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It's firm, but not harsh. You feel most road imperfections, but they won't rattle your teeth. The ride quality seems a touch better with the Recaros. Not sure if it's just a padding thing.

I'm driving on the oft-broken pavement in the DC Metro area and it's been fine.
 

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I drive on some of the worst freeways in California with uneven expansion joints, cracks and potholes.

The expansion joints seem to kind of bounce the car a bit but its definitely a damped bounce, it is not a hard shock. Cracks and minor imperfections get soaked up pretty well. Potholes are bad like in any other car, possibly made slightly worse by the small diameter of the tire but they make an entertaining game of dodge.

I have read complaints about tramlining on rain grooved roads but I haven't noticed more than a little.
 

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A MINI's ride is harsher and less polished. The Fiesta ST's ride is definitely firm, but not in a way that bothers me personally.
 
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