Purchasing a New Focus. Need some advice.

I'm thinking about getting a 2006 Focus ZX4. I've done a lot of research and it seems like it a pretty decent car, especially for the money. The
only other Ford I've had was a 1991 Escort, and I loved it. Right now I drive a 1999 VW Jetta and can't stand it any longer. Too many repairs. Anyway, I'm wondering what other people think about the 2006 model. Anything I should think about before making a purchase that might not be in a review? The other cars I have looked at is a Toyota Corolla, and a Mazda 3. Both of those are more expensive I think.
Also, I've been looking at many different dealer websites and have not found very many cars (maybe 1 out of 15) that have a manual transmission, which is what I want. Any reason for that?
Another thing I've thought about is possibly ordering a Focus to make sure I get what I want. I've never done that before, so I don't know what to expect. Is there an added cost to ordering? Approximately how long would that take?
Thanks for any help advice you guys can offer.
Patrick
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I've got a '01 ZTS with manual. It's fun. The prevelance of auto transmissions is just American buyer preferences. Fewer folks seem to want a stick these days. Check around and you'll see many new cars that don't even have stick available. One upside, assuming most aren't urban legends, is that many car thieves can't drive stick!

Shouldn't be a problem if you can wait for it. Although it's also possible that if you tell a dealer exactly what you want even if it isn't on his lot--he may be able to find one elsewhere in the state and get it for you.
My '01 was made near the end of the "Focus problem era" so I did have issues (failed fuel pump, water in the passenger foot-well, failed emissions system solenoid) but I think problems are fewer now so I would not consider an extended warranty on an '06. I'm not sure what's "standard" these days, but I would suggest you make sure you get side air bags, ABS brakes, cruise control and whatever else you consider valuable. If the '06s are like mine, be careful with the fuel filler door which is all plastic and more likely to snap off than one with a metal hinge.
Craig
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"Craig" wrote...

PS--what wheels/tires will this have? Note that if it's a 205/50/16, replacement tire options will be fewer and prices will be higher than with a 15" wheel. Also, if you live with snow & ice in winter, the wide tires aren't as good as getting spare winter wheels/tires in a compatible 14" or 15" size. The 205/50/16s also will be damaged more easily if/when you hit a curb or other road hazard...
Craig
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On Sat, 22 Apr 2006 11:35:03 -0400, "Patrick Bennington"

The Mazda 3 is a comparable car... The Corolla is a POS. Run, don't walk away from it unless you like cars with underpowered cars with sloppy ill defined handling.
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Roarmeister wrote:

The mazda 3 is a superior vehicle built with a similar engine (expect with variable valve timing). The Corolla most certainly is not a POS, not sure why you'd even say this. It is not a car for those who want a sporty drive, but in terms of power it is very similar to the Focus with a 2.0 engine, and gets way better mileage. Handling is completely acceptable and safe (can't say the same for my focus). There is a reason why the Corolla has a reputation for quality and reliabilty as well. The focus has a reputation of being not so reliable and of inferior quality - something mirrored well in my 2001 focus. Hopefully this new generation of Foci (05+) are much better.
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Cheffy wrote:

Just another point of view. FWIW, I owned two Corollas before my Focus.

While I considered the Corollas' handling acceptable, the Focus's handling is considerably superior.

Both Corollas had automatic transmission failures. While I've had some issues with my 2001 Focus (currently at 118,000 miles), certainly nothing as major as that.

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The Mazda 3 is a Focus. (Actually 2nd generation platform, the same as the Volvo S40).

NOT! Have you driven a Corolla???? Not sporty? and yet you think it's similar in power to the Focus?????

I took a '04 Corolla out for a week drive when my Focus was disabled after an SUV hit me. During a light rain, where my Focus could handle curves with ease, the Corolla was breaking free and gave almost no feedback to me. In other words, I could not feel the road. Where I could go 120+ kph with the Focus, I had to slow down to 60 with the Corolla as it floated above the road. To me that is ONE HELL OF A SERIOUS HANDLING PROBLEM! Review after review I've read backs up my assessment. Whether it is the tires or the general setup of the car, or more likely both. The only person who could love such handling is an 80 yr old fogey. Sure it would soak up the bumps but only to the degree that I didn't feel the road at all. Fit/finish on the car was comparable to the Focus but a few things like driver position and visibility are definitely inferior. The Corolla is a bit heavier than the Focus and has a smaller less powerful engine - therefore in a direct comparison the Focus is faster and more agile. The Corolla I drove had the SAME real world mileage not "way better mileage" despite it's smaller engine. (I get 37-44 miles per imperial gal highway with the Focus).

People also have a habit of negativity about NA designed cars in general - over and beyond actual facts and figures about reliability. In other words people opinions don't affect the reality. If "foreign" designed cars are so reliable then perhaps you could help explain why in my jurisdiction, the Focus is the cheapest car to insure despite having a higher than average population of youthful drivers.

The next gen Foci??? You mean the Euro version or the Mazda/Volvo versions?
Actually the Focus has been on the recommended list 5 years running by Consumers Report, only the 2000 has received a non-recommended rating. The reliability factor is directly traceable to the fact that Ford didn't assign enough engineers to revise the car when porting it from Europe. The NA design had an entirely different drivetrain, different passenger compartment protection, different bumpers, different paint, different interior materials, etc. In addition the German design/British engineering didn't factor in the extremes in weather experienced by Canadian users which led to further issues. Since Ford applied more engineers and fixed the problems, the model has experienced few and fewer problems through it's history, with the 2003 versions and beyond are above average in reliability.
I will attest to this from personal experience. I have owned a Buicks, a '98 ZX2, '00 Focus sedan, '03 Focus (until the incident with the SUV), and my current '04 ZX5. Same drive train in each. No problems with the Escort, a series of problems with the '00 and nothing on the 2 newer versions. I also drive on a regular basis Sebrings/Taurus/Hyundai/Altimas as part of company's pool vehicles while the Altima feels very much like a slightly more sophisticated version of the Focus. The other cars are just basic transportation - the Corolla falls in the same class.
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On Sat, 22 Apr 2006 11:35:03 -0400, "Patrick Bennington"

I went from a 1997 Escort LX 5spd to a 2005 Focus ZX4 5spd. The Escort was a great car. I averaged about 35 mpg and *never* had to repair it in the 148k miles I owned it.
I have 14k miles on the Focus and love it so far. It is much peppier than the Escort and has a more "sporty" suspension. It is a lot of fun to drive; almost as much fun as the TR4 I had many years ago in college. Gas mileage is averaging 29 mpg. A little disappointing, but expected given the performance.
--
To email me directly, remove CLUTTER.

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I have a 2001 Focus ZTS and it has been not been very reliable. If you search the web you will find that some of the problems with Ford had with the early Focus are still reoccurring. The other problem with Ford products is that Ford does not stand behind their products especially the early models. The Ford Focus also depreciates like a brick within 28 months. If you do decide to buy you need to make sure that you have a good dealer. You might want to consider a Honda Civic. Honda offers a lot more for the money, has a higher safety rating because of the extra air bags, very good fuel mileage and its styling make the Ford Focus look like a granny.
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