We bought a 2002 ZTW a year ago last June. It now has 22k miles on it and
we have had no problems. None. Zip. Nada. With all the rebates, discounts
and incentives now is a good time to buy: Before word gets around that, CU
and other naysayers notwithstanding, Focus is a quality car, and the price
Focus is crap, friend just picked up a brand new 2003 Focus wagon, defective
right off the lot. The rear fold down seat wasn't even properly bolted in.
The doors feel light and tinny and overall the car feels cheap. On the
bright side, it sure hell is roomy, has a nice upright driving position, I
wish like hell ford would get its quality in line as I would snap one up in
a heartbeat. Ford has to fire a few of its marketing staff to make room for
What I found helpful was to research problems reported not only for the
model I wanted, but for several other models produced by the same
manufacturer, and doing the same for each make/model I was interested
in. It gave me a very good idea what problems appear to be found with
many/most new cars (the short lifespan of brakes in modern cars is a
good example), what problems seemed to be prevalent across a
manufacturer's product lines (for instance, certain generic Ford
problems seem to be problems with tailgate/hatchback rust, ignition
cylinders going bad, failure to start or to suddenly stall), and
basically what to expect.
After comparing problems across product lines and against rival
products, you're in a better position to decide what problems you can
deal with (at least by knowing what to watch for) and how many problems
you'd be willing to possibly have to deal with.
And you may decide that the later-model Focuses look pretty typical in
the problems area after comparing them to comparable models by other
Just a personal opinion but I think it has to do a little bit with, for lack
of a better word, luck. I have a 2000 ZTS and have had no problems with it
except for the recalls. But there are others that have been in and out of
the dealer with the same model for major problems. When buying a used car
then your at the mercy of what the previous owner did to it, but if your
looking at a brand new 2003 I suspect it's a little bit of luck of the draw.
Go to the library or check at newstand for Consumer Reports magazine
new car issue. They have ratings on vehicles by year broke down by
engine, tranny, electrical, a/c, etc. CR usually is pretty accurate.
Not accurate and VERY prejudiced about the Focus...everyone reports good
experiences with 2001 and up models but they then state "due to substandard
quality issues with the 2000 models we can't recommend it" How long are they
going to penalize Ford for a first year model ??? Give me a break...Linda
Linda: You got that right! Strange, last I looked, they had a black check
mark next to the Focus, which they elsewhere explain, means average. But
then in their review,they just repeat what they said the year before about
reliability. So far, based on our '02 ZTW, I'd say the Focus is more
reliable than Consumer Reports!
If you check model years other than 2000, Focus rates as well as a Honda
Civic (not sure that's a plus, really). No idea why they don't bother
mentioning this in the text. I *think* they don't recommend Focus because
they have insufficient data for 2002 & 2003 (whatever that means). Curious
since there were plenty sold for those years and you'd think they'd have the
returns from 2002, at least, tabulated. They could and should explain much
better how they arrive at their decisions. In any case, some part of their
ratings is based on their test drive which is subjective and I frequently
As accurate as can be expected under the circumstances. I have been a
subscriber for 6? years, every year we get a survey to fill out, which we
never have, of course. Quality ratings are assigned based on the surveys.
Whom would be more likely to fill out such a survey, satisfied or
dissatisfied customers? How many Focus owners subscribe to CR and fill out
I've got a 2003 Focus ST (European 173bhp model) with only about 1000 miles
to the clock (got it about a month ago). Though it's too early to draw any
conclusions, it feels taut and well-built. I used to have an Audi A3, which
produced far more chassis squeaks that the ST and generally didn't impress
me much. Only ST problem so far is a rattle that seems to be coming from the
rear door or possibly the front passenger-side seatbelt housing (mine is a
5-door hatch). Guess I'll let the dealer have a look at it when i have the
In the end, it's a thrill to drive and with a 3-year warranty I should be
well covered anyway.
It's worth noting that the European Focus has been near the top of the pile
in quality surveys since its introduction, so it would appear that it did
not suffer the same teething pains as the North American Focus anyway. I've
had my Focus TDCi Estate (wagon) for a month now, and 2000 km, and so far
have no problems with only two minor "annoyances". There is a quiet rattle
in the instrument panel which sometimes occurs at 60kph, sometimes doesn't
happen. It's hard to detect over ambient noise. Also, the 50 cent plastic
piece in the glovebox which holds the owner's manual in place snapped off,
but that's partly due to my ham-fistedness. Other than that, smooth sailing
and smiles all around with the performance, smoothness, fit, finish etc. I
was initially surprised to see that the (Swiss at least) Focus is not fully
undercoated, with some bare painted metal in the wheelwells and down the
center tunnel, but having crawled under several on the lot, it's clearly
intentional and not a Monday-morning oversight. Time will tell if this
makes a difference for the galvanized chassis, but it has a 12-year warranty
Thanks for all the feedback. Rented a focus and was happy with how it drove
etc, but can see they have cut some corners on body construction. Didn't
like the low metal lines under the LH front corner as they look like they
could be easily damaged. Same for bottom pulley.
Just picked up my 03 ZTW yesterday. Perfect so far, three comments:
Came with Pirelli P6s--pleasant surprise
Came with cross racks--pleasant surprise
DRLs were off--will turn them on
Will chime in when I can do some serious driving/evaluation.
Rick Rivard (via Arizona)
"F. Plant" < firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
Don't buy a Focus! We have a 2001 ZTS and it has been repainted 4 times by
our local Ford Dealer. There was rust on the trunk and doors and we have
now found it under the hood as well. Ford knows this is a problem and has
not done a recall, thank goodness we are still under warranty. The dealer
was not helpful and did a terrible job of painting, I don't know how they
are still in business. We have looked around in used car lots and found
that all Focus in for sale had this problem....I wish that we could put a
class action suit against Ford . Since we bought this car 2 years ago the
price has gone down to $8000.00 for a trade in and we can not lose that much
money on a trade in on a new car - NORTH AMERICAN vehicles no more.
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