Good question. I agonised over exactly the same myself:
IMHO, get the Zetec, but make sure it's the 115 bhp with the comfort pack
(aircon/heated screen). Several k cheaper, you will be able to negotiate a
better discount, and it's same spec without the plastic bits for which there
is a growing post-sales market. Also much lower insurance once QuoteMe****
catches up. Plus, at least as standard, you can park it anywhere without
someone putting a key down the side or trying to nick it, as ... it's a
great qcar ...
Get the non-descript silver one (which is also good to resell) and have fun
dropping all those Audi/BMW reps who think it's a 1600. Pull out to overtake
that HGV on a slope, make sure you are doing ~50 with a queue behind, don't
chase the revs and leave them wondering what the f**k you are driving. Hey,
it breaks up the M-way monotony.
Do the same in a TDCi Sport and they will assume it's a ST. But if that is
what you want... ?
Perhaps it's just me, but I'd rather have something understated. And didn't
want the ST as it's not good enough when not on the track. Again, IMHO.
Thanks for your comments.
I'm not sure I want a non-descript understated one, just something
that looks relatively good, but not over the top. As you say, I don't
want people nicking it. I suppose the 3dr zetec will do the job and
will cost less than the sport version.
But what do you mean 'and it's same spec without the plastic bits'?
Are you happy with your TDCI, any grumbles?
My new TDCi estate is the equivalent of your UK Zetec here in Switzerland,
but is called the "Sport" here (just to make corporate branding confusing).
As the other poster said, the heated windscreen and climate control are very
useful now that it is cold and damp. I ordered my car with 16" alloys and a
sport suspension, and it sticks like glue, so I can't really imagine what
you would gain with the UK Sport and its 17" alloys, apart from better (?)
aesthetics, marginally better grip and a harsher ride with more damage-prone
wheels which cost a lot to replace and are heavier. "Grassroots
Motorsports", an American magazine, recently did a comparison of a typical
FWD car with four different wheel and tire combinations. There were only
marginal (almost not detectable) differences in handling between a 50-series
16" combo and a 45-series 17" combo.
The only thing which I would find useful in the UK Sport would be the seats
which come from the ST. The Zetec seats are comfortable, but really could
use a little more side bolstering (I come from a long line of
Recaro-equipped cars). However, I'm no fan of even partial-leather, so it
would be a 50-50 choice for me.
I think on the balance the Zetec with appropriate extras and some serious
price haggling would be the better car.
Perhaps my general comment of 'plastic bits' is perhaps a bit unfair.
AFAIK, the TDCi Sport is the same as the TDCi Zetec (115 bhp) but with some
of the ST equipment: i.e. wheels, sporty bumpers, leather bits on seats,
maybe flared wheel arches, different dials, spolier?, erm fancy gear knob?
I think the wheels on the Zetec look pretty good anyway though, as does the
car generally. If the Focus sold 10% of what it does then the Zetec would
be considered quite sporty rather than commonplace. Victim of it's own
sucess I guess. Mind you, can you tell the difference between a Zetec and
ST170 coming the other way down an A-road?
Anyway, important oily bits, such as the engine, gearbox and suspension are
exactly the same. I'm happy to be corrected on this, but that is my
understanding. Whatever, the handling on the Zetec is just about perfect.
I don't yet know where the limit of traction is, and I'm not sure I want to
find out. If the Sport is better, without being overly harsh, well that's
just super and I hope The Stig enjoys it.
If you want more info go to www.ffoc.co.uk. They have great forums,
including one dedicated to diesel. You will also find information on
chipping your TDCi to improve BHP and torque (yikes).
To your other question, my TDCi is the best car I've ever owned, and I've
owned a few. It is just superb. The way it pulls at low revs is amazing.
If, God forbid, it disappeared tomorrow, I'd be straight on the phone to
Ford to order another as soon as my insurance allowed - and perhaps that's
the acid test.
Also, even when giving it a good kicking, I'm gettting MPG in the mid-50's.
And it's cheap insurance.
My 'worst' and only grumble in 3 months / 3k of ownership was that the glow
plug light flashed one morning (see post in same NG) and it wouldn't start
until I'd taken out and reinserted the key.
Thanks for your feedback.
I am currently wading my way through the forums on www.ffoc.co.uk,
very useful stuff!
I think I have settled on a 3dr zetec with climate pack. I would like
to get a latter one, as they have break discs all-round. Just a matter
of getting a decent price now. The new version to replace the focus
will be out next year, so should be some pretty good deals around.
I haven't driven the Sport but I've had a Zetec TDCi for about 2 months now
and I love it. The turbo really pulls nicely from low revs. I had a 2.0i
Zetec petrol for 3 years before that and it was an excellent car as well but
I'd probably just put the TDCi in front because you don't have to thrash it
as much to get good acceleration.
I like the look of the Sport but I'm not sure it's worth the extra dosh just
for those looks. My Zetec is Magnum grey, not many of them around so it
tends to stand out a little bit from the other Zetecs.
I'm only getting 42mpg from mine however, maybe the right foot is still a
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