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Ford Focus ZX3 / SVT vs. Honda Civic Si / RSX

revkarevka Posts: 1,750
to discuss the Ford Focus vs. the Honda Civic Si.

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Thanks for your participation!

Revka
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Comments

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    A couple notes about comparing vehicles in cyberspace: Civility and respect underlie the success of an online community such as Town Hall. Please respect and interact with fellow members as you would in any public arena. Thanks!


    Helpful Links: Look for direct links to Ford Focus and Honda Civic Si new vehicle information on the left side of the page in the Helpful Links box. Also, keep your eyes open for other related articles, discussions, and tools to be linked to that area.


    Revka

    Host

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards

  • If you don't count the host that is .. ::)

    I have a 02 SI. Love this little car although I believe it's cursed. The SVT may be faster, may have a 6-speed, may have 17" wheels but it's a Ford and 15" tires are much cheaper to replace than 17's. I'll trade the above-mentioned advantages for a better interior, smoother transmission, better build quality, and the SI's awesome steering wheel.

    Also interesting to note than even with the Mustang and the SVT/Focus in Ford's fleet there are nowhere on the radar when it comes to what cars appeal to Gen-Y. Honda is 1st @ 28.77%, VW is 2nd @ 18.49%, and Acura is 3rd @ 16.44% and they are followed by Pontiac, Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai, and KIA according to this month's issue of Motor Trend.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Just took a look at the latest CAR mag which is being published in the UK. They're talking about their experiences with the long term Civic TypeR which is being build in Swingdon, on the same assembly line as your Civic Si.
    They praise the car and its performance.
    They also mentioned about some unusual feedback they were getting from the British owners.
    According to them the Civic hatch doesn't seem to be reliable, at least not as reliable as their previous models.
    Lots of complains about excessive oil consumption - I mean EXCESSIVE (as much as several liters per 7,000 miles), easily chipped paint, rattles everywhere, easily scratchable dashboard and some other things.
    The funny thing is that when the editors contacted Honda demanding an explanation the factory just blamed the dealers???
    The oil consumption thing was mentioned numerous times on the Civic Si forum.
    Sounds like the new Honda engine does like to burn oil and not just during the break-in period.
  • to that article. Otherwise it's just cow manuer. I can say that I read an article where the SI was tested faster than a Vette but unless

    I provided a link to it noone would believe me.


    I can say that since you have a Focus you should trade that in for a SI and burn a little oil .. at least you can check your oil. Not much you can do about your suspension falling off, brakes failing, windshield wipers falling off, or your car catching on fire.


    http://www.newschannel9.com/vnews/print/consumer/1030144296

    http://www.jsonline.com/wheels/peak/jun02/49111.asp

    http://www.fordfocusbrakeproblems.com

    http://www.safetyforum.com/fordfocus/

    http://cartalk.cars.com/Columns/Archive/2002/July/05.html


    OMG ...... DONT EVER DRIVE THAT CAR AGAIN!!! In fact I think you should have it towed to even the Hyundai dealer. Anything has got to be better than the Focus.

  • with my ZX3. i have no complains. it drives like a rocket. i hope i'll soon have a oportunity to blow away a civic or a hummdie, with my 130hp and 135 ft/lbs. thats stock and i will upgrade. to everyone who got scared by all those recalls about focus, hear this. my focus drives and handles like a charm. stop reading the headlines and believing in what they say 100%. their job is to find things and blow them out of proportions. i had owned several models of cars ranging from 1985 monte carlo to my current 2002 zx. i have never had any kind of thing fall off or burn up on any of those cars although i'm sure there was plenty of recalls for everyone of them. and i never took anything back to a dealer for a recall. focus is a good car and a good design but since it was a BRAND NEW design it had couple of things that needed addressed. since then it has continually climbed on reliability charts. think about how many recalls civic must have had when the model was introduced in japan 15 or 20 years ago. and then think about the fact than 3 year old design such as focus managed to grab car of the year award in europe. to put it simply look at the situation from all the angles. not just what the papers tell you. also unlike civic focus participates in wrc but i'm not sure how to use that as an argument.lol
  • The Focus competes in WRC but doesn't compete with Peugot or Subaru. Out of all of the races they have only won 1 race. Unlike the Focus the Civic competes in British Touring Cup races where it regularly wins the production class. I don't know about you but I think that BT racing which is on asphalt is a much better real-world driving test than blasting your car up and down through the woods in the snow. And I might add the Focus in WRC is 4WD so if I were you I wouldn't be planning to take my Focus out on the rally circuit .. at least if you want to keep driving it.

    As for the US Focus .. it's a PR nightmare for Ford. The car is now a 3 year old design and they still have safety investigations going on. I will admit that the Civic had a few first year niggles but they were all addressed and the quality is back up to Honda levels. And even the issues that the Civic had were more on the lines of rattles and misaligned trim pieces. Not gas tanks falling off, defective suspensions, bad brakes, etc.

    I'm surprised that you didn't take your car in for the recall work. The point of a recall is that it COULD happen to your car and if it does after they have issued the recall you have nobody to blame but yourself, and consequently, no one to sue.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    In accordance with our Membership Agreement, profanity (even masked profanity) is not allowed at Town Hall.


    To those concerned: please check your email. We invite you to edit your message and copy/paste it back into this discussion. Thanks for understanding this is a family oriented website. Also, feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments.

    And now, back to the subject of the Ford Focus ZX3/SVT vs. Honda Civic Si.

    Revka

    Host

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards

  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    Wow, thank you for the advise.

    I stayed home all day today.

    Then went out and checked my gas tank, suspension, brakes.

    Hmmm... Everything still looks good at 55,000 miles.

    Recalls, yes I had a couple:


    1. Plastic trim on the B-pillar replaced.

    2. A back seat hinge updated.

    3. The windshield viper motor checked (I don't even know if they replaced it or not).


    That's all so far - the build date 05/2000.


    BTW, do you ever visit the Civic forums?

    Apparently, not. Because it seems that you never heard about the 2001 Civics being recalled for how many times, three?

    Don't forget about a bunch of TSB's issued.

    Doesn't seem to be all that different from the Focus.

    Yet we never hear about this from the media.


    O, and my Focus doesn't burn a single "drop" of oil between changes. Same is with the most cars nowdays, even the cheapest ones.


    Yes, the North American Focus built between the end of '99 and early '00 earned a reputation of a recall champion.

    Thank you Ford. But still it's not as bad as you want us to believe.

    BTW the Euro-built Focus got the highest quality ratings in its class and was able to beat the Japanese.


    But still, because of your passionate antipathy toward the Focus, I'm still so afraid to drive my car that I might start looking at the oil burning and rattling Civics Si.

    But if it's such a problem I would consider something else.


    Some quotes from the long awaited article:


    "...despite Honda's reputation for build quality, the Swindon-made Type-R was riddled with problems."


    "The official response was that while oil consumption was on the high-ish side, it was still within the upper limit of Honda's acceptable level; that meant 4.5 litres(~4.3 qts) in 7000 miles for one reader."


    Here is the link.

    Go to their Fast Fleet section and choose Civic Type-R:


    http://www.evo.co.uk/

  • On the recalls ...

    Ford has issued 11 recalls on the Ford Focus since it's introduction here. The Civic has had 3 recalls since it's redesign in 2001. 11 recalls vs. 3 is a HUGE difference. On top of that the Focus is currently in the midst of SIX more investigations by NHTSA.


    http://www.jsonline.com/wheels/peak/nov02/93157.asp


    A little quote from the article:


    "Ford has sold 817,552 Focus cars in the U.S. since 1999, according to Autodata Corp. figures. The recalls announced today represent 70% of that total"


    By comparison the 3 recalls on the Civic totalled approximately 186,000 cars out of 700,000 sold, or roughly 26%. It has since had no recalls and is not currently the subject of any investigations.


    On the TSB's ..

    www.alldata.com provides TSB information. According to this the Civic had 26 TSB's in 2001 and 3 in 2002. The Focus had 30 in 2000 and then if you wade through all of the recalls you will see that it had 30 again in 2001. Looks obvious to me that Honda's reputation for steadily improving and maintaining the quality of their products is at work while Ford is showing why they are near the bottom on most consumer quality surveys in the US.


    The Euro-built Focus' quality does not do US buyers any good. That does not speak alot for Ford's manufacturing and quality control process if a car can have stellar reliability in 1 country and terrible reliability in another. Honda is highly rated throughout all of it's markets.


    You can harp on the oil consumption and the rattles if you like but it's interesting to note that the reviewers themselves had no significant problems with either issue. They had no unscheduled repairs and in the end they enthusiastically recommended the CTR and said that they actually missed it. Additionally, the CTR engine is not identical to the engine that we get here in the US. It's more closely related to the Acura RSX-S engine.

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,842
    The fun SVT Focus has a 5 door available in 2003. I've always liked the practicality of a hatch and this one offers quite a lot of performance also. I was considering a SVT and went with the Si due to the excellent initial value (I paid less than $16K) and better resale value compared to a Focus. If they were the same price I would take a SVT 5 door Focus over the Honda.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    O.K.

    I took a look at clubrsx.com and their problems forum. http://forums.clubrsx.com/

    Performed a quick search for "oil" and look what I've found:


    "another problem is that my car looses oil. from 7500 to 15000 miles it burned 2 quarts and in the last 1000 miles it burned 1 quart, which is now mobil 1 and kind of expensive."


    And


    "I have been checking RSX Type S's oil levels before I change oil & I can tell you they are oil consumers.Most are at least 1 quart low after about 3k.If you wait longer they will be even lower."


    And


    "I think acura is feeding customers a line here. There is no way a car should consume 1 qt of oil for every 1000K, that means that for the life of the average oil change you will put at least 3-4 qt's of oil in the car?. I'm ready to go in and return the car; I refuse to incur cost for someone else’s mistake."


    And


    "I check my oil 1-2 times per week. For the first 4300 miles it used .2 quarts, and 5000 miles later at the second oil change another .2 quarts. I now have 11,000 miles and I have used about .3 quarts in the last 2000 miles."


    And

    "do you guys think we should collect signature and send it to Acura for oil comsumption problem, because i remember that Chris or someone did collect our name and VIN# for the 2nd grind before just wondering should we do the same thing for Oil consumption???????"

    And

    "This is my 3rd Homda product as well. The other two have never burned a drop of oil. My car doesn't burn quite as much as yours, but it's about 1 quart every 1,500 to 2,000 miles."

    And so on...


    Thank you, anonymousposts.

    You kinda pushed me in the right direction so I was able to find an answer to my question.


    Good luck with your Civic.

    It's not on my list anymore.


    <a href="http://forums.clubrsx.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=35134&highlight=oil

  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Instead of searching for lemons on the internet, or researching the NHTSA data base for recalls/tsb's on the vehicle you don't own, how about some actual first hand experiences?

    Aside from moparbad (post 11), has anyone else here shopped the Focus and Civic Si side by side? Or even test driven the vehicle here that they do not own?

    How about an lists of objective pro/cons for each vehicle? What made you decide on one over the other?

    Was reliability your main concern, or were there other features and options which made one stand out over the other...?

    Also try to do this without bashing the vehicle you did not choose.
    Is there anything about the other vehicle that you wish your vehicle had?

    That would be more interesting, imo. Who's game?

    Revka

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    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    metallic pedals, bigger disk brakes, better sound system.

    Should be good enough for Revka.
  • With the exception of the 6 speed transmission your SI can have everything on your wish list.

    I chose the SI because of it's smooth transmission, smooth engine, prior Honda experiences, and comfy seats. I did not even consider the Focus because of it's past history involving several potentially life-threatening problems as opposed to one problem that can be monitored or even avoided with proper break-in techniques.
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    keeping in mind the current crop of Focuses are better built than when it was first introduced in US, will you still consider the reliability as a deterrant factor??

    Of course it still will be for you coz' of your blind loyalty to the H.

    No matter what anyone says, the Si will always be the best car period under $20k.

    Shortcomings from other cars are not acceptable but shortcomings from the Si are acceptable. Notably the smaller rims, excessive oil consumption, buzzing and rattling from trims, dash bubbling, lower HP compared to competition etc.

    A note for everyone. No point trying to debate anything with anony. In the end, anony will always point out the unquestionable iron clad reliability of the Civic over any other car and she'll say 160HP is enough for most people. Let's not forget the seats and most important of all, the H emblem.
  • Reading your post makes my wonder why you bought the SI and not the Focus.

    Smaller rims are not a problem. A set of 17" SSR GT1's complete with tires runs about $1200. Stock 17" wheels do no good if you don't like the design of them in the first place. I'd rather have the 15"s as winter tires and the 17" as summer tires.

    I read the owner's manual, followed the break-in period religiously (even gave it a couple hundred extra miles because people were reporting slight oil consumption at the beginning) and to date my car has burned 1 quart of oil and has not burned any since 3000 miles.

    Buzzing and rattling? What buzzing and rattling. Guess I got the perfect SI.

    Dash bubbling? 1 owner reported this on Edmunds. I have not seen any other reports of this and obviously my car doesn't do this either.

    The SI has 10 less HP than the Focus to go along with it's 10 less recalls. It has 15 less HP than the Spec-V which has a rear axle and was a sedan. Even with the HP disadvantage and having one less gear it is within .3 seconds of both above-mentioned cars. It also gets the best observed fuel economy by 6MPG. These numbers are from the Nov. 2002 issue of R&T.

    You are right, there is no point trying to debate anything because when all of the facts are considered the SI is the best hatch under $18,000 (I now consider the Mazda 6 to be the best car at the $20,000 mark). What it lacks in tire size and HP it makes up with a more efficient engine, better safety, better projected reliability, and it comes from a company that has long since proved that when it comes to performance oriented cars that will start every morning and save you at the gas pump they can't be beat.

    Did I mention the Ford Focus only scores 1 star in rear occupant safety? Is that worth a .3 second advantage to you? If it is, just don't put a baby seat in the back.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Well nothing wrong with feeling good about your own car, imo. However, you make a good point about the current Focus being better built. If (perceived) reliability was not a deciding factor, how would these cars measure up... one against the other? Let's not forget that someone that leases (like myself), or trades in every couple years, may not be so concerned about reliability.

    And to everyone - To keep the discussion moving in the right direction, let's keep the focus on why you like one vs. the other, and not so much on what other participants here think. Okay? So who's next?

    Revka

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    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • I haven't had any problems with my Si yet, just under 4000 miles. (knock on wood) I don't really think the ZX3 can really compare with the Si, except that a loaded ZX3 and an Si now go for about the same price.

    hamproof says:
    "No matter what anyone says, the Si will always be the best car period under $20k."

    I think that's true for right now, but I wouldn't say "always."
  • hamproofhamproof Posts: 241
    modify their cars mechanically. When we frequent auto forums, it seems like everyone is modding his or her car left and right. Not everyone wants to modify their car. A lot of people are happy with the way the car is and if Honda were to include 17" instead of the 15" w/ AS tires, we won't have so many complains that we hear about from the reviewers.

    Tirerack.com has SSR GT1 for either $300 or $330. So, in my calculation, even with ultra affordables Kumhos, you are looking at an additional $1600 for a set of 17". Or if you choose Michelins or Bridgestones, it will be around $1800. Now, that's a huge chunk of change for me. Maybe not so for you.

    If the Si is the best hatch under $18k, the numbers sure don't show it. It may be the best Japanese made hatch under $18k coz' AFAIK, there's no other Japanese made hatch (3dr) under $18k. So, by default, the Si wins. If that's your argument. If you exclude the Germans and Americans, there's your Si for you.

    I'm like you in choosing the Si. I chose it not because it is the best hatch for me. I too buy into the perceived reliability of the H. But at least I see the shortcomings of the Si.

    You can report all you want about the problem free Si you are driving. I've drove it for a total of 3 days since I bought it 3 weeks ago. Was gone on vacation. But I've read enough complains from other drivers that I do not believe the Si is prefect. I just hope it will be problem free for me. Just as there are people who have problems with the Focus, there are also countless others who have Focuses that are trouble free. Otherwise, Ford will not sell as many as they are selling them. Though to be fair most are the cheaper Focuses and not the SVT.

    It would be interesting to see how many SVTs are sold compared to the Si.

    Just because you don't hear about problems with the Si as you would the Focus, it doesn't mean Civics or Hondas are trouble free. Just as your Civic is prefect, it doesn't mean mine will be or others will also.

    You seem to have the tendency to point out all the shortcomings of the competitors while putting your Civic on a pedestal praising it.

    Like Revka says, if you take away all of the recalls the US Focus had (ideally the Euro Focus), and compare it to the Si, do you still think the Si is better??

    I don't see how you can say the Si is better other than the seats. Even that, I'm sure you can find an equal number of people in the world who likes the SVT seats over the Si seats. All auto reviewers have praised the handling of the Focus. Better brakes, more power and better looking.

    Although the latter I disagree. But again, looks are subjective. I like the looks of the Si over the Focus.

    But on things that are subjective it is hard to compare. Things like bigger disk brakes, more HP, bigger rims etc. are things we can generally agree upon. So, take away all the recalls the Focus have had in the beginning and concentrate on the later built Focus, coz' Ford seem to have fixed most of the problems.
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