In praise of the Focus

My Mexican-built 2001 yellow manual-shift ZX3 was my first "American-label" car after owning a variety of Hondas, Toyotas, and VWs. I bought it
because I liked the reviews I'd seen of its handling. A 230-mile drive from the New York area to the Washington area last night, roughly 10 PM to 2 AM along I-95, normally the East Coast's most congested highway, was such a joy it again validated this Ford purchase.
This time I was once more impressed with the acceleration, steering and handling... even navigating construction area single-lanes hemmed in on both sides by concrete barriers, like a toboggan chute. I could roar straight down the middle at high speed with nary a concern about bumping the sides. As other traffic became sparse, the ZX3 sprinted effortlessly, easily taking in stride occasional passing spurts at 85 to 90 MPH. At no time did the car feel it was straining or becoming unpredictable. I've never owned 6 cylinders or any kind of sporty car (except for a Civic SI) but the Focus simply feels great, despite being just a cheap Ford. And the driving position adjustments are superb. My only regret is that in 2001 the ZX5 was not yet available here, as it would have provided easier access to the rear seat, especially for my dog.
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Charles Gillen -- Reston, Virginia, USA
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Charles,
I have the same year and model, except mine is silver. I agree with all of your comments. This car does not feel or drive at all like what I would expect for the low cost I paid. Few in its class feel this good and even less do for the same cost. This is what many of the car magazines talk about (as well as Consumers Reports). I guess this is a result of the excelelnt European design/engineering...they need to take small cars way more seriously there as it is very competitive in this class.
I could tell in less than a mile during the test drive that I would buy it. I wanted to wait another year or two for the bugs to be worked out but I did not want to put any money into my 14 year old Escort GT - it really only needed a water pump, but as so much on that car was original, and with 170K I was sure it would not be reliable for long and I only have one car.
In 43K miles, I haven't spent a dollar on repairs yet either. The stcck Eagle RS-A tires still look good too. I wish I had the new PZEV engine and hope that it isn't true that the US will not get the new platform Focus until 2010? That is a long time away and it won't be very compettive until then.
Gary
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"American-label"
such
Well, my Mexican built '03 SVT is as much fun and practical as one could hope for. It's a lot faster than the Honda Si (had one, so I know), a lot more fun to drive than the Subaru WRX (drove 2, one overnight) and handles better than either one. Except for a mysterious windshield leak that was promptly and correctly fixed by my local dealer, it's been flawless. Frankly it's the best under $30K car I've ever driven.
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OK, I'll fourth the vote. My 03 ZTW (with under 5k) has run like a top, is fun to drive, looks good and carries my skis quite well, thankyouverymuch....
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Raider Rick
"Just drive, baby"
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is
Gerry
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