Opinions Wanted - 03 Ford Focus Wagon

Posted by: mykel on 05 November 2003

The wife has taken a fancy to an 03 Focus ZTW wagon the local dealer has. She currently has a 95 Grand Am that would go on trade.
When the salesman found out who her family is some fairly impressive numbers came up.

Remember this is all in Canadian $'s.

Base Price 24115.00
Trade 4500.00 ( wholesale is 2200.00 )
CashBack 2000.00
0% finance
( normally either 0% or Cashback not both ! )
Total after all taxes 20900.00
Monthly 349.00 / 60 months

I know the Focus has a bit of a rep due to the recalls etc when it was first launched. I understand the the QC has improved drastically since this time.

On test drive, it was better than I had expected, especially in the ride/handling department. It has the 2.0l Zetec making 135 hp and tq.
Even with the auto, it is still pretty zippy. Still very hesitant about a Ford. I personally have never had anything but Honda's.

So what do you think? Is it a mistake even at a killer price, or a pretty decently put together little ve-hickle?

Thanks all


Posted on: 05 November 2003 by Mike Sae

I used to drive nothing but Toyota/Lexus, but then had to "downgrade" to a Ford truck out of necessity (and the 0%). I own a 02 Ranger, which is a simple and ancient platform so you'd think they'd work out all the kinks by now, but no. There's still tons of little things like split seams on the visors, tach buzzing a specific RPMs, timing chain pretentioner rattle which they can do nothing about. When the dealer orders new parts, they tend to order the wrong ones, wasting half my day. This has happened twice.

They've embarked on a scheme of cost cutting measures too, saving the company millions while "decontenting" their cars in ways the customer won't notice. In fact, they made a big deal of it recently, like they were proud of it or something. To add, I recall seeing reports on the net that Ford's suppliers are very unhappy, citing thier low standards.

When I'm in for servicing, there's always a minor chaos and a number of people with problems sitting in the waiting room. That was a bit of a culture shock, having only experienced serene Toyota waiting rooms. Sure, all dealerships vary, but I've noticed a trend that's surely indicitave of the product.

A car is a big purchase, tens of thousands of dollars and you're stuck with the thing for years.

Long rant short, I strongly believe Ford makes good cars -on paper-;they have good driving dynamics and fine layouts (Focus, Crown Vic, F150, Ranger), they just can't glue them together very well. I certainly won't buy a Ford again, nor would I inflict one on any of my friends. (probaly won't buy a Toyota or Lexus either, but that's another thread). A number of family/friends own Chrysler and they seem even worse. Yeesh god help me if my next car is from GM.

Also, I think (?) the Focus is being redesigned very soon so you might want to check in to that.
Posted on: 05 November 2003 by Mike Sae
By the way, my sister was in the market recently. We throughly tested Focus, Corolla, Matrix, Vibe, Golf, Impreza and Aerio. She even got to keep both Toyotas for a weekend.

I like the Sube, but surprise she chose the Suzuki. By all accounts it's been flawless and she loves it. I think it's pretty neat, and its the cheapest one of the bunch. The only issue is the styling, but we agree it looks like a shuttlecraft.
Posted on: 06 November 2003 by JohanR
I had a Focus (european made) a couple of years ago. For the price I can recomend it to 100%. It's even the first car that has beaten Toyota Corolla for several decades in the German compulsory test for vehicles that are a couple of years old.

Don't know about the american made ones. The safe bet, of course, is a japanese MADE japanese car. The new Mazda 3 is roughly the same car as the next generation Focus (and the new Volvo S40!), eat the cake and have it?

Posted on: 06 November 2003 by TomK
We've had a European Focus for about 18 months and I can thoroughly recommend it. It's extremely comfortable, roomy (I'm over 6' and I've got plenty of space, and the back seat easily accommodates 3 kids, one about 6' tall). There's bags of luggage space and it goes like a bomb on the motorway - you have to keep a constant watch on the speedo as you can easily find yourself doing 100mph without realising it. Not a single thing has gone wrong with it. In all, the best car we've ever had.
Posted on: 06 November 2003 by ErikL

Take comments on quality from the European/UK crowd with a grain of salt. It's well documented that the European Focus' are much better built, while the North American ones suffer from mediocre build quality.

The Focus also depreciates rapidly, unlike a Honda or Toyota, so it's actually costly to own.
If depreciation doesn't bother you, buy a Hyundai (they have 10 year powertrain warranties here).
Posted on: 06 November 2003 by Martin D
Ford are a waste of time