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Ford Focus Sedan

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  • I got a sneak peak at one of the new Focuses and I've gotta say "WOW!". It's so much better looking than the older model going out. The interior is all new and looks vastly different. It's center stack reminds me of a Volvo S40.

    I never really found the need for the Focus to change to the C1 either. The current platform rides very well and has pretty responsive steering. The thing that's bothered me the most is the build quality. Hopefully they'll make it better this time around.
  • Mschmal also makes the point that excellence does not necessarily mean the Ford of Europe chassis and that styling both interior and exterior are strikes against the current model. On all of that I agree. The refresh in 2005 still looks like the original Focus. People pay for fresh styling. And the 2005-2007 dash styling is actually worse than the original in my opinion, speaking as an owner of 2005 ST. At best the current dash is uninspired and at worst clunky. I'd also point out that the safety bar is now higher. Side curtain airbags are a competitive must and I think more gears in the automatic. A big emphasis on a better interior is essential. But, on driving dynamics the Focus is only behind the Mini and the Mazda 3 (and I hope the upcoming Volvo 3-door P1800 grandchild). If you can keep the driving dynamics and reduce road noise and NVH overall, I suspect Ford could stay well ahead of the class curve.

    I'll have to think about the F-150 angle. I half expect Dodge to do a better Ridgeline in the mid-size space. If fuel prices continue to go up (as they will), a new and vastly better Ranger may be as important to keep the current casual truck driver in trucks. If Ford becomes only a full-size truck manufacturer, that's a dead-end. Ford can't ignore cars and can't be mediocre (or be perceived as mediocre) on cars. Build quality is one of those moving targets. Tighter body gaps, a quieter interior with material surfaces that match in shape and texture, and solid mechanicals are all important. It's essential to have no recalls to tarnish a good launch.

    I wish the Fusion had a more inspired interior because the I-4 with the 5-speed automatic is really amazingly good. And the Fusion avoided the Contour's mistake by providing a real backseat. The 2007 addition of side curtain airbags solves the only safety concern from 2006. Fusion/Milan are getting good press mentions. If the Fusion had the interior design and quality of the Hyundai Sonata it would be invincible. It's not that the Sonata is perfect but it looks more upscale than it is.

    Finally, power trains have to be a major emphasis for Ford. Ford does chassis design well, but fuel efficiency demands are going to continue to increase and NVH is a major measure of perceived quality. Ford is not on the forefront of silky smooth and high efficiency powertrains.

    I love my ST even with the things I wish were still better. It's more fun than should be legal. I want Ford to be successful rather than marginalized. I'm looking forward to the next Focus and hope it hits the ball out of the park.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "The refresh in 2005 still looks like the original Focus. People pay for fresh styling."

    But the new C-1 wide-body (That's right, over 6-ft wide, it's even wider than the Lexus LS430!) Focus MkII is actually less handsome looking than our unique '05-07 face-lift Focus MkI.

    The MkII may be quieter & have slightly better ride & handling, but not the steering feel or the light-weight nimbleness of the MkI. The MkI has a lively & predictable rear-wheel drift. The MkII rear can't even break loose.

    "And the 2005-2007 dash styling is actually worse than the original in my opinion, speaking as an owner of 2005 ST. At best the current dash is uninspired and at worst clunky."

    It may be ugly, but the new dash has more airflow w/ less noise than the old dash. Unfortunately, my early-production '05 ST has some nauseating rubber smell at warmer conditions such as after parking under the sun or if the heater has been turned on. So far, my Ford dealer said it's just "normal new-car smell" & refused to fix it. Do you have this problem if you breath the ventilation air for more than 30 minutes?

    Anyway, I hate to get rid of this car. It's a great toss mobile at the limit. Dynamically, no fwd car beats the Focus SVT. Consumer Reports' comparison test found the Focus SVT beating the Mini Cooper in BOTH ride & handling. So I test drove an used SVT after I bought my new ST, & found out that only the SVT has a nice meaty heavy power steering. Plus, the std SVT front seats (not the Euro-package Recaro) are more supportive & comfy than the smallish sport seats found in the ZX3 hatch & my ST sedan. Ford only need to add these 2 SVT features to the ST, along w/ better sound insulation & just a smidge softer dampers.
  • I wanted to say that I am a happy 49+ year old driving an 06 SES 5sp 4 door. The three biggest complaints are the factory stereo, seats and no rear headrest. My older son is growing fast and he still has enough leg room but no head rest is a dump cost cutting measure. Another is the seats in general could be more comfortable. I don't want to get a bigger car, I want to get good fuel economy without giving up comfort. Why is it that most if not all the fuel efficient car makers feel that only gas hogs can have nice seats?
    P.S. My previous car was a 96 Audi A4. I ditched that because it was a gas hog.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Check out the Nissan Versa.

    These seats are amazing for a $15,000 car.

    Mark.
  • Does anyone know if the Focus rebate will be increasing from $2500.00 at Christmas or soon thereafter. Am seriously considering purchasing one now but wonder if I should wait to see if the rebate amount goes up. Would appreciate a reply soon if someone knows the answer. Thanks a lot.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "The three biggest complaints are the factory stereo, seats and no rear headrest."

    The '05-&-later stereo in my ST doesn't just look ugly. It sounds ugly, even w/ the optional Sony speakers & the trunk-space-robbing subwoofer. I found the prettier unit in the older SVT nicer sounding.

    The less-flat front seats w/ more lateral support from the ZX3 & my ST sedan are finally available in all the '07 (including the SES) Focus' except the wagon, but only w/ the optional leather/sway leather.

    Again, the old SVT's large supportive std cloth/leather seats are the best. They even got power seat-height adjustment, just like the new Jetta & some Mercedes std seats.

    But are you complaining about the comfort of the rear seat? The U.S.-spec Corolla also purposely kept the roomy rear seat uncomfortably shaped. I found that out when I traveled over seas riding their Corolla taxis.

    I can't stand most cars' rear headrests blocking my rear view, especially the lower-right corner. But some earlier ZTS Focus' did have them. Maybe you can retrofit.

    Focus engines, even the recent ones developed by Mazda, still can't match the fuel economy of Honda & Toyota engines w/ similar output.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,931
    which honda/toyota engines have similar ouput? i have an '04 zts with 2.3. very torquey engine. have never tested the true highway mileage.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    It's a good thing that you mentioned "very torquey". B/c those amateurs only look at the peak hp.

    Despite w/ the noisy factory exhaust for extra output, my '05 Focus ST 2.3 stick still can't match my '98 Corolla 1.8 stick around 2000rpm, not to mention the real-world 40mpg on the hwy. But I had to get rid of the Corolla due to poor steering & suspension.

    Honda 2.4 is quieter, no less powerful & saves more fuel than my Focus ST 2.3.

    Nevertheless, people around the world still envy when I mentioned the naturally aspirated 2.3 in my Focus ST. B/c no other countries got anything non-turbo larger than a 2.0. in Focus! & this Mazda-developed naturally aspirated 2.3 in the U.S. Focus ST is still torquier than the ones used in the Mazda3/6.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    This is the biggest rebate Focus ever has during the model year. Please keep in mind that because the 08 will be a spring launch, January is more like July in terms of how close we are to considering the 07 Focus a left over and interest rates are likely to go up in January.

    If you can find an X-plan pin somewhere, thats worth and extra $500 rebate!

    There are websites that hook people up with pins but I don't think I can post them here.

    Mark.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Just about all Fords are getting a 50 to 100 price increase and some option prices are going up.

    This is effective on cars invoiced after 12/26/06

    Mark.
  • Things we like/dislike -- I mentioned rear headrest because I have two kids that ride in the back. One is still in a booster but the other is 5'9" and prefers a short headrest like the ones in the Fusion or Audis. The spoiler disrupts the rear vision more than headrest would. None of the cars mentioned have that comfortable of seats although I have not made it to a Nissan dealer to try out the Vista. The best fuel economy I can pull from my 2.0 5sp. was 34.5 MPG and that was with a wimp factor of 8 on a scale of 1-10 1 being racing and 10 coasting. My average is 29 which is not that good considering the size of car. Has anyone reported what they are getting from the 07's?
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Yep, I've had my rear spoiler removed.

    Don't expect the 2.3 to match the 2.0's mpg, 'cause the 2.3 has the energy-wasting balance shafts.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,931
    if you instrumented it, i'm sure you would realize the focus would kick the corolla to the curb.
    honda is known for some fine engines.
    i'm a conservative driver and have averaged about 29.5 mpg in the time i have owned the car. it has never really been on any long highway trips.
    when you want to go, it will run. i have owned some pretty fast cars over the years.
  • markus5markus5 Posts: 102
    Some time ago on this Focus thread I mentioned that Reported MPG"S are probabably wrong because of odometer under reading, at least on my particular vehicle.( 04 ZTS 2.3 auto 16" wheel). My most definitive check of mileage and instrument accuracy confirmed this assertion. Running through nearly complete tank driving down from northern vermont, and then down the entire length of the Adirondack Northway, setting the cruise control at a very comfortable 73, yet still getting over 31 mpg. 170 miles of this road had recently been re-calibrated with mile markers. My odometer was off on the short side 2 1/2 % .

    My previous car, a Probe (2.2, 5 spd ) was capable of better mileage then this car. But this one is a more capable drivers car all around by a long shot.
    So far it has been absolutely reliable, but shows some short- comings in certain areas where FORD has chosen to save money on their trim levels, or lack there of.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    I remember back in '02 or '03, a brand-new Focus ZTS in the dealer's lot had 205/55-16 instead of 205/50-16. So the speedometer accuracy does vary.
  • Checking the spedo accuracy isn't hard if you have a section of highway with mile markers. Just check a few against your trip meter and see if 1 mile of road equals 1 mile on your car.
    I have kept track of my mileage since the car was new and it can vary a lot just on driving habits. In Minnesota we get enough cold to drop it some as well. I lose a couple of MPG if the weather stays below 10 F. My overall average has been 29.5 and my spedo checks out but that is using 10% ethanol.
    Just watched "An Inconvenient Truth" and that started me thinking about getting a Toyota Prius. Global warming is real and I don’t want to contribute any more to global warming than I have to.
  • The Focus vs Corolla is exactly the match the convinced me of the superiority of the Focus. I drove the sporty Corolla for a couple of weeks out of town on business. The interior was very nice but the driving dynamics terrible. The Corolla lacked a strong on-center feel and was constantly hunting for the line to follow. It was quiet and the engine was smooth but peaky (not much torque). This was a low miles car and later drives in other Corollas confirmed my first impression. The Corolla's suspension and steering lets the rest of the car down. The Corolla can be driven fast, but at much higher revs. The torque band is much higher and narrower and therefore not much use in everyday driving. The Corolla delivers a quiet, relatively luxurious interior and excellent fuel economy but even in the sporty model, not much fun or driver engagement. I spent too much time correcting the Corolla's hunt and peck steering to enjoy the ride.

    When I drove the Focus ST with the 2.3 liter engine it was like a revelation (especially for the price). The current Corolla is almost a carbon copy of the Focus in basic layout (more vertical arrangement)and size. Styling is subjective, but the Ford's sharp lines look sportier to me and the Corolla's softer curves a little richer but more sedate. The smaller engine in the Corolla does deliver better fuel economy but isn't very comparable in driving experience. That torque in the Ford/Mazda 2.3l makes a huge difference in driving flexibility. All depends on what you want. For me, I want to know where the front-end is going and to feel that kick that only torque can provide in any gear.

    I know Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability. Ford's reputation is not as good with the public. I've owned both and I've had better reliability and service from Ford than Toyota. (Your individual dealer always matters, no car is good enough to overcome a bad dealer.) The only service worse than my Toyota experiences are my Volkswagen experiences. I like small, sporty cars and have always had at least one in the stable. I'm cost conscious and not especially worried about what other people think. Bang for the buck matters and the Ford Focus delivers on value.

    My Focus ST is powerfully charming and delivers 38+ mpg on the highway at 55-60 mph. It delivers 30+ mpg at 70-75 mph and high 27-28 mpg in town in mixed driving on 10% ethanol in Midwestern driving. All pretty good in the class. Can a Prius deliver better fuel economy? Yes. Is a Prius anywhere near the same price or fun? No. The Focus ST strikes a pretty good balance in engineering trade-offs for me.

    It's still time for a new Focus. I want side curtain airbags, better interior styling and a quieter interior, but not at the expense of the superior driving experience.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Good points, basiliskst. That's why the C-170 Focus is so good. As the slightly Corolla-ish C-1 Focus got a little more quietness, relaxing ride & less steering feel:

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ef2656e/66

    I remember sitting in the driver seat of the sport-model C-1 w/ impressively supportive long-thigh-length sport seats, but the outward vision is a very wide exterior w/ rather narrow rear-glass visibility out the back even for the sedan, which got those very low head rests that need to be raised in order to clear the intrusion for the rear passengers' upper back & that blocks the rear visibility even worse.

    "The current Corolla is almost a carbon copy of the Focus in basic layout (more vertical arrangement)and size."

    I'm 5'11" & only happy with driving position designed by tall people. Even the Swedes have to keep the seat cushion short enough for their female drivers. Just imagine how bad many Japanese designs can torture me.

    So forget about the Corolla. Even the Mazda3 needs to have the seat raised all the way just to barely provide enough thigh support for me, & then I need the moonroof-less models to clear my headroom.

    The driving position of a base S40 makes me truely happy. But even our C-170 Focus does just fine!

    By the way, our C-170 continued to improve after rest of the world discontinued it. The suspension is re-tuned again for comfort after '05. The parts dept confirmed w/ me w/ new part #s for the ST springs, shocks & swaybars.

    Is your ST an '06? Mine is an '05, therefore, doesn't got a very relaxing ride comfort.
  • Creakid1 asked, I have a 2005 black Focus ST.

    The leather/suede seats are good, but not great. I'd prefer the ability to independently tilt the seat bottom front and back and some adjustable lumbar support. That said, the seats remind me of some of my older European cars, an R5 and a Volkswagen 411. Both had very comfortable if basic seats. Like the Focus they were more chair height, with wide, firm seat bottoms and backs that hug the lower back. The Focus' seats could roll away on the front edge more gradually. Sometimes it's a bit sharp after a long drive. I'm 6' but drive the Focus from a fairly upright position, much taller and I'd be forced to recline the seat back.

    My ST is a comfortable car with a firm, well-controlled ride. The tires are always well-planted. None of the floaty, lumpiness of many competitors. My primary complaint is the road noise transmitted into the interior. The noise is more wearing on a long, high-speed trip than the seats. Toss in a few curves and the noise is worth it.

    The American version of the Focus still honors its European heritage with a ride-handling balance skewed heavily towards sporty control and feedback with less concern for cushy ride comfort. Occasionally I'll hit a stretch of expansion strips at just the right frequency to remind me that the Focus is a small, relatively short wheelbase car, but mostly the ride is firm, controlled and relatively smooth.

    I'm still impressed after several thousand miles. The Focus ST is fun in every day driving in a way that bigger more expensive sports cars can't be. You can't legally drive most of the expensive, over-achievers anywhere close to their limits. The ST is not perfect, but it's awfully good, especially for the price. I'd pay for more sound proofing, better seats, a more stylish interior, and current safety additions, but my 2005 is still surprisingly competent, especially for the price. I'm a lawyer in my mid-40s and grin every time I drive the ST.
  • Okay, I've been to Mexico a couple of times the past few years, and have noticed the European Foci before, as well as the regular North American version. You can tell them from the US/Canadian model because they have the side turning indicators below the door mirrors and yellow turn signal indicators on the tailights.

    But isn't the Focus for the US & Canada made in Mexico? Why would they import it?

    I wish they'd bring the Euro version over. I'd consider that model, but I don't care for the 2008 refresh. Just looks kind of ugly to me. The interior looks interesting, I'll give it that much...

    Man, if I could bring them into the country, I'd drive one up from Mexico back up here...And they get the new Mondeo too!

    I'll never understand their vehicle lineup. I know the Euro model is more expensive than the NA model, but why not at least import it as a Mercury? As another poster mentioned, GM finally got a clue and is using Saturn to bring in some of their Euro products here. Ford could do the same with Mercury instead of just rebadging existing NA Ford product.

    At least in Mexico they get the choice.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "But isn't the Focus for the US & Canada made in Mexico?"

    Not since the '05 facelift (U.S.-built only).

    I spoke to a driver in Mexico about his Euro-spec (yellow rear turn signals, better-equipped dashboard, lock-able gas cap, different bumpers, etc.) C-170 Focus. He thinks his car is made in Mexico. I thought that once the Mexican factory stopped supplying the cheap-spec U.S. Focus, it simply applied the Euro-spec as their '05 facelift, b/c I saw this car in their Ford-dealer show room last year. I wasn't sure if it was built domestically or imported from Europe b/c Europe's C-170 production might have already been converted to the new C-1.

    & then lately I saw the new expensive C-1 (imported from Europe) in their new-car show room:

    http://www.ford.com.mx/vehicles/vehicles.asp?idModel=FOC

    Too bad -- 2.0 only. I wish they import the 1.6, which has better steering feel due to the conventional hydraulic pwr steering, so I can bring one (w/ stick) over here just make people in the U.S. territory look stupid w/ their ugly '08 creation. :P

    I sat in an '05 C-1 Focus overseas w/ sport package. & these front blue-cloth/leather sport seats are so cool w/ the super-long & supportive thigh cushion -- something you wouldn't find in a Japanese-engineered IS300.

    Mexicans can still buy the cheap Fiesta as their entry-level Ford sedan.

    "I know the Euro model is more expensive than the NA model, but why not at least import it as a Mercury?"

    They did. At first it was the pre-'79 Mercury Capri.

    Then later they changed the brand name to German & called it "Merkur". The Sierra 3-dr w/ the engine replaced by a turbocharged 2.3 Pinto engine was called the XR4Ti. The Scorpio 5-dr had the original 2.9 V6. Neither one was reliable.

    Another European lemon was Rover's Acura-Legend based sedan imported from Britain & sold under the "Sterling" (just to sound British) name plate.

    Again, the reputation of these North-America-only "made-up Euro name plates" all went down the drain.
  • hey did you ever figure out what it was? I am having that problem now also.
  • can you program a key on a 2002 ford focus with just one key?
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Only if you are a dealer with a console to hook the car up to.

    Most dealers charge $75 for this.

    Mark.
  • Just purchased a used 05 focus sedan SE, with 33500 miles. The engine has a sort of vibration in low gears and when idling. I can feel it in the steering wheel. Find that the engine is a little noisy at idle, aside from the vibration. Is this normal for a Focus? Is there anything that I should get checked while it still is in warranty?
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    think of the 08 Focus?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,931
    i have been on a bad streak with running over stuff.
    i go to work early in the morning and until i get to the highway the roads have little/no lighting. in the last month or a little longer, i have run over a piece of firewood, some critter that was about the size of a med size dog(not a dog), ran through an ice wall left by a plow the crossed my path as i was headed downhill on an icy street. i think i hit another chunk of ice after that too.
    the other day my radiator fan assembly fell out. i reconnected it into the mounts as best i could.
    bought to the dealer. getting stuff that needs to be fixed done, but i feel bad for my car. :cry:
  • jeromebjeromeb Posts: 31
    My 2003 Ford Focus SE suddenly started making a sound which I described as "A vacuum leak related to the ignition timing"
    It sounded as a like my bicycle did when I affixed a playing card to the tire fork so that the wheel spokes would thwap the card as the wheel turned. The local dealer diagnosed it as a broken EGR tube and gladly replaced it as well as performed some other maintenance chores they could find.

    If you are handy with a wrench and your Ford Focus develops a sound which resembles a playing card thwaping the spokes of a bicycle ... you might be able to save yourself a couple hundred bucks by replacing a little rubber hose which runs from the exhaust to the intake.

    I actually like my little Focus. It could do with better fuel economy, but the performance and handling are ok for me.
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