This is a tough one for me. It’s tougher yet because Janaki made it look so easy yesterday. For me, it’s between the new 300 hp Ford Focus RS and the diminutive Toyota iQ. Oh, and the VW Scirocco. And the Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse. Clearly, I’m not as decisive as my co-writer.
After the jump, I’ll tick them off one at a time.
First, the Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse. Brilliant little car that it is, it might just be a little too small and too compromised for my Canadian lifestyle. Just the other day, the IIHS showed us how poorly smaller cars can fare in impacts with larger ones. So even if the little retro-Fiat has a 5 star EuroNCAP rating, there is still room for concern with all of the large cars Canadians drive. The Abarth is certainly a fun little car that can be driven on its door handles without having to go 150 kph, but can you fit golf clubs in it? This is a genuine concern for 5 months of the year. And where am I going to drive the door handles off of it? I live in the prairies, which are about and cornerless as anywhere on Earth. Also, Fiats aren’t known for their reliability, even if strides have been made in the last couple of years. So despite my previous yearnings for the Fiat 500 Abarth Esseesse, it isn’t the overseas car that I want the most.
The next victim of my mighty sword pen is the VW Scirocco. It was named the 2008 Top Gear Magazine Car of the Year, so cutting it was no easy task. Not familiar with the New Scirocco? Take one 2-door MkV Golf GTI, lower it, widen it, give it 3-stage adaptive suspension, and add $200 to the cost. Talk about a deal. The Scirocco isn’t bad to look at either and therefore represents an incredible value in a package that many people can afford. It’s easy to talk about the Nissan GT-R as a great value, but it is still out of the reach of 90% of people. The New Scirocco really is a car for the people from the People’s Car company.
The Toyota iQ is a revolutionary little car. It is properly small, surprisingly practical (seating for 4 in a vehicle the size of the smart!) and fuel-efficient to boot. Toyota has now demonstrated that they can think outside of the box without slapping a battery onto a car. The hang-ups? Not the most involving to drive, not particularly good-looking, and not the cheapest to buy. Those are criticisms of most every current Toyota product though, so I suppose there’s no surprise in that statement. Still, while the little iQ is a complete package, it’s not the whole package.
Which leaves me with the Ford Focus RS. 300 hp, hot hatch, European Ford, aggressive bodykit, painted in Lamborghini Ithica Verde. Sounds like a recipe for success to me! Except it’s FWD. That kind of power NEEDS to go to all the wheels, or at least the rear ones. So you’d expect it to torque-steer into a ditch. But somehow, someway, it doesn’t. That’d be the RevoKnuckle saving your ass. Amazingly, this little FWD hottest of hot hatches can hunt down Evo Xes and even a Ford GT. The icing on the cake for the Focus RS is just how different it is from the Focus we get here in Canada. Two cars with the same badge could not be more different. Knowing that the Focus RS exists almost makes me hate our Focus a little less. Almost. The Ford Focus RS is the best car we can’t get in Canada.