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Ford Focus Sedan

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  • I have a 2005 Ford Focus ST with the 2.3 liter I4 engine and 5-speed manual transmission. This was the sportiest model for 2005 and is fully optioned with traction control, sunroof, heated leather seats and more. I have 70,000 trouble free miles on the Focus now and still grin when I drive it. It is the most satisfying small car I've ever had. I've driven lots of highway miles between Minneapolis and Phoenix and the chair height seats and compliant ride let me comfortably do 12-hour days without being saddle sore. Ford got so much right on the Focus. The independent rear suspension gives a far smoother and more compliant ride than most competitors that ride on twist beam solid rear axles. The 2008 and 09 have updated interiors and exteriors but the basic goodness of the chassis and layout remain. Plus Ford's quality is now solidly above average and on par with the best of the Japanese according to statistical reviews. My problem free experience is consistent with that. It's frustrating to read the news of auto industry problems where Ford gets lumped in with Chrysler or GM. Ford is in much better shape from consistently high quality to stronger financial condition. In my experience, the Focus is a much better choice than the Corolla. The Civic has strengths, but long distance comfort isn't one of them. The Focus is both technically on par or superior to the competition in key areas and is a better value. Focus sales are up dramatically in 2008 with the remodeled Focus, strong fuel economy numbers, and the Sync music system. It's easy to see why. I've driven a lot of small cars and the Focus still excels and satisfies.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I agree that the independent rear suspension is a BIG plus on the Focus. I have had several "twist axle" rear suspensions (Honda Fit, Scion xA, Nissan Versa, and my old and current Cobalts) and all of them give a solid "thump" and "loose" "jumpy" feeling when I hit swells on the freeway. My current Focus (and all the prior ones) handled those sorts of freeway irregularities just fine.

    My '09 has a much better suspension "tune" than my '05 had. My '05 suffered from the bean counter decision to forego the rear sway bar except on the upscale SES trim lines. The '09 is missing the rear sway bar, too, but it has the same taut handling as the early Focii which all had rear sway bars - apparently Ford adjusted coil spring rates, shock and strut rates to make the car truly handle well without a rear sway bar. Which means on the S and SE trims, the Focus is TRULY fully independent at the rear.

    What has degraded, imho, is the tire grip. It felt fine on the fuel saving Hankook Optimo 725's (which, in non-OEM format got good marks from Consumer Reports in their all-season tire tests) BUT this morning I noticed the car does NOT feel well connected through the tires and when I take freeway sweeping curves, I have to turn the steering wheel more - I think these tires don't grip as much and require more "slip angle" at the front end to do their job. Please note that suspension damping and body lean are all good, it is just the tires, the final connecting piece, not doing their job.

    I'm not that excited about changing tires (I would move to Kumho KH16's which I've used before, or to the more expensive, highly rated, but unproven by me Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S). Money is too tight now, and I hate to waste the stock tires.

    If you buy the Coupe instead of the sedan, you get peformance tires instead of gas saving tires. If you buy the SES in the Sedan instead of the S or SE, you likewise get performance tires.

    On your other issue - Ford quality and driving dynamics - I agree they are among the best, equal to or better than Honda (in driving dynamics, at least), better in both than Toyota, and better than GM and DC. HOWEVER they made some marketing boo-boos the past few years - the current Taurus/former Five Hundred was poorly marketed (and is still poorly marketed); they were slow to issue 6 speed transmissions, and the initial releases didn't downshift briskly when needed (but "hunted" in other circumstances); the 3.0 was outdated, and the great 3.5 came out just in the nick of time; the Escape was badly in need of a suspension update, which it got this year, and badly in need of an engine update, which it also got (2.5 instead of 2.3), and badly in need of more cogs in the automatic transmission, which it got this year; the Fusion needed a better base engine (the 2.5 vs. the 2.3); the Flex should have come out earlier, and came out in way-expensive "luxo" versions instead of including some bread and butter, affordable trims and models; the TaurusX, a GREAT clone of the Volvo XC90, was horribly marketed; their minivan update accomplished nothing, and then they dropped it altogether.

    On the other hand the Expedition update was great, the new F150 is great, and they still have that ace in the hole, variable valve timing, to roll out on their 4 cylinder engines (the Focus 2.0, the 2.5 in the others). When they come out with VVT, their 4's are going to rock.

    They probably also need to take the pretty much all new 3.5 and downsize it to 3.0 for the Fusion, and upsize it to 3.8 for the Mustang and Flex. Unless they can show us the 3.5 has enough power for their larger applications, but doesn't waste gas in the smaller vehicles (Fusion, Escape).

    just my 2.5 cents.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    Having no sway bar just to ensure the suspension's full independence isn't necessary the best tuning for ride/handling compromise. I just did a comparison/experimentation on my MkI Jetta's tuning.

    The factory tuning goes like this:

    1)Soft (diesel model): soft springs w/ a small rear sway bar (no front bar)

    2)Medium (gas model): medium springs w/ a small rear sway bar (no front bar)

    3)Hard (GLI/GTI): hard springs w/ a medium rear sway & a front bar

    I ended up choosing the soft springs w/ the full set of GLI/GTI front/rear bars!

    It may ride firmer than the Soft setting (but no firmer when crossing speed bumps evenly), but corners even flatter than the Medium setting. The only thing I have to watch out for is avoiding deceleration while cornering hard, as the soft springs do make the car dive pretty badly. :D I think it's a fair trade off for the comfort I've been gaining. I just have to try to accelerate while cornering in order to keep the front springs lengthy.

    The July '08 Consumer Reports found the new Americanized Focus's "steering isn't quite as crisp as it was on the original." That's right, even the SES model w/ Pirelli P6 205/50-16! So that leaves the most desirable Focus to be...
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    I prefer my '07 ST over my '05 ST. I traded in the '05 for the '07 hoping to get rid of the nauseating low-quality plastic smell, but no luck. Too bad this piece of German-engineering w/ American quality is still flawed. I better open the windows often :sick:

    At least, dynamically, the '07 is better tuned than the '05 for my taste!

    The '05 had an identical suspension as the SVT (ST170 in Europe), except the lowered springs. The '07 has a less firm springs & less-abrupt-riding shocks. But I'm still looking forward to replace w/ Gabriel shocks for relaxing ride motion.

    The '07's traction control (no longer std) is less intrusive, & I love it. It seems to be able to be defeated completely this time. Even with the aftermarket Quaife differential installed, it is still useful to leave it on during slippery conditions.

    I do missed my '05's smother shift linkage as well as the European-ish reverse lock-out ring, though.

    Now here's the best thing -- pwr steering tuning.

    The '05's is always slightly too light & therefore lacks confident-inspiring resistance during high speed ramps. I tried to temper w/ the steering-pump wiring, but only able to firm up during the mid & low speeds.

    The '07's may be even lighter at lower speeds. But above 40mph, it firms up nicely at high speed curves to feel confident inspiring! Tempering w/ the wiring only adds excessive self-centering action at all speeds to disrupt your natural resistance during cornering! So it's the best to just leave it alone!

    This kind of reminds me (Euro) Performance Car magazine's complain about Mini Cooper S's adjustable pwr steering -- heavier setting actually dulls the road feel!

    & what's so good about the Civic other than the fancy interior? The Civic Si's electric pwr steering lacks road feel so badly even the best video game can do better (see recent Car & Driver's comparison w/ Mazdaspeed3, etc.).

    Dec '08 Bimmer magazine: In the comparison test they complained about the Mercedes C300 Sport's lack of steering feel, the BMW 328i's little steering feel, &, despite the mighty powertrain, the BMW 335i being less fun to drive than the 3-series from the previoius generations due to lack of feel/involvement.

    I still can't imagine which sedan out there today steers better than the '07 Focus ST 2.3 :P Even with such quick ratio, it still tracks straight for relaxing cruising. This can not be said about the fun E36 3-series w/ or w/o the quick-ratio steering rack (from the std Z3) installed!
  • I purchased the first 2000 Focus LX sedan with 5 speed our local dealership received. The car has performed beautifully for almost 9 years. It has been a daily driver the entire time and is starting to show age. Unfortunately, due to growing kids, 11 and 7, I will need to go bigger in the next couple of years. This car was my first new car purchase and it has been the best car I have ever owned. I tell everyone who is looking for a small car to drive one first and then test the rest. I would buy another one tomorrow if I could part with this one. It is getting rusty but it is still trusty!! :)
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I don't know what Ford changed, but the manual transmission in '09 isn't as smooth, or as easy to drop into 1st, as the ones in my prior Focii. It's fine, but the earlier ones were exceptionally good, close to Honda standards. Anyone know if they change vendors?

    Also I have a buzz which I have isolated at the plastic sleeve that covers the seatbelt in the "b" pillar of the door. When the car is cold (cold morning) on certain rough roads there is a little buzz as the sleeve vibrates around the seatbelt channel. Easy to stop it by touching it, may insert a matchbook or something in the sleeve to dampen it, but want to check with the dealer first since, after all, it's the seat belt mechanism and I want to make sure it can do it's job.

    The engine is incredibly smooth and feels stronger than the 2.2 Ecotec in my '09 Cobalt, but that one has an automatic transmission, which may sap too much power from that larger, higher rated engine.

    The suspension and NVH in the Focus blow away the Cobalt though. This is the best small car I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot, included VW's and Japanese.
  • Focus RS. 2011 Should be the best year for the focus yet.

    ">link titlehttp://www.autoblog.com/2009/02/25/video-fifth-gear-wrings-out-fords-new-300-hp-- focus-rs/<a href="
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    What year was your previous manny tranny?

    Compare to the '05 Focus ST I used to own, my '07 Focus ST does not slip b/t gears as easily/quickly. & I hate it!

    & the '07's shifter simply looks stupid (& nerdy) w/ its dummy reverse lock out. Where's its European heritage? :mad:

    I still prefer the '07 over the '05 due to the pwr steering's stronger centering & more heft at higher speeds -- more confident inspiring.

    Maybe the '06 has the best of both... :confuse:
  • yogitech1yogitech1 Posts: 3
    I recently had an accident where I was forced out of my lane and lost control of the car hitting the gaurd rail. Upon hitting the gaurd rail the drivers side grab handle procceded to put a gash in my head down to the bone and knocking me out for a short time (long enough that the next thing I saw was the EMT. I have since removed the handle after getting the car repaired. It looks like new, and the insurance wanted to total it? lol. :P
  • yogitech1yogitech1 Posts: 3
    Does anyone know how to remove the rocker panels on the 2000 Ford focus 2 dr.? What holds them onto the car? :confuse:
  • jweirjweir Posts: 1
    Does anyone know how to change a valve cover in a 2006 Ford focus Zx4...
    Can't even find a chilton's or a aynes manual for it in a parts store...also I need a diagram of the engine compartment, so I can figure out how hard it will be to replace it...

    Trying to sell it and I found out that the valve cover has a small hole in it..
  • robflarobfla Posts: 4
    Update on my Focus.Still enjoy driving the car, but im extremely disappointed with the problems that have occured. I will list the dealer stated repairs and you judge for yourself. In addition to the problems stated in the previous post, this is what has happend. The grunting/squeaking noise is the normal result of a parking brake engaged when entering or exiting the car, loading groceries,etc. Dealer says this is normal and it persist to this day.At 3900 miles, the turn signals and hazard lights stopped working. Dealer replaced bulbs and shorted fuse. Dealer replaces bumper and rear brackets at 4000 miles. Rear lug cap falls off and is replaced at 5500 miles. Replaced right side cowl panel,discolored at 8000 miles.All dashboard guages and lights quit working,wiring assembly replaced at 9300 miles.Dealer replaced all valve stems under warranty recall at 10000 miles,one month after i had a flat tire due to a cracked valve stem. Squealing noise begins in engine at idle or driving at 10400 miles, dealer replaces tensioner assembly,drive belt. The car currently has under 11000 miles on it. Buyer beware, unless you enjoy visiting the ford repair shops and taking courtesy shuttles alot. Gas mileage improved dramaticaly after 5000 miles. I now average about 28 mpg in town. Will never buy another Ford again.
  • swindleswindle Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Focus ZX4 SE. Where do I plug in my mp3? There is an AUX button on the CD/mp3 player, but I can't find where to plug the mp3 player in. Help would be appreciated.
  • If you have a removable number pad like my 2000 it may be under that if not then it would be on the rear of the radio.
    Michael
  • lhoaglandlhoagland Posts: 1
    Has anyone ever heard of a problem with the Focus completely dying while driving? This has happened several times. The alternator has been replaced and all connections to the battery and starter have been cleaned. I don't want to throw good money after bad chasing this. Help ! ! !
  • markus5markus5 Posts: 102
    edited August 2010
    :) Hello friends,
    I check into this blog with decreasing frequency as the years go by. The 04 ZTS I purchased in Nov. '03, is actually running more incident free at 89k than in any other 2 year period. I have mentioned before cthe bean counters at Ford had their hand in some of the decisions about accessorizing this model. There are also the quirky noises from the brakes which remind me that this is an economy car.

    But every time I get behind the wheel, I am reminded of the important thing is it works so well and has better moves than most cars purporting to be high end sporty cars. Although it has seen very little in the way of fine care or polish theree is nothing here that would indicate that the Focus has seen 6 upstate NY winters never garaged.

    I have recently test drove a few brand new cars ranging from a Versa to a Suzuki Kiaschi and to indulge myself, a new V-6 Mustang Covertable. The versa was clearly an appliance type of vehicle, even if it had more power it could not get out of its own way
    a real snooze. ( they paid me $25 to take the test drive and that is why I was there) The New Suzuki claims to have 185 HP. , But it to was a CVT transmission, which I can not quite get used to.
    Ford had a promotion recently which I took part in . $50 to test drive a new car, the Fiesta which they said they would have for me was not there, and that is how I got paid for the spin in the new convertable Mustang, He did not even go along for the ride, Yes it would be wonderful I could rationalize about the 31 mpg and 300+ hp.
    Well, I got back into my Focus and drove it fast had fun and realized that this kind of freedom probably could not be had in a Mustang because the Police would be all over me.
  • basiliskstbasiliskst Posts: 55
    edited September 2010
    Our 2005 Focus ST racked up 110,00 miles before suffering an ignoble end in a car accident. It did its job and sacrificed itself to protect my daughter who was driving at the time. Hate to see it go as it was a truly superior and fun car.

    We really had almost no maintenance other than oil, tires, brake pads and regularly scheduled maintenance. At the end there where three "wear issues." The buttons on the radio had worn off some of the numbers. The center console arm rest was lose and floppy (I think it got leaned on too hard sometime late in life). And the little bin by the driver's left knee had the latch broken. (That one was my fault. In the dark I pulled up on it thinking I had a hold of the hood latch. I wasn't low enough.) Our all in fuel economy was approximately 30 mpg. We tried to find another ST to replace it, but the ST was scarce and the ST with traction control and heated leather seats, scarcer still. I guess I'll have to wait for the new World Focus and the promised new ST version.

    Favorite things remain:
    Great steering wheel. Perfect size and shape with the thick cross section and bulges at 2 and 10.
    Precise steering and supple, controlled handling. Way more fun than the typical small car. Independent rear suspension makes a huge difference.
    Great torque from the 2.3 liter motor.
    Short throw, direct feel manual gear shift.
    Chair height seats that provided good thigh and lower back support, wrapping the kidneys for grip. The heated seats were great.
    4-wheel disk brakes with ABS and Traction Control -- not offered on many small cars, especially at the time.
    Complex hinge on the trunk rather than a goose neck so closing trunk didn't intrude on cargo.
    Great safety for the size of car with high ratings and great real world performance. There was no intrusion into the passenger compartment in it's final front end collision. (Hit a much heavier SUV in the side with the Focus' nose in an intersection.)
    Great reliability with exceptionally low cost of ownership, with acquisition cost, maintenance, insurance, and fuel economy much better than average.

    Cons:
    Dashboard could be more luxurious and interior more durable, but for the price point, I'll take that trade-off.
    I'd like a 6-speed manual with a taller cruising gear for improved fuel economy and less noise.
    I'd like more sound deadening and isolation, but again for a compact economy car, I can't complain too much.
    The new World Focus reportedly has all of these improvements in a new body with new EcoBoost engines.

    All in all, the Focus ST was probably my favorite car I've ever owned, not because it was the most expensive. It was one of the least expensive cars I've ever bought. It was intended to be a third car. It was so much fun to drive it saw a lot of use. And it was still a bargain. But it was a favorite in the end even more because when push came to shove (literally), the safety was there to protect our daughter. Cars can be replaced.

    I would definitely buy a Ford again (and have -- we bought a 2008 Mercury Milan for our "big" sedan). I'm hoping to buy a new 2012 Focus ST when they become available. Our ownership experience was exceptionally good.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited September 2010
    I've sat in the new Focus III sedan in Ford's focus group almost a year ago. It's an one-size-fit-all design:

    1) The inside door handles are now located more Japanese/Lexus-like (read for short arms)

    2) The front seat cushions are tiny -- for short thighs.

    & I don't like its rear outward visibility -- the lower right corner being cut off.

    The exterior is bulky, as the platform is a shortened Volvo S80/Mondeo (also driven by James Bond in "Casino Royale"). But then, its rear leg room is also not as cramped as in the new Mazda3.

    & it does look like a down-sized current Mondeo.

    Do you think the bulkier current Mondeo is as fun as the old one? I doubt it. :P

    You know, the previous Mondeo ST220 is what the '05-07 Focus ST 2.3 sedan's styling trys to emulate -- more compact, sleek, less bulky (especially being 2 cylinders lighter under the hood, but w/ the most macho cylinder size of all Focus')...

    I am still excited about doing project on my '07 Focus ST sedan (w/ no optional side-airbags for easier seat change!), after I traded in my '05. The traction control was no longer std for '07, so that's the only option on my stripped (but special ordered) '07 ST. & it's way less intrusive than the one in the '05!

    The main noise is actually the ST exhaust, which interferes w/ human conversation. So I plan to tune the sound to a lower frequency, possibly by changing the resonator.

    I've added the Quaife (Torsen-type) differential.

    Being 5'11", I am replacing the front seats to fit me better. I've looked at the Volvo S40/V50's supportive manual cloth driver seat with multiple adjustements, but the bottom cushion seems to be too shallow to absorb road bumps. & forget about aftermarket seats like Recaro, Corbeau, Flo-fit, or even Monaco. They simply give you a bumpier ride. So after traveling to other countries, I've decided to adopt these stylish & supportive blue sport front seats from the Focus II S (Sport) in Taiwan (I believe the Focus II ST's front seats are hard-riding Recaro designs, although I've only had a brief ride in a Focus II ST taxi there). They're shaped even more S40/V50-ish, but the cushions are extremely thick & firm -- good enough for off roading. LOL Unlike when riding on the original seats, road vibration (which could not be felt through these blue sport seats in the Focus II w/ more sub-frame isolation) in my car is actually being transmitted on to my butt through these thicker-firmer-cushion new seats! But I believe their much deeper cushions will still provide more overall long-distance comfort.

    Not being able to stand the short seat cushions (especially the front passenger seat), I will give the ST sedan's original cloth interior a new face!

    This is the type of blue front sport seats being transplanted into my car from the Focus (II) Sport

    I didn't bother with the orange/black cloth sport seats

    Focus (I) SVT/ST170's std sport seats (red)

    Focus (I) SVT/ST170's std sport seats

    Focus (I) ST170's optional Recaro seats

    Focus (I) SVT/ST170's optional Recaro (leather) seats:

    Focus (II) ST's std Recaro seats

    Focus (II) RS's std racing seats
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited September 2010
    Focus III ST

    The ST version has longer seat cushion for thigh support.

    But will there be a sedan version for the U.S.?

    Will the suspension be lowered uncomfortably?

    The beauty of the '05-07 ST 2.3 sedan is having firmer sportier suspension w/o being lowered like in the SVT/ST170. Compare to the '05, the '06-07 has an even comfier/softer set up still, & (per Consumer Reports 2006) trumped all competitors from GTI, etc. in ride comfort.

    But I am not sastisfied, b/c the rebound motion is still too quick for comfort. I plan to put Gabriel shocks in my '07 ST sedan.

    By the way, VW can no longer afford to continue with the (already cost-effective) mutli-links engineered by the Focus engineer.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    edited September 2010
    Actually, VW can no longer afford to continue with the (already cost-effective) mutli-links engineered by the Focus engineer on the Golf/Jetta unless it's the expensive GTI/GLI, which has uncomfortable lowered hard suspension.

    So then the new Golf/Jetta will be Fiesta-like w/ simple rear suspension, but I am pretty sure the new Jetta w/ over 104" wheelbase will excel even the new Focus III's rear leg room.
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