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Ford Focus ZX3 vs. VW Golf



  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    You could always remove the rear headrests anyway and stow it in the hatch somewhere.
  • I'll make this quick and painless. The ZX3 is the way to go. Much less expensive, better equipped, better looking, better built, more performance and 5 star safety rated.
    Can you tell I'm very happy with my ZX3?
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Spend some time at a Ford & VW dealership. Drive both, learn about both, then eventually make up your mind.

    THe Focus has a major price advantage which is a plus.

    I'd tell you to buy a Golf (because I love my 2002 Golf TDI)...but you gotta figure out which one you like better.
  • slava2slava2 Posts: 1
    I don't think you know what you are talking about, orangelebaron, but My '00 ZX3 is a real great car and I haven't had any problems with it whatsoever, instead I've been hearing most of my friends say that german cars(vw's)are the ones with the electrical problems. So before you say something like that first do some research.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    A ZX3 to a GTI? Otherwise, a ZX5 would be in order. I've driven both a lot. Also just drove a ZTW and am agonizing over that and a VW. The ZTW was loaded with traction control, ABS, and side air bags, has a $1,000 rebate and can be had in the low 17s. Jetta wagons are a few thousand more. Personally, I think the front seating in the VWs are superior because you can do more with the height of the seat. I also like VW's folding mirrors and side head curtains. Look at the just released Consumer Reports. They still can't recommend the Focus because or reliability issues and VWs run the table on safety.
  • norwaydougnorwaydoug Posts: 249

    As the initiator of this topic, back in 1999, I wanted to give an update. I chose to buy a 2000 Focus zx3 because it had more interior room than the VW and I had 3000 dollars of Citibank Visa money to buy a Ford. Quite an incentive.

    I had to trade my 2K zx3 in because it was a lemon (only in my opinion) and purchased a 2001 automatic zx3. I have been very pleased with my 2001 and I believe the Consumer Reports report is mostly based on the 2k and all its recalls. I would look at the CR reports with a grain of salt if you are buying a 2002 zx3 or zx5.

    My 2001 has been great for the 20K driving miles. No issues except a dash rattle that can't seem to be fixed. I can live with the noise as long as it keeps running the way it has been running.

  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    In fact, I traded in my 2001 ZX3 on a Golf. Both were stickshift. The ZX3 was far superior - more horsepower, sportier engine, superb handling, better ergonomics (wide room for your knees), and came with cruise control. It was much quieter on the freeway.

    I traded in the ZX3 due to an air quality problem Ford couldn't diagnose. I got tired of waiting for their slow response and I was getting a cough from whatever was coming through the vents. To Ford's credit, they gave me a $2k owner appreciation certificate in case I wanted to buy another Ford within a year.

    The VW was fine. I got an extended warranty out of fear it would break down, but after 30k miles, still no problems.

    Right after 9-11 I saw a ZX3 with an auto for an absurd price. I used my coupon and got it. Guess what? It was a model year later, but after a few thousand miles the air quality problem came back. For 7,000 miles, though, even the auto outdrove the Golf - actually it had the 16 inch wheels, so its handling was even better, though the ride was a little worse (than the former ZX3, still better than the Golf).

    The moral of the story is, the ZX3 is great to drive, but I wish Ford would improve quality control. Maybe I was lucky with my single sample Gold and unlucky with my dual sample ZX3's, but after reading owner comments on other websites, it seems like about 50% of the ZX3's are almost lemons, some are bulletproof, and some are just a little troublesome. One newsgroup even had a posting from an anonymous Ford engineer who averred that if an owner could bear with the warranty perior issues, thereafter he/she would have a great car.

    I still like the ZX3 better than the Golf. But what am I going to do (maybe the next gen Golf will have some real handling, less NVH like the ZX3, and not cost so much).
  • Norway Doug.
    I was reading this forum with interest. many points being made both ways.
    I have had three mirrows either broken off, or the plastic cracked, one by a kid, the other two going down a very narrow street (Philly, old city section) and not paying attention to a Burger King window sticking out. Ouch!

    But, my question is, how is the resale value for both cars? That is as important as the initial payment, it it money invested. It may be you get some of that extra thousands in the VW back in resale.
    Any thoughts?

    I drive the ZX3, '00 and am looking around for a reliable newer car. Maybe the ZX5 or a Golf or P5.

    Whats the deal with a Diesel engine?
    More economy? More horses? Why is it being offered?
    How hard is it to find a station with diesel?
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    It costs more (about $1000 over the 2.0L motor)

    Fuel Economy:
    5-speed manual: 42 city 49 highway
    4-speed auto: 34 city 45 highway

    Less horsepower more torque (90 bhp @ 3750 rpm; 155 lb-ft @ 1950 rpm)

    Why not? It's an excellent alternative to gasoline engines.

    How hard to find it in the Jetta wagon?
    Ask the guys in the Jetta wagon forums (I drive a Golf TDI)
  • shov6shov6 Posts: 177
    Two reasons, neither of which may mean much to you.

    1- Although the fuel economy IS better in the diesel model and diesel is less expensive to purchase on a per-gallon basis (usually 3-5 cents as per the national average), you would have to drive a startling number of miles to have the reduced fuel expense make up for the additional cost of the car in the first place (which, by the way, is closer to 1300 dollars than a thousand). I ran some numbers really quickly using the current average fuel prices for regular and diesel, and that number is approximately 80,000 miles... If the rated fuel mileage of the diesel and the 2.0L gasoline model are to be believed (I used the highway figures only). If you plan to keep the car that long, this may be something to think about... If not, I think you will find the resale value is lower on diesels, too.

    2- Depending upon where you live, diesel may not be as easy to find as you might like. For instance, there is only one fueling station within a five-mile radius of where I live that sells the stuff. The aggravation of having to go out of your way to find diesel may be more than it's worth.

    The real reason I can see someone buying a diesel is if:

    1) Diesel is less expensive by far than gasoline where you happen to live.

    2) You do almost all highway driving, as this is where the greatest benefits are to be realized.

    Just my $.02,
  • norwaydougnorwaydoug Posts: 249
    I have little experience with the Golf. I have owned 2 Zx3. A 2000 (terrible 5spd transmission problems and quality issues----I traded it in and bought a 2001 auto and I am now a happy Focus owner).

    A zx3 is a great car if it is reliable, but resale is not the best.....It is always best to own it for more than 5 yrs.

    A Golf may have better re-sale, but it still will be a big hit. A civic is your best bet for resale.

    I would definitely have a Golf, but I find the zx3 roomier and like everyone is fun to drive and to look at. It's a sharp, practical and neat little car. (If it's reliable---I'm lucky second time round....I have 21 K on it and no's solid).

    When does the new Golf come (GolfV)? I have heard it will be roomier. I am also intrigued with the new BMW 1 series....of will be tough to buy for the first MY, but perhaps in 2007!!

    Finally, in the US, the new small cars are getting interesting. Lots of amusing new cars out for less than 20K.

    Protege5, Focus ZX5, Civic Hatchback (haven't seen one), Matrix/Pontiac, Golf, PT Snoozer. Even the Corrola looks a bit better. I would say the list of cars is far expanded from Golf vs Focus ZX3.

    Still the ZX3 looks fresh and fortunately, I have one with a good personality too. I still think the 2002 ZX3/5 would have to be reliable by now.....the quality must be worked out after 750,000 made in the US/Mexico.

  • npaladin2000npaladin2000 Posts: 593
    The emissions from them are also pretty dirty. So dirty, as a matter of fact, that by state law, you can't buy one in California or New York.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    TDI is sold in CA and NY and all other 48 states. You do get charged an extra $100 for emissions in CA and NY. The TDI is 50 states emissions certified. I correspond with several people in CA and NY that have purchased TDI in 2002, 2001, and 2000. There is no law in any state that prevents the sale of the TDI.

    As far as emissions the TDI produces less of three of five of the main emissions produced by gas or diesel engines. Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)Hydrocarbons, and Particulates. TDI produces less Co2, less Hydrocarbons, less Co, about the same NOx, and more particulates. The TDI and other diesels are considered green in Europe because they produce less CO2 than gasoline engines and CO2 is the major contributor to global warming. And the diesel uses 30% less fuel.
    Still think it is dirty?

    to shov6- resale for diesel vehicle is higher, not lower and diesel maintains resale value over a longer vehicle life than gasoline engine vehicle.
  • alitaalita Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 ZX3 with an automatic (there are my first two mistakes). I only get 240 miles per gallon. Terrible terrible terrible gas mileage.

    I paid $17,000 for my ZX3 ... and, I wish I didnt. My Kelley Blue Book Value is around $11,015 trade in (loaded). I went to a dealer and asked how much they would give me and they 'looked in the KBB' and said $7400. WOW! What a hit. *sigh* .... I would rather have a GOLF TDI. Higher resale value ... better gas mileage (even with an automatic). AND ... you can modify it (good ol' NeuSpeed). = )
  • javasutrajavasutra Posts: 3
    Oddly enough, I've been researching Golfs and Foci for about a year now and I just now find this board.

    I've finally decided on the Focus, mostly because of the incredible incentives Ford is offering now. Also, it's tough to find a Golf TDI around here.

    Here are some tidbits I've picked up in the last year that may help some of you.

    The TDI engine is said to be fantastic. The emissions are comparable with a 4 cyl gas engine and the performance is more a reflection of the torque than HP. Unfortunately, diesel engines will probably go away for a few years since the new EPA regs focus on the particulate emissions. They should return in 2006 when US diesel fuel will be made truly low sulphur. Then you should see some incredible TDI engines from several manufacturers.

    Resale value on any small economy car is not going to be too great. If you want resale, get a truck or luxury car. Even then it's not that good. My wife's Volvo V70 has dropped $10k in two years!

    You can get a wide variety of aftermarket performance parts for Foci, including hotter ECU chips, intake, exhaust, turbos, etc.

    I've driven Ford cars for 18 years now and I have experienced very few quality problems. In fact, my wife's Volvo has had more quality problems than any of the Fords I've owned.

    If all goes well, I'll get my new ZX3 today. I'll keep everyone posted on how things go.
This discussion has been closed.