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Ford Focus ZX3 vs. VW Golf



  • zxthreezxthree Posts: 6
    The Golf sells very well in Europe, where there are trade barriers limiting Japanese cars and where blatant xenophobia and nationalism are common factors. The most open, unrestricted, and competitive auto market in the world is our market here in the US, in which the Golf gets creamed by cars like the Civic. The only way VW can boost sales is through slick styling, because their engineering is second-rate. Chrysler pulled the same stunt with their "cab forward" design. Yes, cars like the Intrepid and the New Beetle look cool, but Honda builds a better engine, and a better suspension, and a better shifter, and on and on...and that's the stuff that really counts.
  • focuszx3rfocuszx3r Posts: 92
    honda cars have the most rubbery shifters. I hate the may they feel, I think I am gonna break it everytime I shift. If you are gonna buy a hatchback, get a Focus, its the best value for the money
  • orlockorlock Posts: 25
    The Focus speedometer goes up to 140 mph. The Golf goes faster? How much faster? Are we talking about chasing down a Mustang or Camero?

    I can hit highway speed in less than a mile in my ZX3 and have no trouble with the steep grades of Southern California.

    Honda can afford to make better engines, because they make far fewer of them. Honda might make 300,000 engines a year where Ford maybe makes two million with maybe triple the staff than Honda. Hondas usually cost more than Fords (although the Echo is a couple grand cheaper than a Focus).
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    So what if the speedometer goes up to 140. The ZX3 couldn't do 140 if you drove it off a cliff. Edmunds lists the ZX3's 0-60 time as 8.8 seconds, the time 0-60 for a NB with the 1.8T is 7.1, and the Golf with the same engine will weigh less and be more aerodynamic (I haven't seen test times for the north american 1.8T golf). Hows that for faster? I think the focus 130 hp and 130 lb/ft would be lucky to get that thing up to 115 or maybe 120. Not to mention the Focus' torque peak is around 4200 rpm, whereas the Golf's is 1750. Highway speed in less than a mile? Even anemic 4 cylinder econobox's will hit 70 or 80 in a QUARTER mile.
  • kdominczakkdominczak Posts: 174
    VW Golf is a very good hatchback car.
    Focus zx3 is a very good hatchback car as well.
    But 2.0 ,115 hp Golf weights 300 lbs. more than 130 hp zx3,Golf with that engine is just lazy and overweighted !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (1.8turbo is far superior,though),that's why zx3 is faster on the start.Speeds over 120 mph are not meant for either car.
    Both cars are very comparable,on some things golf is better on some zx3 is one,
    I'll take zx3 and $5000,that's it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    For $20k you can buy something more than a very nice compact car these days.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    GTI's are meant for speeds over 120, and they are quite capable of reaching them as well. As for getting something more, list off the performance cars for less than 20K that can keep up with a 1.8T GTI. There aren't many, if any at all. The problem is your typical American thinking. Americans associate hatchbacks with cheap cars. Mostly because almost all of the hatches here are cheap cars. Most other areas, being a hatchback isnt a negative. GTI/Golf's have more interior room than Jettas, and they cost less. So why would people pay more for a Jetta? Sure, you can get something more. Like a Chevy Malibu. Or a really stripped down Accord. Maybe. Those cars are a lot of fun. You might be able to compare the ZX3 to the Golf. In some ways. But it's really no match for the GTI, in pretty much any category. The only thing that has impressed with me with ZX3 is that it has pretty darn good handling. The engies not impressive. The fit and finish and interior design are nothing spectacular.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    FYI, our review of the Focus lists the Chevy Cavalier, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Saturn S-Series as competing models. I really think the Golf is another animal altogether.

  • kdominczakkdominczak Posts: 174
    Golf is a different breed than civic,cavalier,mirage,s-series saturn and many other affordable cars.But golf is not affordable!!!
    When you are comparing cars first you have to compare what are you getting in a car for how much.That will tell you how good of a value your car is. Unless you don't have to worry about money,than it is a different ball game.
    Most of us are not millionaires and are carefully spending hard earned dollars.

    just another two cents of mine.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    First off, no one likes people that use caps. All that says to anyone is that you're ranting and raving and not making any sense. Second, GTI's are NOT 5-8K more expensive than a ZX3. The GTI GLS starts at 17365. The ZX3 starts at 12055, but if you add on options to get it CLOSE to the GTI in equipment it gets up to 14445 in a hurry, and its still missing out on a power sunroof, which is usually about a 1000 dollar option, which is standard on the GTI, and not available (If im not mistaken) on the ZX3. So now youre up to 15445. Thats a difference of less than 2K. Not a whole lot, if you ask me. I'm sure theres other equipment thats standard on the GTI and not available on the ZX3, but I'm not going to waste my time looking up information when you obviously havent.
  • tickbittytickbitty Posts: 250
    of course, it depends. To me, yes, even 2K is a lot. I paid under 12,000 for my ZX3 with air and ABS. Those other standard options you have would be great, but fact is, the car just costs a lot more, and I for one couldn't afford it. Caps or no, he has a point.
  • kdominczakkdominczak Posts: 174
    I'm glad that you are calm and are not using CAPS.
    It is just a discussion and when someone can't see a point you've got to help and use caps to see it better.
    I know GTI well because my brother got one, it's a 2000 GTI GLX V6 (i hope you like those caps)
    I love that car ,it's powerful ,quiet,very well finished car,there is a lot more good to say about it... as you know.
    But it cost $10k more than tickbitty's ZX3!
    OK ,it's a better car so it should be for that much more $$$!
    From what i know it is very hard to buy GOLF/GTI at invoice price,ussualy you have to pay list price or more ,while ZX3 can be purchased at invoice price or bellow and that's where the $3K difference is.
    So there is a standard equipment on ZX-3 that is not on GOLF/GTI; battery saver,CD player,one year longer bumper to bumper warranty,more room.
    ZX-3 is a better overall value than GOLF/GTI,what does not mean ZX3 is a better car than GOLF/GTI!
    I don't have to prove my point, my point is there, either you finally get it or not.
    good luck ,though.
  • "...when someone can't see a point you've got to help and use caps to see it better."

    What a ridiculous comment. Ditto with Judas about the use of CAPS.

    As for the cars, I think in the short term, in either case you get what you pay for. In the long run, the Golf is probably the better deal (doesn't resale value already reflect this).
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Battery saver? That's worth about nothing. Cd players worth 1 or 2 hundred. 1 year longer bumper to bumper? Yeah, but the VW has a 7 year longer powertrain, which do you think is worth more? More room? Did you actually look up the specs? I kinda doubt it. The Echo is a better value than the Focus, but I wouldnt buy one of those either. What dealer lets you buy the car for less than invoice? Around here GTI's are as easy to get for around invoice as anything else.
  • kdominczakkdominczak Posts: 174
    Where can you buy GTI for invoice price?
    More room,you can look up the specs and you can check it, Focus is roomier.
    The parts cost less for focus than for GTI.
    You can select what you want on focus,and I heard that you don't have any choice with GTI,just buy it the way it stands on the lot.
    I agree that the warranty is a close call unless
    you live in a very humid climate, than VW's 10 years corrosion warranty is a great thing to have and that is making a VW's warranty a better deal in those locations (Florida,South-East...)
    Also I think that Echo is just in the different class than Focus or Golf/GTI.
    If you look at the Focus as a package it is a great value, as good or better than Golf/GTI.
    Again, I like the Golf/GTI a lot but i think that Focus is very much comparable; even,better or worse in all areas.
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    LOL. The Focus is even, better, or worse in all areas. Every car is even, better, or worse in all areas when compared to any car. Those are the only three possibilities when you're comparing anything to anything. Yeah, it's very much comparable, until you start talking about performance. Or fit and finish. Or luxury. Then it falls way short. Those are about the top three reasons people buy cars.
  • kdominczakkdominczak Posts: 174
    Finish quality on Golf/GTI is a little better than on focus, but focus is a little roomier than Golf/GTI.
    Let's don't talk about luxury with our knees touching our chins.
    And I will say that one more and hopefully last time, Focus is less expensive than Golf/GTI so it's nothing unusual that Golf/GTI should be a better car.
    Better car does not mean a better value, to me and my expectations focus(zx3) is a better value than Golf/GTI. So, let's understand each others opinions and personal preferences, and lets not compare (better,worse) anymore. What is better for me does not have to be better for you.
    We're only damaging overall good press for those two fine cars. There is a lot more good than bad to say about those vehicles. So let's enjoy the fine sides of Golf/Gti and Focus, rather than look for a few weak sides of them.
  • norwaydougnorwaydoug Posts: 249
    Hey Guys!

    This post was started by me and it was to compare the Golf GL with the zx-3. Both are 2 doors with crank your own windows and when you option up a zx-3 with side airbags, ABS, power door locks the price is not outrageously different. (Perhaps the base GL is 1500 more---I have forgotten the exact difference).

    In no way was this post to compare higher luxurious or sporty Golfs. I bought a zx-3 for your information after finding that no dealer in my area carries the very affordable Golf GL.

    I am pleased that my post generates passion however.

    ZX-3 Rules,

  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    Let's not compare? Um, do you know what the name of this topic is? Knees touching our chins my keister, I'm a shade under 6'6" and I fit fine in the Golf. Let's not be making outrageous statements that are completely incorrect.
  • Why is everyone comparing the GTI to the ZX3? The GTI is out of that price range. The base golf is a much better comparison. But still, the new issue of Automobile magazine does a comparo of GTI vs. ZX3, along with a neon r/t and a civic si. It says they're both winners. In my opinion though, the golf has gone "soft" over the years-literally. They've tried to make the car more luxurious, and in that pursuit for a cushy-ride and quiet interior, they've added hundreds of extra pounds, softened the suspension, (even on the GTI- although I think a sport suspension will be available soon) and successfully given the car a lethargic attitude. You want luxury? Get a Golf. But if you value driving pleasure, get a zx3 and use the extra 5 grand or so to add a few mods, effectively matching the pretensious GTI's performance and/or "luxury".
  • carbon3carbon3 Posts: 1
    I am currently looking for a new hatchback and up until recently, I had only considered the Golf or Civic Hatchback. I've seen a few ZX3's around and in car mags. As "focusfanatic" mentioned, with the money you may save on the lower priced ZX3 you may be able to afford to modify it to put it in a higher performance/luxury class. I am aware of the very supportive aftermarket that VW & Honda have. Do any of you know of sources or companies that produce performance/suspension/body-styling products for the ZX3? The car is so new that I don't know if there's much available. (I think I saw a highly modified ZX3 which was lowered, had a wide body kit and a turbo in Sport Compact Car magazine several months ago but I think my girlfriend "recycled" that issue).
    I really think it is a good car "as is" but I'd like the option of changing a few things down the road. (Based purely on aesthetics, the car looks like it should be 1.5-2" lower with slightly larger diameter wheels.)
    Any leads you may provide may help me in my car-buying decision. Thanks
  • jmorrissjmorriss Posts: 10
    Both the Focus and the Golf/GTI are great cars, but I think(!) that I sense a little religion going on here.

    I bought the Golf because I just plain like it better. Yup, it's more expensive. Way more expensive. But that's because it comes standard with ABS, side airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes, those $200 remote entry keys, a gigantic discount on my insurance(it costs me less for full coverage on my 2000 Golf than on the 1990 Golf I just sold!)

    I wish that I liked the Civic Si or the Focus ZX3, but they just didn't do it for me. And the Honda salesman didn't like it much when I spun the engine up to 8 grand and got the Si going 75 in third.(that's why it was built, no?)

    Finally, around Boston, if you hunt for the internet discount shops, you can get a great deal without much haggling. (hunt a lot, because different online dealers will quote you different prices. My fiancee bought a VW from a carpoint dealer for $300 under sticker, while I bought one for $50 over invoice from a different dealer who also works with them.)

    I got a guy to order the exact car I wanted from the port(in Boston) and he sold it to me for $50 over invoice.

    That's a 2000 Golf GLS, with sunroof, Monsoon system, 5-speed, ABS, and so on... for $17,400 out the door.($18445 sticker, for reference.)

    The turbos are a little more, because of current limited supply, but you can find them for $300-$500 over invoice if you're not picky about color.

    Yup, I got religion, and it's called fahrvergnugen!

    Pardon the ranting.
  • tickbittytickbitty Posts: 250
    yes, there are already several body kits, and a bunch of other aftermarket stuff already available for the ZX3. Check out the ZX3 regular and aftermarket discussions - there are lots of guys in there who have already performed some of these mods.
  • CarMan@EdmundsCarMan@Edmunds Posts: 38,515
    My mom has been buying Volkswagens ever since her first bug back in the 60's, and my dad has been getting Fords for about ten years now (he loves the taurus), so it was only a matter of time before my car would explode (GTI), and I would need a new one. My dad, also, is exactly 6'6, and could not fit in any of the VW's smaller products w/o putting his seat back. To some, this is not a comfortable position, especially when your family has back problems. The Focus, on the other hand, is huge. Gues which I (6'4) bought?
  • greycapgreycap Posts: 19
    Well, I think that applied to the Golf, this description is an exaggeration; however, there is no doubt that the Focus is superior in this respect.

    This issue is not of interest only to tall people; I am only 5'8", but what there is of me is configured with relatively short legs and a long body. I can't fit into a 3-series BMW without tilting the seat back! A sunroof in this car forces me to tilt my head sideways around the coaming. When visiting Germany, I am struck by the size of it's people; how they fit into their cars, I don't know.

    In my case, a more upright seating position is much easier on my back. The Focus has more headroom than many full-size cars and was definitely a consideration when I bought one.
  • alfaromeoalfaromeo Posts: 210
    Could anyone tell me if the 'bucket' seat option is worthwile? (on the focus that is!)
  • zx3boizx3boi Posts: 3
    Hey everyone!
    I am about to get a ZX3 in a few more days. I have always been a huge fan of all VWs and I originally wanted a 2000 Jetta. But as we all know VWs idea of a reasonably price car for young buyers is not really reasonable(even though they are so cute!) So anyway, after checking out the Focus sedan my father told me to look at the ZX3 which I later fell in love with. At the age of 19, the ZX3 is much more practical to me than the Golf especially for my uses.
    I was reading recently that Ford's idea with the Focus sedan and ZX3 was to the similar appeal of that the new Jetta and Golf have for a price that the average family can afford to buy one for their kids. After nagging and nagging my parents, they refused to shell out $20,000 for a Jetta and I have never been a huge fan of the Golf. So to shoppers who realize they don't need all the extras of a VW or just can't afford them(like me), the Focus is the perfect alternative.
    For all u poor people like me, look on the bright side of the ZX3. How many economy cars give you a standard cd player and 130hp engine?
  • thegtiman1thegtiman1 Posts: 13
    Lets say SLOW... Lets say blow up fords.... Lets say work like I am for the 1.8t I am getting... This is not an attack just sympathy. Good luck wave to you in the rearview..
  • My mommy and daddy won't shell out 20 grand to buy me a new car. What should I do? How could they be so cruel? All of my friends parents bought their spoiled kids new VW's. Why are my parents doing this to me?
  • plush1plush1 Posts: 12
    Man, that new Focus is pretty nice - the hatchback is anyway. I'm not a big Ford fan or anything but the Focus is pretty impressive. Oh, I just wanted to say one thing to gtiman1 - give it a rest man. Golfs are pretty cool and all but there's always something faster! So the next time you're out there thinkin' you got the fastest car in the land, don't get upset if something faster like a Mustang comes blazing up on your trail...Peace.
  • Hate to break it to you but hey everyone thinks that Fords are fast..PSSTTT Ha Ha yeah right.. Bud I also own a 1995 Saturn SC2 with bolt on mods and guess what the 4.6L Nose to Nose Competition and boy are they pissed when they cant beat me. So try again with another worthy car and maybe youll have a conversation here... Lates.....
This discussion has been closed.