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Ford Focus ZX5

pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
From the 2001 New York Auto Show, here's a direct link to's article of the 2002 Ford Focus ZX5. Please return here to post your comments.


What do you think? ;-)

Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards


  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    I think the car looks nice. I'm interested in five-door hatchbacks and it appears as though Hyundai won't be offering its Elantra GT until late fall. The Focus ZX5 may be an option. Any word on estimated prices? When does it go on sale?

    I should note that I saw the exact car pictured above when I went to the NY auto show. Now, I'm not trying to disparage Ford (I own a Mustang) but the build quality of the ZX5 was just awful. The tailgate was visibly misaligned (check out the monster gap in the photo) and the tail lamps were slightly askew. Ford chose to display the car in that condition? I could forgive them if it was a one-off or concept car but the Focus has been in production for over two years. They've had time to work out the bugs.

    Given the number of problems owners have posted in the ZX3 boards I am wary of purchasing the ZX5. But I may take a chance if the price was right. It seems like buying a Focus is a hit-or-miss proposition depending on what day a particular vehicle was built. I'd rather go to Atlantic City to gamble, not a Ford dealer.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    You're absolutely right about those MONSTER gaps and misalignment.
    You're also right about the tail lamps and hit-or-miss proposition.
    Nice observation.
    It seems that Ford's QC couldn't care less about those common to the ZX3 defects even in the SHOW !!! cars.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    It's coming to the market this fall as a '02 model.
    Don't know the exact release date.
    BTW, I hear that the Elantra GT's first allocation is scheduled to arrive at the dealer lots in mid-late June.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    More like winter from what I am hearing. Supply will be tight so it could be later than that. Pro-5s should be arriving next month. KBB says Matrix will be a summer intro but I doubt it. I'd wait in the ZX5 until the new 2.3L 4 is available. Sounds like the 2.0 is an underpowered gas guzzler.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Looks like Ford will continue to hold on the new engine until the next Focus redesign.
    Fall of '03 as '04 model?
    And the Matrix probably won't be out until the next year. (lots of confusing info regarding the release dates of the Matrix/Vibe duo.
  • cjaccettacjaccetta Posts: 236
    Glad someone else saw that huge panel gap. Vadp, your profile states you are a focus owner. How has your car been behaving?

    I'd like to buy a 5-door H/B because my wife and I have bikes, skis, etc., that we take with us when we travel. I'm going to give the ZX5 a look, but the construction quality gives me pause. Honestly, the Kia Rio I saw at the auto show looked like it was bolted together tighter than the Ford!

    By the way, the Mercury Marauder on display at the NYIAS also had visible build flaws (but it IS a concept car). But the Forty-Nine and the Bullitt Mustang were awesome.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to bash Ford. I love my old beat-up Mustang. I'm also going to follow the progress of the ZX5 and try to test drive one as soon as I can.
  • srosssross Posts: 33
    For some reason the ZX5 really appeals to my heart, but everything I've read about build quality, recalls, etc. makes my head think I'd be a fool to buy one. Maybe I'm just trying to relive my 20s, when I drove a 5-door VW Golf. Since then I've had a Honda Accord (totally dependable, solid, kind of boring), which I traded in for a used Audi A4 (fun to drive, but haunted--unusually bad luck in dents, repairs).

    The appealing things about the Focus are its handling, fresh styling, practical use of space, AdvanceTrac, and upcoming availability of the 6-disc CD changer. But if I trade in the A4, will I end up resenting the Focus's noise, depreciation, and reliability?
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    I bought my car a year ago through - one of the on-line middle men that were subsidizing every deal, hoping to get big in no time (paid $850 under Invoice, yes Invoice)
    It was delivered on a flatbed truck. Upon the close inspection I found many body fitting defects but decided to keep the car. The deal was too good to pass over.
    This is what I found:
    The gaps in the tail gate area - huge.
    The driver side door - slightly misaligned and closing with a metallic kind of a cling.
    The driver side rear quarter window - placed too close to the door, almost touching the door frame.
    The gap between the front fender and the passenger door is extremely large (even for an american car).
    The molding at the base of the windscreen peeling off.

    These are the flaws I found during my brief 2-min. inspection upon delivery.
    During the next several months it developed other numerous and mostly very annoying problems like constantly squeaking (very loud, a school bus like noise) rear brakes, malfunctioning fuel gauge, very notchy (1st and 3rd gear) shifting 5-speed tranny, weird noises coming from the tranny at idle (my neighbors thought I drive a diesel), sticky accelerator tip-in when cold.

    Regarding the gaps. I was trying to talk to some of the ZX3 owners about the flaw. All of them were looking at me like I'm an idiot when I tried to explain to them that even the Kia Rio (yes, I used that example too) and the Huynday Accent have very tightly assembled bodies in comparison and very uniform body gaps all around. "No, no, it can't be that the Koreans learned how to build quality cars." I guess this kind of ignorance on behalf of the buyers is what allows Ford to get away with its super sloppy build quality.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I will say as a 2000 ZTS owner (the sedan version made in michigan) that I am very happy with my Focus. The recall's where the only pain, and they weren't really that bad to deal with. Just got them done in conjuction with regular servicing. VADP, I know you've been here for a while and spare no chance to disparage the focus, and you are probably justified if you have had those problems with your ZX3. On a side note, I wonder what is different between the Hermesillo plant and the Wayne plants in manufacturing? And for some reason, I have a pretty good ford dealership (Fred Jones - Part of the auto collection in Oklahoma City). Build quality is good on my car. Maybe I'm the odd man out, but I am very happy. I'm not dedicated to any brand, so I did shop around between VW, Honda, Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai and the Focus was the best balance of handling, performance, room and of course, price. Not personally attacking you VADP, just letting them know that there are some happy focus owners out there. By the way, have you been over to the Focaljet website. They've got a good forum over there.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Are you accusing me in something?

    The only reason I decided to take a chance and buy a Ford product was the chearful reviews from about everybody, starting with the auto mags and ending with the actual owners.
    I closely follow the Focus related boards and was able to make a very interesting observation.
    A lot of the owners were exctatic shortly after the purchase. No doubt, the design is sound. The Focus quickly became an industry benchmark for roominess and handling abilities in its price range.
    A year later a lot of the owners are still in love with the car. The surprising part is how they report their experiences now. Usually it looks something like this:
    "My car is leaking water. The front suspension is making strange sounds when I go over the bumps. The fuel gauge was replaced twice and still have problems registering full after a fillup. But I still love my car and enjoy every minute of driving it." Or " After five visits to the dealer with the recalls, faulty fuel pump, broken clutch spring, rear wheel bearing that went bad after 5000 miles and the auto tranny that died at the 10000 miles I still like the car. Everything was fixed under warranty and the dealer was kind enough to provide a loaner. Other than that, my car is still perfect. I never regret the decision to go with the Focus. This car rocks."
    Don't you think that there is something wrong with the picture?
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    ..have had more than teething pains with their foci. However, a lot of these complaints are not far off of other vehicle models out their. My observation was, 1) My own experience with my focus (a 2000 model, the recalls aside) has been very good, and I am very happy. 2) as a lurker to these boards for a long time, you seem to go out of your way to make a point of lambasting the focus.

    I'm not saying that all foci are fantastic, obviously they're not. I do think that your own experience is abnormal from the average. Also, most of the actual unhappy foci owners suffer from poor to terrible dealers that unfortunatly, in my opinion, Ford has too many of. However, I have a great dealer, and a great car. So while you are at one end of the spectrum, I, apparently, am at the other. I was mearly myself heard so that other's who are interested in the focus might not think that your opinion is the only one out there about the Focus since you post negatively in about every forum that might concern the focus. Edmund's long term ZX3 hasn't been doing too bad has it? I do remember something about a door trim peace scraping someone though. I also wonder if there is a big deference between Euro built foci and N.A. built ones. I realize that it's hard to infer someones attitude in a posted message, but I wasn't (and am not) angry at you if that's the way it came across.

  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    <<<you seem to go out of your way to make a point of lambasting the focus.>>>
    <<<you post negatively in about every forum that might concern the focus.>>>

    If you see it that way, so be it.
    As you just said every voice should be heard. And it's not my fault that the negative tone is becoming a predominant one. The market forces will sort the things out. The info is out there and readily available. (thank you, Edmunds!)
    I just wish that it were available when I was shopping for the car.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    1) Looking around at this and other boards outside of Edmunds, I still do not feel that your opinion is the majority. If I am wrong than I'm sorry.

    2) As far as knowing what problems may (or may not) exist with a car. That is the problem of buying a first year model car. I typically do not by a first year model of a car, regardless of make. However, I did violate this rule with this car, and am happy.

    3) I have no problem with you voicing your opinion. Even if I do feel it's a bit overboard in your hatred of the focus.

    It's probably time to get this subject back on track. Anyone heard of any potential pricing on the ZX5 yet? I would expect it to be less than the wagon. Also would expect it to be less then the Protege sportwagon and more than the Hyundai Elantra GT hatch. Which is a very interesting car too. I hope it gets here sooner then the December that some people are reporting.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    ..since the ZX5 is still not built here in North America, was the ZX5 show car just one built in, and imported from, Europe? Or did they one off (or two) build for the show? The latter seems unlikely. So I'd assume this is one from the Plant in Germany? Any guesses? Just curious.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    I'm glad you're both getting the opportunity to share your points of view on your current Ford Focus experience/problems (good points on both sides, btw). But since this subject is about the upcoming Ford Focus ZX5, let's please continue that subject in a more appropriate discussion. Okay?

    To start, here's Ford Focus Problems (Hatchbacks) and Ford Focus ZX3 Owners-Care & Maintenance. Thanks!

    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards

  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    kinda thought I had
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    Guess I took too long composing my last message.... had to step away for a moment. Anyway, thanks for bringing this discussion back on topic. ;-)

    Hatchbacks/Station Wagons Message Boards
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I didn't mean to get this one off topic. I'm very interested in the ZX5 as a second car. That or a Protege 5-door, or the Elantra GT. I'm just glad to see 5-door hatches coming back to the states. I would have bought the ZX5 originally, but they didn't bring it over from Europe when they did the others. Too bad. I needed 4 doors more than I needed a hatch. Also interested to see when Honda will bring it's 5-door out. I hear the 3-door's on it's way soon.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    It (ZX5) should be way less than the Protege5.
    I don't understand Mazda's pricing strategy. It's placing the Protege hatch dangerously close to the Subaru Impreza TS and Outback Sport.
    So far the Impreza looks like the hottest deal out there, if you like and need those features (like the 165 hp boxer engine and AWD - both are standard)
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I really don't need the AWD, but if the price get's close I'd probably take the scooby over the protege. I'm curious as to who Mazda feels the Protege is competing with. Do they see it as a cheaper alternative to the station wagons out there? What do they think of it in relationship to the ZX5 or Elantra GT. At the price break it's looking like it will end up at, I really think that Mazda should strap on a few more ponies. Maybe something in the 150hp range like the MP3.
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