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Ford Focus ZX3 vs. VW Golf



  • gtiman1gtiman1 Posts: 4
    O.k for the record "plush1" I will give it a rest, life is way to short to argue the different aspects of makes and models and of course what it all really comes down to which is personal preference. That said please don't quote a Mustang as something faster, I've owned one and know better, now if it was a Trans Am now that's a different story! Up to now out of all the cars I've owned VW rule! But that's just personal preference again...........
  • tickbittytickbitty Posts: 250
    Gosh, are you people getting snotty! Comparing different classes of cars now, and jumping all over that kid just because he's enthusiastic about his new car. He's right, (whether he pays for it himself or not) the ZX3 is a really neat economic option! Enjoy all your cars folks!
  • judasjudas Posts: 217
    What bolt on mods, exactly, allow you to run quicker than the 14 second 1/4 mile time that a bone stock 4.6 liter GT will run? Unless you've got some sort of forced induction or nitrous there's no way you're even going to get close, and if you do have one of the above, try racing a Stang with the same mod.

    Beating something at a stop light to stop light race isn't that impressive. I beat a friends high 12 second Mustang in a street race in my high 14 second MR2 just because it was impossible for him to get any traction off the line because he was making about twice the power that I was. Did I brag about it afterwards? Of course not, there's no reason to.
  • Im a Colorado native and im still here. The mile high should clue you off. Those cares run no where near that figure and by the way bud this is not a cobra as you are elevating it. Were talking GT. I have the advantage of power to weight ratios. Any way its hard to believe but I have done it left and right up and down. Its not the traction its a Ford. The Saturn has torque gobs of it and in the long run I have no chance but damned if doesnt run with them. Believe it or not its the truth.
  • I got my ZX3 in April and my best friend bought his Golf GL [or is it GS, the baseline]in May and we are both pleased as punch with our cars. I am a bit more of a back road burner so I love the slightly better handling and the better mid range punch. He on the otherhand, loves the ride and overall feel of the Golf. He thinks my car is too twitchy and I think his car is a bit too soft. Overall though, we both have fabulous cars that would put anything to shame for the price not even 5 years ago.

    My advice is go drive both and go from there, in this price range, no real reason to look at any other car as they are simply not as good.

    Jimmy =)
  • First of all, id like to say im a fan of all cars.
    Customs, Imports, Exotics, Classics, Lowriders, anything... as long as it looks good/kicks [non-permissible content removed].
    I also spend alot of my spare time car shoping. After all, i just moved to the Sacramento area In california and live like 2 minutes from the Roseville Automall (THE first "Automall"). Ive looked at almost every car availible in the US in the past year (did most of this while helping my mom shop for a new car, she bought a 2000 Suburu Legacy GT Limited Sedan) and im probably going to get a new car in the next year or earlier, depending on how long my current car lasts... (its been having ALOT of engine trouble lately).

    Figuring that ill probably only be able to spend in the 15k range, and need a car that can carry stuff but prefere cars that are nimble and small, ive come down to the Focus Zx3 as my #1 Practicle choice for a car. But if i could spend in the 20k range, i would either go with a Golf 1.8t, a Bug 1.8t, or a Suburu Impreza 2.5RS.

    I test drove the Golf a few months ago, and i was impressed... but as some of the previous posts have stated, it is a little "soft" in terms of suspension, but not soft and stiff like a BMW (test drove a 3 series as well). Last week, i drove a zx3 and i was very impressed... It didnt drive like a ford! (seriously) Heck, it didnt feel like a ford at all... It felt like a VW. 130hp doesnt sound like much, but its more than most cars at that price range, but its more than a base golf and that much less money (btw, you can order a New ZX3 for just $100 over invoice). The actuall interior space is very simular, but the Focus has much more head room. And yes, the golf does have more "neat" stuff in it like VW's have, and the quality is a little better... but once again, theres the price difference. And i know that alot of people cant stand buying american, just as i know alot of people cant stand buying foreign, but the focus is simply not a typical ford in any sense, even reliability. The focus has been out in Europe for much longer than it has in the US, and if you were to go there right now, you might notice something... Focus's are EVERYWHERE in europe (my cousin was just over there). Now if Europeans are buying fords... thats got to mean something.
    Dont forget that the 2001 focus ZX3 will have 16 inch wheels in the premium package for basically free (try pricing it out) which is another good mark for the focus if your planning on buying.

    Btw, just to make everyone know that im not ford-happy... if i were to buy any reasonable (ie not super expensive) car i could today, i would buy a Lexus IS 300 ;)

    BUT, i just read an article about the Focus-R that its going to come out next summer probably, and will have a base cost just UNDER 20k! (220hp for 20k with no mods required? Nice)

    Let the flaming on me commence!
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Sorry, flame-free zone. :-)

  • are you talking about the base golfs? they are junk and just reek of cheapness. the focus hatch is a damn nice car for the money
  • jtaimjtaim Posts: 34

    I don't think you've been in a base Golf or else you would say something so outright wrong. Other than having different cloth seats, no power windows, and no armrest, the base Golf (there is no base "golfs", the only base Golf is the Golf GL), uses the same rich materials as in the higher trim Golfs and, in fact, the same materials as in the more expensive Passat. And if you read any review of the Passat, you'll most likely see a compliment about the rich-looking, rich-feeling materials and design of the interior.

    "junk" and "reek of cheapness"? uh, no.

    p.s. My next car will probably be a Focus 5-door so I have nothing against the Foci.
  • Golfs are totally not cheap. VW is the closest thing to BMW for the money.
    Problem with Golfs is the money though, but with the Sports Suspension option for 2001 I would actually thing about getting one in the $20k price range (1.8t of course)
  • I own a 2k Golf GL and as far as it being cheap junk, someone is out of his/her mind. My boss owns a 3 series Bimmer and would rather drive in my Golf. That is the reason I bought it over the Focus, it feels like a much more expensive car than the 15k I paid for it. Get inside a Golf and drive it, than drive anything else in the 15k price range. If you put ABS, side airbags and all the standard Golf things on the Focus you only save a few hundred dollars. I looked at everything out there for six months and felt nothing came close to the Golf for the money...
  • i have been in a golf ( a gl) and the dash and other interior parts were nice but i noticed a lot of bare pieces of body color metal showing though...(from the inside) the seats were nice and soft but not very supportive and the engine was basically gutless. the gti on the other hand would definitely be better than the focus or civic si.
  • I personally would go with the Golf. I feel its alot nicer than the Focus. I probably wouldn't even consider a Focus, but thats just me. Test drive both of them and see. Good luck in your decision!
  • tickbittytickbitty Posts: 250
    a focus ZX3 equipped like yours (and mine) should have ONE recall. THat is all. THere were a couple of other things going on with the sedan, but not the hatchback. And something with the cruise control. Take care of that single recall and don't worry!
  • grc5grc5 Posts: 4
    My wife and I have rented many Foci (sedans and Zx3) While we liked them very much and almost bought one, there really is no comparison to a well-equiped Golf.

    After months of research and lurking on this and other websites, we decided to purchase a Golf GLS 1.8T with heated seats (we live in Canada), Monsoon, CD, ABS, traction control, roof, alloys, etc.) Ended up paying Cdn$4,500 (about US$3,000) more than a fully loaded ZX3 (that doesn't have traction control or side airbags). The final tally:

    Pro Golf GLS 1.8T

    - better acceleration
    - max torque available off the line
    - quieter
    - slightly better road feel
    - traction control
    - side airbags
    - electric sunroof
    - arguably better resale
    - 4 doors!!
    - heated seats
    - more comfortable seats for longer drives

    Pro ZX3

    - $3k less
    - leading edge design
    - lower maint and repair $$
    - better gas mileage
    - bigger interior
    - better warranty
    - marginally better cupholders (hint: try changing a CD in the Golf while you have a drink in the holder - its almost a road hazard!)

    The acceleration, road feel, and low cabin noise in the Golf is better than the ZX3. Under hard acceleration, the Golf 1.8T doesn't protest, and pulls continuously through the range, whereas the Focus seems to rumble more loudly and doesn't reach peak power until higher up in RPMs. Both are quick, nimble cars that are leaders in their class, the Golf 1.8T with about 25 lbs more torque than ZX3. We agree with other observations on this site: Focus seats are not as comfortable on drives longer than 1 hour - why is that?

    Our exhaustive analysis yielded the following simple question: Is driving a Golf 1.8T over a ZX3 for 3 years worth the cost of 2 cups of coffee a day?

    Both are very good purchases, but if you can spring for a few extra dollars up-front and a few more maint $$ later on, you can't beat a Golf 1.8T
  • ZX3 has side airbags and Traction control (Traction control just came out for 2001 models).

    I guess Canada's got vastly different prices, because a fully loaded ZX3 is about $17k, while a fully loaded Golf 1.8T GLS is about $22k for what you have listed... Thats $5k.

    Oh, and why are you compairing the 1.8t vs. the Focus engine? Especially when a chip mod for the 1.8 will give it 190hp... Wait and compair it to the new engine, or to the Focus RS.
  • grc5grc5 Posts: 4
    We were comparing and purchased a Y2K model, and didn't want to wait for 2001 production/delivery of ZX3 with added options.

    And yes, Canada has very different pricing. For eg, a fully loaded ZX3 could be purchased for around C$20k (US$13k)before taxes and C$23k (US$15k)after taxes - read somewhere it has to do with lower dollar purchasing power in Canada.

    We compared 1.8T to ZX3 b/c we felt the Golf 2.0L didn't have the power of the ZX3, and had to move up. I appreciate most would compare the Golf 2.0L v ZX3, but we were willing to spring the extra $$ for the extra power and that was a factor in our comparison shopping.

    190hp in a Golf would handle like a rocketship - will wait to explore after warranty expires.

    We would look at Focus RS - is it confirmed for production yet? Just wish ZX3 would follow its European lead and sell a 5 door.
  • Latest word still indicates the 5 door should be headed here.

    As for the RS... Well, Ford has commited to building some sort of modified ZX3. Whether its the RS, the SVT, or a AWD variant is yet to be confirmed.
    However, if their prototype test models (the Focus-R and the Focus FR200) it looks like they are leaning towards a turbo, FWD version, and a statement said they were going to keep whatver model they make under $20k.
  • Before spending your hard earned dollars, please consider this--and if you don't, you
    can't say I didn't warn you. I have a ZX3, now one year old (11,000 highway miles). 6
    recalls. 14 days in the shop and more scheduled. Resale value $9K. 5-speed removed 3
    times now. Still not right. Windows have been removed and replaced to fix a creaking in
    both doors. New parts, on order, will require them to be taken out again. I suggest
    looking at all the other complaints on this site, then rethinking the ZX3, saving some more
    money, and then buying a Honda or Toyota.
  • Any word yet on if and when a modified version of the Focus will be released?? Also, if it has 220 horsepower how will it compare to the new WRX, and new ITR that's rumored to be in creation?
  • 10,300 miles Automatic * Power Everything * Factory CD Player * 16 inch Factory Alloys * Kona Blast Mountain Bike * Factory Roof Rack * Factory Water Proof Seat Covers * Every available factory option * Only 4,000 2000 model year Konas made- Only 1,000 were Silver!
    I have ordered my new car so I must sell.
    I am in the Dallas area. If you are interested please call me @ 214-629-3061 or e-mail me at E-MAIL FOR PICTURE!
  • handydoghandydog Posts: 19
    I've been shopping for a new car and decided a hatch back was the thing for me. I drove a WV Golf XLS 1.8 turbot and loved the way the car drove, but felt that the interior was somewhat cramped (especially the lack of headroom). Since the Focus is supposed to have great interior space, I thought I would give it a try, but have not had a lot of luck finding a dealer with a 5-speed ZX3 in stock. Is there some reason for this? I was looking into an Escape last year and Ford had a terrible time getting those out to dealers (probably because things kept falling off of them). Also, I am interested in a Focus ST (which would compete well with the Golf/GI), but my guess is that we will not see those until November-December.

    I also have not been impressed with the Ford dealerships that I have been to (although I also was not impressed with one of the two Volkswagen dealerships I visited). I think that the quality of a dealerships is something to consider when looking at buying one of these two cars.

    On another point. Does anyone know of any cost of ownership studies done on these cars? In addition to questions as to the build quality of both of these cars, something to consider is the cost of maintenance when needed. From past experience with a WV Rabbit GI, parts for Vows tend to be very expensive.
  • golfman6golfman6 Posts: 1
    I've test driven both cars and settled on the Golf. I think it really comes down to what you value more in a car -- refinement or handling.

    I bought the Golf because I think it looks and feels more substantial than the Focus, comes standard with 4-wheel ABS, and is made in Germany. I couldn't live with a Focus because 1)The exterior looks cheap (check out those nasty, black plastic side mirror housings), the seats are typically Ford mushy, and that interior is gotta go (the fabrics look very Escort).

    On the other hand, my Golf doesn't go as fast, is not quite as nimble, but feels like a different, more expensive class of vehicle. The seats are even more comfortable than a 3-series BWM. The design is something that won't look tacky 5 years down the road, and it's made in Germany. I don't see as many on the road as the Focus either.
  • cdn777cdn777 Posts: 2
    Just wait for it all you VR6s out there! There should be a nice little battle coming up soon!

  • cdn777cdn777 Posts: 2
    Just wait for it all you VR6s out there! There should be a nice little battle coming up soon!

  • mdrivermdriver Posts: 385
    I have driven both Golf GL and ZX3. I think the Golf (2.0L) actually feels more powerful and Focus feels lethargic. The problem with the Focus' engine is non-existant pick-up at low rpms coupled with very tall gear ratios. The Golf has shorter gear ratios and feels quicker at slower speeds (in traffic). In fact, the Golf beats the Focus in 0 to 30 and 5th gear acceleration according to a Popular Science article I read about a year ago.
  • vadpvadp Posts: 1,025
    The Foci engine is an old iron-block design. But at least it has 16 valves and some very good power delivery in the range of 3 - 5K rpm.
    The Golf engine is a dinosaur (even in comparison to the ancient Ford). 8 valves, terrible fuel economy. Yes, it delivers some decent torque in the low rpm range (it feels like it has a very good pick-up right off the line). But that's about it. It hates to be revved beyond 3K. Why is VW still producing this prehistoric design?
  • I was leaning heavily towards a Golf 1.8t but figured that I'd take a look at the Focus ZTS (5 speed). (4 doors is an non-negotiable, anyone know about the Focus 5-door hatchback?) I mean who can object to saving a few thousand $$$s?

    Must admit that I was very impressed at the beginning of the test drive. Nice road feel, decent interior, could picture living with this car for a few years. Right up to the point that the A/C started blowing hot air and the temp gauge took off for the orange zone. Cooled off coasting downhill but once in surface street traffic it overheated again.

    As my family asks, "Besides that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?" Strange thing is that beside that the play was pretty darn good. I feel like a bit of an indiot liking a car that overheated!!! Is this a common problem or one of those "quality issues" with which Ford is battling?

    The salesperson was new and had never been in a Focus. When we got back the manager basically said that this is a reminder that cars are still made by people. True but somehow I had the feeling that this wasn't the first time he had uttered those words.
  • jlim1jlim1 Posts: 50
    I noticed that a lot of Golf enthusiasts thought that Golfs are made in Germany, but FYI they are designed in Germany but assembled in Mexico. So are the New Beetle's.

    For existing Golf owners, what do you think of the steel body of the car? I know that some cars are built with thicker steel which means they are less likely to get dents from another car door's impact. I have both driver and passenger front doors lightly dented by inconsiderate drivers parked next to mine.

    Both cars are fantastic. Golf evolves to become a good fun-to-drive car - in fact, it's the third best selling car in history behind Beetle and Corolla. Ford Focus became a sensation in its debut year with a new-age look and some performance being best in its class. Anyway, does anyone know if Golf or Focus has an average insurance cost? Thanks.
  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,868
    The Golf is not manufactured in Mexico, at least none of the Golfs currently sold in USA or Canada.
    The Golf is built in Curitaba, Brazil.
    The Jetta and New Beetle are indeed assembled in Mexico. The Jetta wagon is built in Germany. The Passat is built in Germany. The Eurovan is built in Germany. But the Golf is NOT built in Mexico for the US or Canadian market.
    By the way, the reliability is rated higher on the Golf than the Jetta and the Golf is recommended by Consumer Reports while the Jetta is not.
This discussion has been closed.