD installed and it was still cheaper than a WRX, so a bit of best of both worlds.
That must be nice...I'd love to throw in an LSD
 
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Short Version:
Focus is decent in the snow with good tires. Expect it to fall just short of the WRX in snow due to not having AWD. In most situations the AWD is not necessary. Either car is a great choice (if they offered the WRX in a hatch I would have considered one when I bought the Focus).

Long version:
As others have indicated, depends on your tires. AWD certainly helps, but good tires go a long way.

My personal experience with snow, tires, the ST, and Subaru AWD...
Subaru Crosstrek on OEM All Seasons was significantly worse in snow than the Focus ST on Blizzak LM32 winter performance tires. When I put a set of Blizzak WS80 snow tires on the Crosstrek, it handles snow noticeably better than the Focus ST. I expect that if I used the WS80 on the Focus, the difference in snow handling between the two would be pretty small. Note that LM32 is marketed as "winter performance" and the WS80 is marketed for "snow and ice". Tread on the WS80 is noticeably more aggressive, but it gives up dry handling in cold weather to the LM32.

Ultimately if you put a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 or comparable snow tires on the Focus ST, it will get you there. The WRX on the same tire may get you through snow slightly better. If you have to drive in conditions where the AWD and snow tires become a necessity, then I would probably skip on both the Focus and the WRX. In these conditions, I would imagine you would also want additional ground clearance.
 
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That must be nice...I'd love to throw in an LSD
It was pretty steep as I found a shop to do it (one that luckily had done the same thing on another ST so they were familiar with it), as since it's my DD I couldn't have it torn up in my garage for a week or two. I've been super impressed, especially coming from a WRX. I was thinking that with the ST having a mouth full of gears it would have lowered my MPG, but I'm still averaging 32MPG. I don't have any wheel hope and almost no torque steer, and it's a beaST in the snow. Expensive, but well worth it for my area. It takes the city an entire day after a snow storm to plow my street.
 

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Ultimately if you put a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 or comparable snow tires on the Focus ST, it will get you there. The WRX on the same tire may get you through snow slightly better. If you have to drive in conditions where the AWD and snow tires become a necessity, then I would probably skip on both the Focus and the WRX. In these conditions, I would imagine you would also want additional ground clearance.
This paragraph here answers your question Pantera, and the part I bolded is the biggest part I agree with that made me not consider a WRX at all. FWD is NOT as bad as people claim in bad weather...it does as good as your tires will allow.
 

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Reporting from up north in Canada where we get a good chunk of snow and ice. No problems what so ever with good winter tires. The stock all seasons are terrible as soon as it starts to get a bit cold/snow though.
 

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We average over 100 inches a year, sometimes near 200. And the ST with an $800 set of snow tires and rims did just fine. The traction control kicks in a lot due to the torque. Lol!
 

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It's amazing, had blizzaks on, but only thing is the power is useless and it won't hesitate to shred winter tires apart if you aren't careful.

And it's hard. My front blizzaks are now pretty much at the wear bars. I'll be putting those at the back. As long as I lay off the boost and easy on the turns I can get one more winter out of the set.

It almost makes me too confident, really gotta be careful when things are icy - I always fear losing the front end completely and "snap understeering" into the curb/ditch so I drive like granny around sketchy turns. It happened in a WRX where I was crawling at maybe 15km/h around a little bend and the whole thing starts sliding uncontrollably into a curb...felt like the ice actually accelerated me and brake, throttle, and steering inputs did nothing like they weren't even operational, but controls that were there just for show lmao. It almost happened again just before I sold that old WRX earlier in the winter but I was able to throttle steer out of it, give it a little flick and luckily the rear came around when it did. Only all seasons on that thing though.

Winters make all the difference.
 

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Going to be purchasing an ST or a WRX in June

How does the ST handle the weather? Going to be in Michigan for at least another 4 years
Not sure. That's what I have my XJ for.

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Handles great here in Wisconsin!With a set of snow tires (general arctic) and traction control off it plows through anything. Feels like an awd car.



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It's a tank with snow tires on it. I tend to go with TC off so it doesn't bog if it decides to spin a little.
 

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Blizzak or Hakkapeliitta and youll handle as well or better than any FWD.

As far as these guys here talking about "modding past 300whp-400whp": The only way you're applying half of that in a Canadian winter is with sled tracks in place of your tires.

Make your decision based on safety and comfort for winter driving, not on which tires can apply race-car horsepower in 12 inches of snow.


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Traction control OFF, unless you are at highway speeds, can't be said enough. I have generic winters and it handles slightly better than my EVO X with all seasons did.
 
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