Last post on Jan 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM
You are in the Ford Focus
What is this discussion about?
Ford Focus, Hatchback
#2427 of 2882 2.3L comments please
Apr 18, 2003 (5:28 am)
Really interested in the 2.3L in the FOcus, espeically a left-over 2003 here in MA. Talk about a little-known good deal!
#2428 of 2882 2.3L ZX3 @ $8998 - The Price, the Motor
Apr 18, 2003 (8:18 am)
THE PRICE: I never could understand why anyone would buy a Base model ZX3 vs. a Premium. Assuming both have stick shifts, if you add air conditiong to the Base model (which doesn't have it stock), the car is only about $200 cheaper than the Premium, which comes stock with air, but also has: leather steering wheel; tilt/telecopic steering wheel; fog lamps; MP3(the Base does at least have the CD player); cruise control; and 16 inch wheels with 205 tires.
Of course, sometimes the 5 speeds in the Premium model (which still has crank windows, manual locks, and manual outside mirrors)can come with options that broaden the gap between the Base with air and Premium standard configurations. (The ONLY option on the Base model is aircon - not even an auto is available). So, if you are going to order a ZX3 and needed aircon, the Premium is clearly the way to go, unless you need power windows etc. in which case you have to go up the food chain one more step, to the Power Premium group.
HOWEVER, in reality the "Base" models are often advertised, like mine, at incredible discounts - I got the $2,500 rebate PLUS an additional $2000 dealer discount off the MSRP, which is $4,500 off a $13,500 car. Now is definitely the time to buy a new car.
This is why I think Ford has the stripped down Base model: the Base model (and its cousin, the non-aircon LX in the 4 door line) gives Ford and Ford dealers a product they can heavily discount in "sale ads," without eating into their normal sales - in America, more than 90% of the cars are sold with automatics, not sticks, and if you subtract aircon from that, the pool of buyers is probably miniscule. So it isn't exactly bait and switch, but it works like that. They'll sell you the car cheerfully...if you fit the niche that likes it.
So, who besides a real cheapskate would like a Base ZX3?
1. "Extended day" commuters in milder climates, where the aircon isn't needed when you leave for work in the early cool morning and come home after the day has cooled off. One Dodge dealer in the Bay Area used to stock a bunch of stick shift Neons without air just for such drivers. The ZX3 is SO much better car, and Ford dealers are a lot easier to find for service.
2. "Sporty drivers." I am thinking of club racers, autocrossers etc.; the same audience the Neon ACR was designed for, except the ZX3 lacks the koni shocks. The Base model, at this price, is WAY good as a starting point for building a customized car. For example, I am thinking about Eibach springs, or Tokico shocks. (For now I am ok with the profile on the tires, I once had the 205's and they ran a little hard.)
I fall into the sporty/cheap/commuter niches; I have another car with air con for hot days and for weekend daytime driving in the warmer weather. At under $9k, this car costs less than some good home theater systems. The warranty is now up to 100k on the powertrain. It's a PZEV engine with some California credit on my tax return next year, registration and insurance will be cheap. As of the aircon - I don't know how that's going to work out. The ventilation system is strong, its a white car, I'm putting tinting on the rear windows. Also, my body thermostat runs cold, and even on hot days I usually cycle the aircon on briefly and then off, so I don't get overcold.
Now for the engine. In a word - wow. It is so strong, so smooth, and revs so freely. It is hard to believe it is new and not broken in. I now have 93 miles on the car. It has a lot of pull from lower rpms. There is no growling or harshness - just strong pulling. Neon fans who have liked the 2.0 "magnum" engine in the Neon should really try this one out - it's more than the displacement, this is a world class engine in a way the 2.0 Zetec wasn't, despite its aspirations. I had the 2.0 Zetec before, and it felt constricted and not willing to rev, compared to this one.
As I get more miles on it, I will report further.
The car is built solid - no vibration, quiet. Much better feel than the VW Golf, Civic.
Now, let's keep the fingers crossed and hope that in the last 3 years, Ford has fixed the new model bugs....
Apr 18, 2003 (9:21 am)
Great post, micweb. Very eloquent and inclusive. You definitely got a performance bargain. You're right--the Premium is the way to go for most people....but you can't argue with a $9k car either, even if it's base!! Nothing wrong with being an automotive purist--all the good stuff is still there. A $9k Focus with the 2.3L is the best performance bargain on the planet, bar none. Dare I suggest that the 2.3L Focus will steal sales from the more upscale Mini?? What a delicious thought!! And let's write off the overpriced, expensive-to-insure Civic Si right now!!
#2430 of 2882 2.3L - What Oil Filter?
Apr 18, 2003 (12:52 pm)
I can't find an online reference for a filter number - not even for a Mazda6!
Apr 18, 2003 (1:00 pm)
I'm 25, and it costs $1200 a year to insure my Civic Si. However, if I could have gotten a 2.3L focus for $9,000 6 months ago, I probably would have bought it.
Apr 18, 2003 (1:02 pm)
Yes, that 2.3L filter has generated lotsa discussion on these boards. Very new technology. As you probably know, it's not a canister; it's a filter element and gasket. Very unusual, rather complicated, relatively expensive. My auto parts store didn't have it in stock.
Apr 18, 2003 (1:06 pm)
What are the differences between the 2.3L in the Focus and the 2.3L in the 6? Might be a cheap, easy way of gainig 10-12HP and 5 lbs-ft of torque for the Focus.
#2434 of 2882 Drop in filter!
Apr 18, 2003 (1:30 pm)
Omigosh, so it's a drop in filter, like on the new Cavalier/Ion 2.4 "ecotec" engine? Theoretically good for the environment, since no cannister is required, but probably expensive to replace for the first few years - I wonder if they use the Ecotec's element - naw, that would be too much standardization.
beanboy, before even thinking about swapping engine parts, I'd try to get some dyno readings. Car companies are notorious with not accurately stating horsepower...sometimes understating it (more rare) and often overstating.
The 2.3L seems to have an "air filter" replacement indicator. Anybody know what's going on there? Is this another specialty item, the filter? I usually like to replace the air filter every 10k miles, they are usually so cheap at WalMart, but I may have to defer this if the part is unusual or expensive....
#2435 of 2882 I guess the Mazda6 filter SHOULD be the same...
Apr 18, 2003 (1:31 pm)
Sometimes the same engines in different cars have different filters (filter height) due to clearance issues...but if the new filter is a drop in, they should be exactly the same, right? (Hope springs eternal.)
Apr 18, 2003 (6:31 pm)
The 2.3L filter element is the same for the 6 and Focus, b/c they're the same engine. The filter is surely more expensive than a canister, but not excessively so. Probably 3-4 bucks more, no big deal. Just increase the oil change interval 1k miles or so, to even out the cost.........I was initially opposed to non-canister oil filters, but let's be realistic. A canister filter can hold half a quart (or more) of dirty toxic oil. That goes directly in landfills (unless, like me, one punches holes in it to drain it). Maybe it's time to phase canisters out. As long as the spark plugs are accessible, I don't care what the oil filter looks like........