Should I get a focus?

I've been looking for a good simple car and was wondering if the ford focus would be a good buy? Me and my dad looked at a neon from the dodge dealer and liked it but after I got online it only took about 2 minutes to find
lots of bad reviews on this car. I was reading that the 2003 focus is a good solid car. What are the honest opinions from owners? I read the earlier models had a few problems. Also what could I expect to spend on a new or slightly used one? thanks for any advice you can give!
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Well Spork, here is my take on it. I too had been looking at cars. I needed something affordable, reliable, and pleasing to the eye. I just got my 2003 Focus ZX-5 and I'm fairly happy with it. The first two years of the Focus 2000-01, I'd stay away from. Why? Because there's a lot of bugs that have to be ironed out in the first two years of a new vehicle, look at all the recalls the vehicle had. My family has had many Chrysler products, and while they're nice looking vehicles, it seems like past 50,000 miles there's a self destruct button. If you look at the Neon and the SRT-4, while the engine may be strong, I'd recommend not getting the 2.4 liter engine. This engine which is manufactured by Mitsubishi and installed in many Chrysler products in my opinion is awful. They're well know for blown head gaskets. Our Stratus had the head gaskets replaced 3 times with the 2.4 liter four cylinder engine. I have friends with the 2.4 in their Mitsubishi and they've experienced similar problems. All the Fords we've had gave us little trouble. My reason for a Focus. Good warranty and it was cheap. Domestic vehicles depreciate so quickly, what's the purpose of getting a new vehicle? The warranties are transferable, so it's a win/win situation in my opinion. Mine cost me around $11,200. The vehicle was a used 2003, but with under 3K miles (it was a fleet car). It came with a power sunroof, keyless entry, power windows, auto tranny, 15 inch aluminum rims, fog lights, and in dash cd player that plays MP3's. Overall, I'm really happy with the car and it's great on gas. The warranty is intact and it's a nice looking vehicle. The acceleration is decent for a 4 banger and with so many after-market parts, why not? The Civic is an overpriced car for what it is and doesn't have as many standard options. Well, I made this too damn long, if you have any questions, just e-mail me (remove nospam from the e-mail addy). So by all means, get one! :-)
Mojo

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But make sure that a used vehicle has service records. If there are no service records, you don't really know whether the previous owner did any service (whether himself/herself, at a dealer, or at an independent mechanic), and you won't have any proof of maintenance if there is a question about whether lack of maintenance caused a failure that would otherwise be warrantable.
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Good point and a car fax report isn't a bad idea either.
Mojo
wrote:

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When I was a kid we bought a new 1969 Galaxy 500. I later got it as my first car as a teenager. We put well over 150K hard miles on it and sold it for $150 in 1981. Still ran ok. Someone once told me that Ford drivetrains are the best.
That's why I went with Ford over Dodge. I have a '93 caravan in my driveway waiting for a new 2.4 liter 4cyl. (~160k miles on it - blown head gasket) and an '87 Dodge Shadow (2.2 lire) with 140k miles - still passes the emissions here in Illinois. Idles a little rough though.
Over the years I had 3 different Mercury (Ford) Capri cars, also from Euro-Ford roots. Great cars all of them. My 2000 fucus I just bought reminds me of those little bandits. Just like the focus, they were a thrill to drive but a pain to maintain sometimes.
A guy here at work bought a brand new honda and it died on him 2 weeks into it. The dealer had to install all new injectors. oops - so much for Japan's superiority.
In my opinion, Japanese cars just don't have the personality of american and some Euro built cars. Most are a yawn-fest to drive.
My 2 cents.
John
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Mojo JoJo,
I too bought a used 2003 ZX5 Fleet Vehicle(Michigan Budget Rental Car). You seem to have gotten a better deal though... Mine had 20K miles and $12,700. All in all though I love the car. It's one of the red ones. I didn't get the moon roof. :-(
-- Dan - VA - USA 2003 ZX5 21K miles "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it" - George Santyana

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really want one...for a fee. I just figure it's another way they can break into your car so I never liked them anyway...that's what I have a/c for... Linda ZX5 (reddish ? too)
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Just the standard stuff...Power Everything, Remote Keyless Entry, Automatic Trans, A/C, Single CD player, etc etc etc. Nothing special. I think it is the "Sangria" Red Color. -- Dan 2003 RED ZX5 21.2 K mi. "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it" - George Santyana
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So what did you get on it ? You can always get a sun roof installed if you really want one...for a fee.
The aftermarket sunroofs are not nearly as good as the factory ones.
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You may be interested to know that Consumer Reports has finally given the Focus a "recommended" designation. This, after four years of production. I have a 2002 ZTW and am quite pleased with it. As far as I know, there haven't been any recalls of this vehicle since the 2001 model year.
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I love my Focus, its a quite reliable car, and for being a four banger, its got a nice amount of giddyup. As for everyone saying about the 99/00 Foci having problems, I won't deny that, but I personally haven't had a lick of trouble with my car, save for a blown out tire and the annoying problem of getting wax on the plastic door molding, but that could happen to anyone and any car. Mine, a Red, 5-speed, 4 door was... sticker price around 6300. I don't remember the final price. I got mine used last about a year and 2 months ago, and while she isn't a Mustang, I love my baby pony. I figure I'll keep her until 25, then get my Steeda Cobra.
If you like the car, go for it. Take one out for a spin. Plus, there are more and more options for modding the Focus. Just as long as you don't turn it into a rice burner, its all good. ^_^
good luck on your car buying foray!
patricia 0_0 Red Focus
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To me imperfections are acceptable for a vehicle that costs thousands less than the others. I had already been to the dealer's website and had mulled over their used car inventory. I had also researched each on the internet forums and NGs. Every car I researched had endless complaimts from owners. Yes even Honda and Toyota. When I actually test drove them and got a feel for the cars, I instinctivly went for the Focus. The whole deal just felt better. Buying a car is always a financial loss as soon as you cut the deal. It is also a crap shoot as to build quality. Who was on the assembly line that day and were they having a bad day or not. I think that the supposed high-quality car makers simply have better quality conrol at the end of the line and let less cars get out to the public with problems, but not all are caught in time. John
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I was in exactly the same boat. I too looked on the web and here in alt.autos.ford.focus. Other posters here were generous with replies, both on and off group. Thanks guys and Linda!
I'm in the USA (for you readers in Europe!) and found a 2002 SE with the non-Zetec 2 liter with 22k on the clock. It was offered at $9800 on blowout; the sales guy said that was rock bottom. Looked new except for a cracked windshield. I said it was a thousand more than I had to spend, thanked him and started to walk away (I was really leaving) and he dashed into the showroom, was out in about 30 seconds and said OK. How's $8800? Checked it out on Autocheck. Had been a rental, mileage checked out, so I went for it stipulating the windshield be replaced. I drove it home the next day with new glass. Great little car, not high on comfort, noise or economy, but highly competent in cornering and stopping. A barrel of fun to drive. I think it's in an altogether different class than the Neon and others in the cheapest-car-they-make level. It feels spartan but solid and not cheap. Chalk it up to design for the European market, where it's been available since 99 or so (?).
Ditto on troublesome 2000 and 2001 models.
The only reservation I have is that I might have been happier with the Zetec, but the SP is certainly adequate.
Good luck.
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I bought a 2003 SE in February. Great price, excellent mileage (it's a standard), and enough zip to deal with Sunday drivers who drive during the week. Been on three road trips with it and it was very comfortable. It is loud, but the radio takes care of that ;)

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I own one of the "dreaded" 2000 Foci. I have had 3 problems, aside from the recalls. One, the fuel pump failed - dealer replaced it for free, I didn't even pay for the tow. Second, the ignition started locking up, which the dealer also replaced free of charge when it got to the point that it sometimes took 5 minutes to get the key to turn to start the engine. And yes, I did have trouble with my front brakes (horrid noise after only 6000 miles, like cats f**king), which I finally had replaced when my 10,000 mile check showed some wear - Ford had sent me a coupon for brakes $79 per axle, labor included, so I jumped on the chance to replace the brakes then. No brake noise at all since then (and I had never had any problems stopping, even while I had the noise...just extreme embarrassment), fingers crossed. But then again, I do have very low mileage on the car and do mostly city driving.
Would I buy another Focus? In a heartbeat - this was my first car (didn't get a driver's license til later in life) and I've loved driving it ever since. I test drove a Kia Sephia, Toyota Echo and Dodge Neon, and of the 3, I liked the Focus the best, hands down. It's been a very reliable car for me (except for the fuel pump repair, all other repairs were done on scheduled service visits), and for a small car, handles very well in the Chicago winter.
Patty
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I know what you mean - I had a 2000 also and loved it but I had the wagon and wanted a smaller version...so I got a 2003 ZX5 - Ford always handled almost all the work with no problem...the last one being a seatbelt sensor just after 36,000 miles but still under 3 years - I should have followed it thru to Ford customer service but I just paid the bill and forgot it...I did give up counting the recalls though as I had an early 2000 model from MI. when they got to 11...but every time I took it for an oil change or anything else they always made sure it was current. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Focus but if buying an older one I'd go for a 2001 as most bugs were out by then. Good luck - Linda ZX5 '03
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