Last post on Nov 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM
You are in the Ford Focus
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Ford Focus, Wagon
#488 of 637 Impressions about a Focus Wagon
Jun 05, 2006 (4:12 pm)
Bought a used 2000 Focus Wagon two weeks ago. In general, I like the car, especially considering how much I payed for it. Still have some peeves.
The aerodynamics is not perfect. I don't know about hatchback or sedan, but driving a wagon with windows open is almost impossible. If I open driver's window it is noisy and drafty. If I open passenger window, the wind buffeting is severe. Same with rear windows. Basically all I can do is open windows at two inches at most. The air induction with cabin fan turned off is weak. So the only way to drive this car is to keep windows closed, turn on the fan and turn on air conditioning. This really sucks since I like driving with windows open. Another annoyance is wind noise in the side mirror/driver window area on speeds exceeding 80 mph.
The seats are relatively comfortable and elevated, this simplifies getting in and out. Back support seems ok for me, but the seat cushion is too short, this is especially noticeable when keeping foot on the brake. The cushion height can be changed, but the cushion angle cannot, I would prefer rear cushion end to be lower.
The rear seat is not equipped with head restraints. Ford seemed to have calculated the risk and decided that not too many adults ride in the rear seats and out of those who do, not too many get in accidents. I wonder why Ford has not been sued yet for this attitude regarding passenger safety.
Rear seatback splits 60/40, but the cushion is one piece, this is plain stupid. Hey Ford, if you wanted to cut costs why making a split seatback at all?
The steering wheel is ok. My car is equipped with cruise control which is unintuitive to operate (I owned Toyota Camry before). Also, there is little space between the wheel itself and the cruise control buttons, so using proper driving technique keeping thumbs inside the steering wheel is not easy. There is a slight vibration that is transferred from the road to steering wheel. Not very noticeable at first, but after one hour driving you notice it.
Power windows are not as refined as on Toyota, they produce cheap "unlubricated" glass-by-plastic sound. But the doors shut with a nice thud.
Rear drum brakes squeal. Well, this is a 2000 Focus, but apparently even 2004 models have this problem. Has it been fixed for 2005 onwards, after Focus was slightly redesigned? I don't know. Can anyone suggest better brake pads that do not squeal?
The trunk is huge but lacks hooks to tie stuff down. Toyota Matrix has a better thought-out trunk. The spare wheel in the Focus is not easy to remove and to fix it back. The accessibility of the jack is even worse. Come on, take a look at how Japanese do it. The great thing about Japanese cars is that not only frequently-used stuff is well-designed, but rarely-used stuff is well-designed too.
The shocks were awful, the car floated and bobbed on California freeways. This is not just my car, I test drove 2002 Focus and a brand new model as well. I must say that even with soft shocks the car drives very well, keeping the lane in turns. I replaced stock shocks and struts with KYB GR-2, much better. No bobbing anymore, but now I can feel the smallest flaw of the freeway. Well, better this than a floaty car.
The 2.0-liter 16-valve Zetec is powerful enough, but I guess that 2.3-liter Duratec should provide better driving experience.
So far I can say, that the car's body and suspension are well designed, but everything else was saved on. Cost-cutting is everywhere. The car is ok for the money I payed for it, but I would not consider buying a new Focus for 15-18 grands, nah, no sirree. I would rather get Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe. Almost the same money for a new one, better resale value and better quality. I mean the build quality, parts quality and percieved quality like how different things sound or feel to touch. I hate Matrix's instrument panel, guess this is Pontiac's influence. Still, I think that a Matrix would be a better choice for a buyer of a new small hatchback/wagon.
#489 of 637 Re: Impressions about a Focus Wagon [mikus]
Jun 06, 2006 (3:54 am)
Our new 2006 wagon also has squeaky rear brakes. Our 2002 wagon brakes were quiet. Certainly agree with you re: the rear seat design. A split seatback but no split seat cushion was not one of Ford's better ideas. The engine, Duratec in our 2006, is far superior to the 2002 Zetec. More power, smoother, quieter.
Overall a pretty good wagon for the money and a lot more pleasing to drive than any Matrix we have driven.
#490 of 637 Re: Impressions about a Focus Wagon [bdyment]
Jun 09, 2006 (2:58 pm)
I have to 2nd that I like the Focus wagon better then the Matrix. The 1.8 is inferior IMO, and even more inferior to the 2.3. However I do agree with some of the previous critiques of the Focus. Front passenger seat bottom is too flat. I have modified mine, lowered the rear support about 1" so it is tilted more (like the driver side in low position) and now it is near perfect. It was not comfy for passenger on long trips, unlike the adjustable driver seat bottom which can be made very comfy. Air flow is just OK, it could be better, but I have no problem with the fan on #2 spot. I too get an occasional squeak on the brakes, but all pads are thick and like new. It's maybe once every 2 drives. Anyway, I got mine with very low miles in near new condition. I have to agree that these are a super deal used, nothing can touch it IMHO and they were ahead of their time in many ways..
#491 of 637 Re: Impressions about a Focus Wagon [jazvan]
Jun 09, 2006 (5:04 pm)
> I have to 2nd that I like the Focus wagon better
> then the Matrix. The 1.8 is inferior IMO,
> and even more inferior to the 2.3.
1.8 liters, 130 hp 6000 rpm, 125 ft-lbs. 4200 rpm, 29/36 mpg (manual)
1.8 liters, 180 hp 7600 rpm, 130 ft-lbs. 6800 rpm, 25/30 mpg (manual)
2.0 liters, 110 hp 5000 rpm, 125 ft-lbs. 3750 rpm, 27/36 mpg (manual)
2.0 liters, 130 hp 5300 rpm, 135 ft-lbs. 4500 rpm, 25/32 mpg (manual)
How 1.8 is inferior than Ford's 2.0? It is more powerful with beter fuel economy. And 36 MPG for Focus? Really? Most people get 25-28 MPG. My best so far is 29 MPG. Mazda's 2.3 engine is a great one I agree.
Jun 10, 2006 (4:05 am)
Folks, it's fairly simple. The brake pad compositon, has been maximized-through research, and much of that-but probably, the 'most bang for the manufacturer's buck', results in annoyance(s), but good stopping power.
The rear drum bakes accumulate this brake dust, and glazing, and the rear brake assembly needs to periodically be cleaned out-degreased, wiped down, reassembled. If the vehicle is still under warranty, they should do it free at your favorite Ford store.
#493 of 637 Re: Emissions light on dash [hotx3]
Jun 14, 2006 (3:44 pm)
im new to this forum, so dont know if this is the proper place to post. but here goes! our 2003 focus se wagon needs brakes, all the way around. (about 40,000 miles) first service its needed since we bought it new in 03! i figure while im replacing the rear drum shoes, id buy the inner seals and pack the inner and outer wheel bearings, if they dont need replacing. someone told me the bearings might be sealed, and i may not be able to repack them, just replace them. is this true???? i havent picked up a wrench in about 10 yrs, due to a disability, but have worked on vehicles most my mylife !
#494 of 637 Re: License Plate Lights [cfpeters]
Jun 18, 2006 (4:29 am)
In 1/06 similar problem with corrosion in my license plate light bulb holders. Haven't fixed yet. Three Ford dealers constacted and they all said never heard of this type problem! In looking for short, I took off both taillight lens and tried to remove the taillight bulbs. COULD NOT TURN THE BULB HOLDING UNITS AND REMOVE THEM FROM THE PLASTIC LENS. The same lens has the backup light and THIS COULD BE TURNED AND REMOVED!! Two of the Ford dealers said they never heard of such a problem, but the third said he'd get them out, you just have to turn hard. I had pliers on the unit and was sure I'd have broken the unit if I turned harder. You have any such problem. Sounds to me like the lens units made with taillight hole too small in diameter.
#495 of 637 Re: License Plate Lights [tomh3]
Jun 19, 2006 (6:20 am)
I had a similar problem with my 03 ZTW.
The bolts on the shocks on my rear hatchback door
rusted out. The dealer said they had never seen that problem. But they fixed it under warranty at about 35k miles.
I'm replaceing my squeaky brakes all the way around here in a couple of weeks in my driveway. My son is a mechanic and we will do it when it cools down . Maybe we can have a brake party here in St. Louis. Let me know if you're interested.
#496 of 637 Re: Impressions about a Focus Wagon [mikus]
Jun 20, 2006 (10:09 am)
The 2.0 Zetec (old head) has 10 ft/lbs more torque which is significant in this type of car. The new 2.0 Focus engines all have the higher efficiency Mazda heads (Duratec) and they are rated at 136 hp and 37mpg hwy. It has the same head as the 2.3 which is basically stroked with added balance shafts. The 110 hp Zetec engine no longer exists, I wasn't thinking of this one and have to admit it compares poorly.
The "hot-rod" 180 hp MAtrix XRS is an interesting comparison point because my 2.3 wagon is faster and smoother and more efficient. 2.3 wagon has 0-60 of 7.9 seconds (Car and Driver) compared to 8.5 to 8.9 for a 180 hp XRS. My highway MPG is 35 compared to 30, I do not require high octane fuel and I have more cargo capacity. BTW I do achieve EPA MPG.
But my opinion that the Matrix engine is inferior is not based so much on specs but by just driving both cars. It is just displacement-challenged IMO and the Mazda-designed Focus engines are at least as efficient with more displacement.
#497 of 637 Rear wheel noise on 2003 ZTW wagon
Jul 02, 2006 (12:56 pm)
Has anyone had issues with wheel bearing in the rear of the wagon? My wagon has 43K on it I have replaced all tires and shoes and pads. There is a vibration from the rear left when driving at all speeds. Very easy to hear on fresh blacktop, older roads hide the sound. Dealer said to replace both wheel bearing at 60k. Any thoughts?