Ford Focus Recommedations

I live in New York City and have not owned a car in ten years. Now my workplace is moving outside the city so I am considering buying a car to commute to work which is about 35 miles away.
I started looking at used cars and after some research, I am leaning toward a later model Ford Focus. It seems that there were some problems with earlier models that have been corrected starting with the 2002 cars.
I also really like the look and utility of the ZX5, but am finding them hard to come by on the used market. Any ZX3 or ZXS owners care to comment on their choices.
Also anyone who has any recommendations or particular things to look for when shopping for a used Focus are welcome.
Thanks in advance.
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I have a 2001 ZX3 with 72,000 miles. All I have had to do with this car is replace the tires, an alternator and an egr sensor. I commute 36 miles to work and Michigan roads are among the worst in the country and this car has hung tough, so far. There is some rust forming underneath the tailgate lid and the ignition key worries me a bit. Other than that, I really like this car.
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I've got a 2004 ZX5 and love it. I wanted the wagon, but since the wife is the primary driver, and she liked the sporty look of the ZX5 compared to the wagon, that's what we got. It's roomy, handles great, and I love the hatch since we can load large objects in it where we wouldn't have been able to if we had the sedan. No problems with it so far. Haven't had a chance to drive it in ice or snow yet, so I can't say how it's going to work in that. I prefer the 4dr ZX5 over the three door ZX3, since it's easier for extra passengers to get in and out, plus the front doors are usually not as long on 4 door cars, so it's easier to open them to get in and out of the drivers seat in a tight parking lot.
JPH
marc cooper wrote:

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As you say, Cars made in 2002 and later are pretty reliable, although Ford did a good job of sorting out the problems of the earlier ones too. There really aren't any special "gotchas" in used Focuses, except that many drivers with 50-series 16-inch tires on alloy rims (common on ZX5s) find they break too easily in potholes and are replacing them with 15 inch tires on steel rims.
I don't know why you're having a hard time finding used ZX5s. There certainly are lots of them around. Keep looking and I'm sure you'll find what you want.
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marc cooper wrote:

I own a 2003 ZX3 with a manual transmissions, no power windows, no power door locks, no cruse control. I drive it over 350 miles a day, as of now it has over 163,000 miles on it.
Most of the driving I do is on the highway so I get between 30 and 35 MPGs.
This car has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. The only thing that came that close was my 1997 Escort wagon that had over 122,000 before I totaled it in the spring of 2003.
The only thing I have had to replace was the alternator because one of the bearings was going bad around 130,000 miles.
I have done scheduled replacement of the timing belt at 60,000 and 120,000 miles. Ford specs I believe 80,000 mile timing belt replacement interval, however in the line of work I am in better to be safe then stuck on the side of the road with busted timing belt. The timing belt tensioner was replaced at 120,000 miles because bearings was going bad. Replaced the front brake pads and rotors at 125,000 miles along with the rear linings. Had to replace the rotors because the inside left pad fell off the caliper, so have the front brakes checked to make sure that all of the hardware is tight.
I wanted a wagon, again because of the line of work I do. I settled for the ZX3 because the dealer had no wagons with manual transmissions and crank windows.
Had my first chance driving the thing on snow packed roads last week. As expected it handed the same as any other front wheel drive car with all season radial tires.
--
John in the sand box of Marylands eastern shore.

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On Tue, 04 Jan 2005 01:07:06 -0500, John R Cambron

Wow, that is a nice little review. I have to admit I've had experience with a ford car that too would have gone on forever(90 ford escort gt), but I gave away when I felt uncomfortable commuting 200+ miles aday on a car with 158,000 miles already. I opted for a newer car. But lookng back, it had required minimal repairs, and the only real bug was, it ate inner tie joints. Had to get a new one like every 30k miles.
Considering that ford has only focuses now, I might be in the market for one in the future.
thanks,
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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snipped-for-privacy@intertainia.com wrote:

I use to be a GM guy. Shoot when I purchased Escort wagon I was hopping the dealer had a Chevrolet Caviler wagon on the lot to replace the less then reliable 98 Subaru Outback wagon I was driving at the time. Drove that car for 6 months and it stranded me twice. Mind you the Outback wagon was a great car to drive and had incredible capabilities. It is great car in ice and snow.
The Subaru replaced an 85 S-10 GMC Jimmy that needed a break job that would cost more then the truck was worth.

I expect to put 1,000,000 miles on the car before I take it out of daily service. And I have complete confidence it will remain reliable that long.
The car has been somewhat beat up in the miles I have driven it.
Hit a curb with the right front going around a rain slicken round a bout. Bent the lower control arm but did not damage either the tire or rim. I chocked that up to crap Goodyear factory installed tires. Cost and time to fix was not that bad.
Hit a deer doing 60 MPH. Pushed the radiator and fan shroud in to the exhaust manifold along with some other front sheet metal damage. The funny thing about this encounter with the four legged 150 + pound cockroach was the collision with the deer didn't deploy the air bags, the seat belt tensioner did tighten up on impact.
Has a similar encounter with smaller deer in my 97 Escort at 40 MPH. Air bags did deploy, however the cruse control did not automatically disengage.
One of my beefs with the ZX3 is what one has to do to get the timing belt to change it, as well as the tools and time required to do the job. The 97 Escort only required basic set of sockets and 25 minutes.
--
John in the sand box of Marylands eastern shore.

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"> Hit a deer doing 60 MPH. Pushed the radiator and fan shroud in

You've got some fast deer there <G>
Bill
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berkshire bill wrote:

You know what I meant, However you got to love those that poke fun at ones word smithing.
We do in fact do have some fast deer. When I was driving a rental truck when moving to my new house I was pacing mommy deer and here two bambis at around 40 MPH.
--
John in the sand box of Marylands eastern shore.

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As I understand it, the deer in Maryland and Massachusetts can run at thirty five to forty miles per hour. Our perception of their speed is completely different when a collision is eminent.
Bill
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berkshire bill wrote:

I now know you didn't know what meant.
I was driving my Ford Focus ZX3 at 60 MPH when I struck the deer. Never saw it, have no idea how fast the deer was running when it was trying to cross the road, took several seconds to realize what happened. Confirmed that I struck a deer after inspecting the the front of the car and finding deer fur on the bumper.
--
John in the sand box of Marylands eastern shore.

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Mine is a 1999 2.0l wagon (Ghia), there were/are a few minor glitches, as mostly if you get a car that was new in production. But nothing really annoying, on the other hand it's as reliable as any other Ford owned, which were quite a few. Got it used, needed some month to find one that would fit my needs at a reasonable price. Unlike most other Ford, the Focus isn't that cheap used (over here). The fun thing about it, bought it from an official DC dealer, he was quite happy to get the Ford from his court and made an offer one couldn't resist.;)
I'd look for a well equipped model, there are a few nice things, like the heated wind screen, heated/electric mirrors, 4xelectric windows with remote control, sunroof and dozens others, you might like to keep an eye on.
Never care about the radio, if you are serious about car hi-fi, you'll rip of the strange ideas Ford has about hi-fi completely anyway.;) There are good replacement speaker JBL/Infinity/etc available, which fit perfectly into the original mount (4xdoors), IIRC 5"x7" for a good start.
Wouldn't care about things you can easily change, like wheels, but about things you want/must have which aren't retrofit for a reasonable price.
One of the "miss" features about the Focus is the nearly zero "overtaking prestige", but that might not be an issue for you.
Good luck
--
Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)
mail: echo snipped-for-privacy@urvzvat.qr | perl -pe 'y/a-z/n-za-m/'
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marc cooper wrote:

Me too

Get a 2003 or 2004 with the 2.3L duratech engine. Makes a huge difference. Look foor a car with the 8th digit of the VIN is "Z".
The 2003 came with a 5 year, 100K mile power train warantee.

them
Yes, very difficult. Especially if you are like me and are specific about the equipment you want. You will have better luck buying from a dealer. I just paid 11,900 for an 04 ZX5, premium with auto, ABS and sunroof. It was certiified pre owwned. By comparison manhattan had (has?) an 04 ZTS with 1,200 ( yes twelve hundred, miles for 10,600 (but no ABS and no sunroof)
i just went to the ford website and got the list of dealers and started calling them till I found one, went out the next day a bouoght it at Island Ford. i think they have one more.
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marc cooper wrote:

my
to
I'm in Newe York too. Where did they move? Any public transportation options/

them
yea, I just bouoght my ZX5. Hard to find, even new, and you will pay a premium. I started by just calling all the dealers in the area and found a certified pre owned 04 for 11,900. As a comparison Manhattan Ford had an 04 ZTS with only 1,200 miles for 10,600.
Look at a 03 or 04 with th 2.3L engine. night and day difference between thhat and the 2.0L 130 HP when either is equiped witht the automatic. 8th digit in the VIN shouold be a Z.
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