Last post on Jan 19, 2013 at 11:59 AM
You are in the Ford Focus
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Ford Focus, Hatchback
#2771 of 2882 Prolonged Focus hatch test
Apr 17, 2005 (4:42 pm)
After reading the small car & hatchback related boards for months, the Focus ZX5 looked like the best contender to replace my 92 Civic Si on the basis of a good combo of performance, economy, handling and comfort. I was in SoCal for a week & rented a ZX5 SES from Budget.
LIKES: Handled very nicely while maintaining a comfortable ride, functional 5 door set up with plenty of room in hatch with seats up, plenty of usable cubbies/spaces in front, nice, well placed, functional armrest, basic controls easy to decipher, especially the stereo (handy steering wheel controls) /AC. A small thing I especially appreciated was the automatic volume control of the stereo, seems to be a Ford specialty that should be emulated by other makers. AT is smooth, responsive, low revs on highway. Height adjustable front seat (though awkward mechanism). NIce combo of standard features (PW, PL, PM, remote
NEUTRAL: Power with AT adequate, not exhilarating, I liked the exterior look, wife does not, highway noise par or slightly better for class as is equipment.
DISLIKES:Gas mileage less than 30 mpg with mixed, conservative driving. Both my wife & I found seats comfortable initially, but that was short lived - after about 1/2 hour started to notice a lack of lower back support.
BOTTOM LINE: Nice car over all, lack of lumbar support in seats is a deal killer.
What I Really Want: a hatchback (prefer 4 doors) under $17K, 30+ city mileage, 38+ highway; both front seats height adjustable with good lumbar support (especially important for my wife), adjustable arm rest, decent cornering and relatively smooth quiet ride, readable, straight forward stereo & heater controls, basic luxuries of PW, PL, PM, AC, sunroof, ABS, SAB. The two main contenders now are used 2002-2004 GTi (class act of bunch, I assume it do as well or better that the amazinging gas mileage of our A4 w CVT), Spectra5 (quite nice, but gas mileage falls short - I look forward to what the Edmunds long term test results), Mazda3 (stereo controls & HAV control are small and confusing), or Honda Jazz if they bring it to USA. Looks like I will continue to ready what y'all have to say on Edmunds and keep on slumming around in the ol' Civic w 169K. It lacks the comfort and convenience of all the above cars, but it still gets 33+ mpg in mixed driving, has a certain verve and has the proverbial old shoe feeling.
RENTAL CAR NOTE -- BEWARE OF USED RENTAL CARS - maintainace may be poor: I spotted the ZX5 on the lot and asked specifically for it. The agent asked how many miles I expected to drive. When I said:" less than 500 he indiciated that it was due for an oil change, but since I wasn't going far, he rented it to me. I inquired how often they change the oil -- normally at 5,000. However, this rig had 8,100 and the oil had yet to be changed and was just above the add mark.
#2772 of 2882 Re: Prolonged Focus hatch test [204meca]
Apr 18, 2005 (8:46 am)
Thanks for the test report. I have owned three ZX3's and they all drove well, although the first two had some bugs. You said:
after about 1/2 hour started to notice a lack of lower back support.
On my 2000 ZX3, when you raised or lowered the seat, the seat back and the cushion where linked and moved up and down as one piece.
In subsequent years, they changed the mechanism so only the cushion goes up or down. This can result in an uncomfortable gap between the top of the cushion and the bottom of the seat back, and may have been what you were experienced. if you forego the seat height adjustment and reset the seat height so it closes the gap with the seat back, the seat is much more comfortable.
#2773 of 2882 Re: Prolonged Focus hatch test [204meca]
Jun 01, 2005 (8:46 am)
You are right about the lack of lower back support - at least on the 2005 model. I have rented a 2005 Focus ZX4 SE (which is the plane jane four door) for a week now, and it has much worse lower back support than my former ZX3's. It isn't an issue of the seat being lowered, as I had suggested in my prior email. They must have changed something.
On the other hand, I have been using the rental Focus for a 35 mile commute which is almost all freeway, and been pleasantly surprised by the 30 mpg on my first tank, despite having an automatic. This matches the mileage I typically get on stick shift cars of this size and weight, and is much better than the 26 mpg I got on my 2002 ZX3 with automatic (and older style Zetec engine).
The pzev engine continues to have flat spots and hesitations, except under hard acceleration it feels "out of tune" though of course the mileage proves it isn't. These flatspots and hesitations are similar to what I had experienced in the 2003 2.3 pzev I had. I think it's because the engine must run very lean under light throttle (cruising etc.). I guess it's a trade off between the nice feel of a Golf or Scion and the outstanding emissions levels on the new Focus...although maybe Ford can do something about the flat spots and hesitation as they further develop the technology.
You are right about rental cars. This 5000 mile old, 2005 Focus from Hertz feels less "tight" than my 44,000 mile 2001 Golf did when I sold it. Theoretically there isn't any maintenance required on this rental unit, but rental drivers must beat the heck out of it.
BTW, you might want to be a little cautious if you buy a used Golf GTi vintage 2004-2004. I love VW's, but always worried about the heat put out by these smaller engines (and turbos from other manufacturers) the heat is hard on oil. In fact, there are now widely reported serious sludge problems in the 1.8 turbo when installed in the heavier Passat - synthetic oil and 5,000 mile changes are a must, which is no problem when you buy new but who knows what the former owner did, right? As I said, the problem so far is limited to the Passat but does emphasize the importance of regular oil changes using the recommended synthetic oil.
#2776 of 2882 Decison made - no Focus for me
Jun 19, 2005 (10:01 pm)
Decision time has come & gone. I really wanted get an economical small car such as Focus, Scion, or Honda Jazz, but we decided on a different route. We have reducee our car population by one. Sold the fun, economical 92 Civic daily driver and the boat towing, people hauling 97 Caravan Sport. They have been replaced with a compromise vehicle to tow the boat and a haul a reasonable amount of gear while still being relatively fun to drive & beating 30 mpg on the highway. And the winner is a Subaru Forester XS.
All good cars and tough choices, but the Subie feel right for the next few years.
#2777 of 2882 Re: Intermittent Wipers [ukbb]
Jun 20, 2005 (9:38 am)
Yes. I bought the unit and then procrastinated putting it in thinking it would be difficult. Boy was I wrong. Not much I have ever done to a car has been simpler. The unit works like a charm. Don't wait another day. Bother the warranty? I doubt it as it is an actual Ford part. (at least mine was and in the Ford factory part box to boot!)
#2778 of 2882 Re: 6 cd in dash player [bbbb51]
Jun 20, 2005 (9:42 am)
This is not specifically going to help but might not hurt. I only have the single player in a 2001 ZX3 and it will play CD-R.....at least the one and only that I have bothered to burn so far. I don't recollect what brand the disc was though. You might try a different brand of media.
#2779 of 2882 Help People Compare Focus MPG
Jun 23, 2005 (9:16 am)
Great forum... I am researching Focus fuel economy and happened to land here. There is a site that compares MPG across all major car brands, and it is user-driven to some extent. They list the manufacturer's city and highway MPG, then ask owners to post what the cars ACTUALLY get.
I would encourage y'all to post your MPG on thatr site. Only one or two Focus owners have posted so far, leaving a dearth of information on this model.