I've owned this XR4 for three or four years now. My previous car being a vs v8 manual commodore I wanted to down size to something more modern and reliable yet still keep me entertained. Initially looking at the swift sport and the xr4. Upon finding a one owner xr4 for the right price with 42,000k's I was now the second owner. My own Fiesta ST150 rebadged as an XR4 in Australia.
Electric windows, 6 stacker, leather seats made it a nice place to be in and knowing it had 6 air bags and loads of safety features was assuring. The base model of this car has an ancap rating of 4/5.
The first thing to know about a car like this is the handling is exceptional , everyone raves about the new Fiesta ST's handling and this is it's predecessor which means it still has direct steering. The amount of things Team RS changed on this car are mind boggling, from memory we have side skirts, stripes, special grills, a duratec 2 litre motor from a focus / mondeo which had to be placed on a slight angle to fit under the bonnet, lightened flywheel with a heavy duty clutch, notchy short shift 5 speed that feels like an arcade machine, laying power to the 17 x 7 wheels. Upsized brakes on the front, and the first Fiesta to have rear discs. All this on lowered suspension and custom dampers among other things.
As a whole package it's a very fun car to drive with 150hp naturally aspirated from the factory. By far the best handling car I have ever had the pleasure to drive.
In my ownership I've added a remote power steering cooler to prepare it for track days and replaced a noisy fuel pump. So it has been a very reliable car for me over the last 30,000k's
It's not all good though, due to it's age there is no blue tooth or usb support, the pedal box can be a bit cramped and there is no foot rest at all. You have to rest your foot on the floor, not that you will get much time to rest as the car has no cruise control either. It has one cup holder that will jam your hands when you shift to first gear with a large drink. After a few hours driving your right elbow will start reminding you the elbow rest is hard plastic.
On the subject of gears the car really needs a six speed. It sits on about 3100 rpm at 100kph and my combined fuel rating is about 7.5 litres, it would be in the 6's with a six speed.
So you get a pretty raw driving experience, the stability control is pretty good for the wet but found more often not it cuts power to the wheels when you put the foot down to avoid an accident. So in city driving the stability control stays off and I feel safer that way.
The brakes feel good, they are not touchy but pull the car up when needed, have managed to avoid a few accidents thanks to it's braking ability.
Services every 15k and minimum 95 octane petrol might be too much upkeep for some, but at the price these cars are now it's an amazing deal and a good track car.
The XR4 really comes into it's own on places like the great ocean road were most things would struggle to keep pace.
So from someone who owned a plethora of muscle cars I'm more than happy with this little car and intend on keeping it for as long as I can. If it had 20 more hp, a six speed and cruise and softer plastics I'd give it a 10. All those things have been fixed on the 2014 model, but I prefer the look of this one.