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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I don't have a Focus ST (been shopping and cross-shopping with GTI) but I still lurk in here and I read about the issues people are having. Chief among these is the rough idle/stalling issue which might be wiring harness-related in some cases, but in others seems utterly unsolvable and has left people with unsafe vehicles. Also seem to see blown engines more than I've noticed in the GTI forums (FST vulnerable to LSPI more than others?). And of course issues around body panel fitment (WTF is with that fit at the bottom of the A-pillar), hood/hatch rubbing etc. (a brand new '16 FST I was considering could not close the hood without rubbing the headlights).

Is there a sense that maybe Ford rushed this vehicle together more than usual and isn't cleaning up its mistakes? Does the FST suffer from more quality issues than other vehicles in its price range or is it just that I've notice them because I've been looking at it so carefully? Is it worse than the regular Focus?

Edit: I don't mean this to be a FST vs GTI comparison; that's been done. It's more of a general question of whether the FST is a quality vehicle or not compared to all other vehicles people may have experience with. Keeping in mind things like price point (it's a $30K car, not a $60K car) and performance (can't expect it to be quite as reliable as a 140HP normally-aspirated Corolla) in mind. More of a question of Ford's overall construction/quality control/service for the FST in general. Is the FST a quality vehicle?
 

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I'll see if I can give you as much information as I can based on my experience. I have a 2016 Focus ST (ST3) with about 5,400 miles on it.

First, VW sucks. They are not as fast as people think they are and their interiors/functionality leave something to be desired. Also, they are a pain in the rear end to work on. If I got a GTI for free, I would immediately trade it in.

LSPI is an issue on all turbocharged engines, it's not really specific to any vehicle. However, it is really easy to avoid. All you have to do is downshift before accelerating. If you mat it in 6th gear, the boost is going to build faster than what the engine is ready for. This causes the engine to run lean, a misfire occurs, you hear pinging and the PCM will retard timing and the driver will feel a lack of power.

In regards to the body panels, I think people forget that these vehicles are like 90% assembled by humans. So it is possible to have some panels out of alignment, but if I am not mistaken they are all adjustable. I think it's safe to say that none of us give 100% at our jobs 100% of the time, things happen. If you have panel alignment issues, take it to the dealer, there is a whole section in their workshop manual on panel and door adjustments including specifications. Also things like panel alignment and any other issues that can occur at the factory is not Ford specific. They can happen to any manufacture, including VW.

Now as far as drive-ability concerns, try not to be too bias. If you have enough people in the same place, you have a tenancy to have repeat stories. If their are 100,000 ST's in the US, 500 of them have 1 problem and 250 of those people on here, it's really easy to think its the biggest issue in the world. It's not common for people to come on here to talk about the things that are working, only what is broken.

I know there is a few issues that are floating around right now. Starting with a CEL on cold starts intermittently that have DTC's P0300 (random misfire) and P0316 (misfire on the first 1,000 revolutions). There also may be cylinder specific DTC's (P0301, P0302, P0303 and/or P0304), but this does not appear to be as common. Ford Engineering has released a message to the dealers that they are looking into this issue and last I heard they have an ST that they are currently taking apart. From what I have read on here people have had injectors, spark plugs, coils and heads replaced as well as PCM updates with no change. There will be a fix for this eventually, people just have to be patient.

The rough idle/stall condition, I have not seen this as much but I am wondering if it is a driver issue. Not calling anyone out saying that they are a bad driver but I have been driving a manual transmission for about 20 years and the ST has the most unforgiving clutch I have ever driven. I have stalled it myself twice since I bought the vehicle. The rough idle to me feels normal to me, but I have a pretty high amount of automotive experience. It feels to me like the PCM is making adjustments to reduce load and sometimes has to recover from it's own adjustment. This may actually be a fault, but to me it's nothing to worry about.

There is also an issue of an idle dip to around 500 RPM's, the engine will be a little rough and then the RPM's will go up to 1500 before recovering back to idle of 1,000 RPM's. There is actually a fix for this, TSB 16-0025, which is a PCM update. I have experienced this issue but it is not a big enough of a concern to take to the dealer. I would say any issue that is more severe than the ones that I have mentioned should be handled on a case by case basis and not assumed that it is affected a ton of vehicles.

One other perk of owning a Ford is that engineering is extremely proactive about fixing customer concerns that reach the Service Department. The Technicians have access to Service Engineers who will give specific diagnostics to assist with repairing of the vehicle. Engineers review the documentation between the Service Engineers and the Dealer and keep track of what vehicles and how many are affected. Any time you vehicle is brought to the dealer and your VIN is ran, Ford Motor Company knows about it and a lot of the time, they follow it until it's repair and back to the customer. If all normal diagnostics have been completed and the vehicle is still not fixed, personnel will be sent to the dealer who has access to engineering resources to even further assist with getting the vehicle fixed.

So long story short, Ford Motor Company has a lot of people that do everything they can to fix vehicles once they are notified. The problem is that a lot of this is behind the scenes and to the owner, it looks like they are doing nothing. So hopefully that gives you peace of mind, you vehicle will get fixed no matter what it just might take some time. I love my Focus ST and I would buy it again if given the option.
 

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Unfortunately, you're only really going to get anecdotal evidence from here (unless there's some statistical data for all those things you mentioned somewhere I'm unaware of?).

I've had mine since 2012, about 43k miles now. Tuned since about 4k miles. Had the harness tsb done long ago and I've had no issues with stalling - though rpms do tend to dip to an almost-stall on occassion when the AC is blasting and car is idling.

No issues with the build quality either here. Fit/finish has been excellent since the day I picked it up, and materials have also held up in the near 4 years I've had it. I do wash the exterior and clean out the interior nearly weekly though, so I'm sure that helps with things looking good. I did also recently add some sound deadening to kill some rattles that cropped up over the years. Mostly just the right passenger door cards rattling on bass hits (which makes sense since the subwoofer is on that side of the car and things just got loose over time).

As for the LSPI thing - I've just kept the revs up and not going WOT on 5th/6th unless I'm in sufficiently high rpms (<3000-3500). It's fun to downshift anyway. :p
 

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I have a 2013 ST1 with 26k on it, and I had it stall out a couple times. But I got the recall done, haven't had a problem since. Also got the rear motor mount replaced with the sturdier eFocus one under the TSB. And yeah, it could be put together a little better alignment-wise, but it's a $20-25k Focus, not a Bentley. And none of the alignments on mine are off enough that I'm worried about it. Although my passenger side rear door does seem to collect a lot more water in it than the other 3 doors (after rain, I can open the other doors and get nothing, but passenger side rear has a little splash of water out of the drain). I need to get that checked, I think it's just a minor alignment issue, although it closes and latches/locks just fine.
 

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I've had mine since Feb and love it. Too much. I've put 9500 miles on her and My daily commute is around 20 miles round trip, so you do the math. (A lot of driving around south florida cruising, finding new roads, taking the parents to the keys....etc....many wonderful road trips).

I had a snapping noise come from my real passenger window, fixed, no problem

I did have the 500 rpm idle issue where the car shudders like it's going to stall as you approach a stop. I took it in and they fixed it. The only gripe was I couldn't just ask them to flash the PCM for TSB 16-0025. They had to keep the car long enough to experience it themselves. Fair enough.

That being said. For my entire life, I purchased cars that simply moved me and my family from point A to B and as long as it had a decent sounding stereo, that was all I cared about. This is the first car that I have owned that could be remotely called a "performance" vehicle and all I can say is...."Now I get it..." I actually look forward to spending time in my car. And really, that's all you can ask for, isn't it?
 

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Somewhat OT, but :
I had a snapping noise come from my real passenger window, fixed, no problem
I also bought a 2016 in February, and have a weird noise from the rear passenger window. Mine occurs when raising it, always about 1.5" from the fully raised position. Does that sound similar to your issue? How was it fixed?

Back to topic, I have ~7400 miles on my 2016 ST3 over 5 months of ownership. Not long enough to find any real long-term issues, but long enough that I have had plenty of time to get to know the car. My nearly-useless anecdotal evidence is that overall, it's a pretty well-built car. The window thing I mentioned above is the only 'problem' the car currently has, but unless it gets worse it's not something I'm terribly worried about. The panel fitment is nearly spot-on aside from the well-known A-pillar thing, but I didn't even notice it until I saw it mentioned here and then actually went looking for it. There is a spot where the hatch has nicked the bumper once or twice. I put a shim under the rubber door stop and it hasn't happened since. The hood was slightly misaligned from the dealership, but there are height-adjustable rubber stops under the hood. A few twists up and everything is grand.

I have never had any issues with stalling or rough idles. The closest thing to an electrical issue I've had is the occasional Bluetooth disconnection, which could easily be my phone and not the car.
 

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I also bought a 2016 in February, and have a weird noise from the rear passenger window. Mine occurs when raising it, always about 1.5" from the fully raised position. Does that sound similar to your issue? How was it fixed?
It was a snap while the window is going up. They replaced the regulator. No issues with the window since.
 

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I love my car and love driving it, you came to focusst.org to get an unbiased opinion? Like like me going to McDonald's and asking what's better a whopper or a big mac.

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As for quality, it's been an awesome car and it's been very reliable to most. Generally joining a forum people post to ask questions about their car having issues but think about the people not on the forum not having issues. That's the way I take it. Go to any car Forum and you'll see problem threads, just the nature of the beast.

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It's the one car out of. Two STI, 3 lancer evolutions, camry, three civic Si, two chevy trucks, Mazda speed 3 I wouldn't buy again.
 

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It's the one car out of. Two STI, 3 lancer evolutions, camry, three civic Si, two chevy trucks, Mazda speed 3 I wouldn't buy again.
Which is the vehicle you wouldn't buy again?

I've a 2014 ST. It has been trouble free through 8000 miles so far. Can't speak to the GTI *except* for numbers out-of-the-box vs. price. And there, there is no comparison.
 

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I traded in my GTI for the ST. Best decision I've made in my life. I've never had so much fun driving a car in my life. Never had the desire to do anything to my GTI because the community was a bunch of ****s and everyone thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread and if you asked a question they would give you a smartalec response and be of no assistance. This community is great and have given me everything I needed to work on my own car and it made me want to mod the **** out of the car. Aside from the community onto the actual car. Like I said, I traded in my GTI for the ST. I've put 8.5k miles on the car since October of 2015, and have been tuned/modified since about 1,000 miles and have not had an issue (knock on wood). The quality of the interior is fine for me. The car costs 23-28k for a reason, it's not going to be a luxury vehicle on the inside, but to be honest, it gets the job done and does a damn good job of it. The GTI had a decent interior, maybe slightly nicer than the ST. I have an ST3 and love my leather recaro racing seats which is something my GTI didn't have. Only gripe on the car is the paint absolutely sucks ass. If you get an ST throw some extra $$ to get the paint protected. When my Tuxedo Black is clean, it looks damn good, but the paint chips easy and is prone to dings and such. All in all you cannot really go wrong with the ST. More power for the same $$$ you'd be throwing into a GTI.
 

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I'm coming up on 50k miles pretty soon, in my 2014 (got it in May 2014). I'll probably post a full write-up about my experience, once that magic number rolls around...

Until then, I can say that I have a ~60 mile (round-trip) commute every day, and I haven't had a single issue, reliability-wise. No idling concerns, no leaks/loss of power/issues at all. I change the oil every 7.5k, and I just recently got new tires - but I could've made it to 50k on the F1's, if I had to - still have a decent amount of tread. So, from my experience, it is an extremely reliable car.

I haven't had another hot hatch, so I can't compare to much (last car was a '92 525i), but my FoST is everything I wanted as a DD and MUCH more! More than enough power to keep me smiling every day, and the handling is incredible. In between bouts of lead-foot-syndrome, she'll get 28-30mpg without much effort. It's a multi-purpose, fun machine!

That being said, I can't stress a test drive enough! I was hooked after my first 2nd gear pull!
 

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I'll see if I can give you as much information as I can based on my experience. I have a 2016 Focus ST (ST3) with about 5,400 miles on it.

First, VW sucks. They are not as fast as people think they are and their interiors/functionality leave something to be desired. Also, they are a pain in the rear end to work on. If I got a GTI for free, I would immediately trade it in.

LSPI is an issue on all turbocharged engines, it's not really specific to any vehicle. However, it is really easy to avoid. All you have to do is downshift before accelerating. If you mat it in 6th gear, the boost is going to build faster than what the engine is ready for. This causes the engine to run lean, a misfire occurs, you hear pinging and the PCM will retard timing and the driver will feel a lack of power.

In regards to the body panels, I think people forget that these vehicles are like 90% assembled by humans. So it is possible to have some panels out of alignment, but if I am not mistaken they are all adjustable. I think it's safe to say that none of us give 100% at our jobs 100% of the time, things happen. If you have panel alignment issues, take it to the dealer, there is a whole section in their workshop manual on panel and door adjustments including specifications. Also things like panel alignment and any other issues that can occur at the factory is not Ford specific. They can happen to any manufacture, including VW.

Now as far as drive-ability concerns, try not to be too bias. If you have enough people in the same place, you have a tenancy to have repeat stories. If their are 100,000 ST's in the US, 500 of them have 1 problem and 250 of those people on here, it's really easy to think its the biggest issue in the world. It's not common for people to come on here to talk about the things that are working, only what is broken.

I know there is a few issues that are floating around right now. Starting with a CEL on cold starts intermittently that have DTC's P0300 (random misfire) and P0316 (misfire on the first 1,000 revolutions). There also may be cylinder specific DTC's (P0301, P0302, P0303 and/or P0304), but this does not appear to be as common. Ford Engineering has released a message to the dealers that they are looking into this issue and last I heard they have an ST that they are currently taking apart. From what I have read on here people have had injectors, spark plugs, coils and heads replaced as well as PCM updates with no change. There will be a fix for this eventually, people just have to be patient.

The rough idle/stall condition, I have not seen this as much but I am wondering if it is a driver issue. Not calling anyone out saying that they are a bad driver but I have been driving a manual transmission for about 20 years and the ST has the most unforgiving clutch I have ever driven. I have stalled it myself twice since I bought the vehicle. The rough idle to me feels normal to me, but I have a pretty high amount of automotive experience. It feels to me like the PCM is making adjustments to reduce load and sometimes has to recover from it's own adjustment. This may actually be a fault, but to me it's nothing to worry about.

There is also an issue of an idle dip to around 500 RPM's, the engine will be a little rough and then the RPM's will go up to 1500 before recovering back to idle of 1,000 RPM's. There is actually a fix for this, TSB 16-0025, which is a PCM update. I have experienced this issue but it is not a big enough of a concern to take to the dealer. I would say any issue that is more severe than the ones that I have mentioned should be handled on a case by case basis and not assumed that it is affected a ton of vehicles.

One other perk of owning a Ford is that engineering is extremely proactive about fixing customer concerns that reach the Service Department. The Technicians have access to Service Engineers who will give specific diagnostics to assist with repairing of the vehicle. Engineers review the documentation between the Service Engineers and the Dealer and keep track of what vehicles and how many are affected. Any time you vehicle is brought to the dealer and your VIN is ran, Ford Motor Company knows about it and a lot of the time, they follow it until it's repair and back to the customer. If all normal diagnostics have been completed and the vehicle is still not fixed, personnel will be sent to the dealer who has access to engineering resources to even further assist with getting the vehicle fixed.

So long story short, Ford Motor Company has a lot of people that do everything they can to fix vehicles once they are notified. The problem is that a lot of this is behind the scenes and to the owner, it looks like they are doing nothing. So hopefully that gives you peace of mind, you vehicle will get fixed no matter what it just might take some time. I love my Focus ST and I would buy it again if given the option.
Perfect response to this thread. Couldn't have said it better myself.

It's annoying to me when potential buyers come and complain about how nervous they are cause they read this and that about how engines blew up. You know it's like this on every single car Forum right?? People come here to complain and find help for problems! The vast majority, myself included, love their cars and have had trouble free experiences so far. And please for the love of God, if I see another complaint about body panels. Jeez people, this is not a Ferrari or a Maserati!!! Nobody other than your nit picky self is ever going to notice a panel gap when they look at your car!!! Get over it. These are mass produced assembly line cars, not some one-off Pagani assembled by hand by Fernando who has dedicated his life to hand building automobiles with the utmost pride and care. Accept it for what it is, a cheap fun little car. Enjoy it for what it is!

Rant over.

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Somewhat OT, but :


I also bought a 2016 in February, and have a weird noise from the rear passenger window. Mine occurs when raising it, always about 1.5" from the fully raised position. Does that sound similar to your issue? How was it fixed?
Buffering from wind, open other windows and it goes away...?

Back on topic...

At 52,000 miles no problems to speak of

I think the overall quality is very good, perfect...don't really think much out really is.

In the end all new cars have bumper to bumper warranties which should put you at ease.

Sure there have been some blown motors but it is nearly impossible to sort out if it is car, driver, mods etc.

Go drive both, price wise they are close. Maybe even get a good deal on a vw with all their company problems. After driving both I bet your choice will clear up and buy the one you like. Major issues are statistically unlikely but could happen with either car
 

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I can't speak to the VW, but I've had a 2012 Civic SI, a 2014 SI and just traded my '15 SI on a '16 ST. Performance wise, head and shoulders above the Honda(s) and that's why I bought it. Do I wish the interior was a little better, sure, but that was the trade-off I was willing to make. I have the low RPM/ AC issue from time to time (car has 1300 miles on it), but I'm not too worried about it. If I feel like taking it in, my dealer will address it. I have no regrets whatsoever.
 

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Ford has really come along way, I'd take American over German anyday
 

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coming to this forum to ask about the ST vs a GTI is like asking about Evo's on an STI forum. Ask the same question over on VW Vortex and see how the responses come back.

I wont say much about my ST because out of 8 cars .. this car has the 2nd worst build quality from factory ive owned. VW/Audi sure spanks ford on this, but you also pay the premium for them. I have 4-5 creaks from bowed panels, door fittings, panel gap, and a crooked hatch are all stupid items but every day I see it, it makes me LOL at fords Quality Control department.. including finding 2 rolls of electrical tape, a hand full of wax pencil marks, and 3 zip ties throughout the car left there from the factory. The car itself has been great for me, it sure is fun, and held together at the drag strip (although its 100% true that this car sucks terribly at drag racing with stock turbo). Overall, if your buying new, you have the warranty, if your not buying new, look for CPO ... let your mind be at ease for that time frame, and remember, every car company has the occasional blown motor, hell most super car companies are no better, if you want a good read, check out any Maserati forum for what unreliable looks like.
 
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