Last post on Jan 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM
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Ford Focus, Sedan
#1937 of 2013 2005 Ford Focus ST
Oct 09, 2007 (4:23 am)
My 2005 Focus ST with the 2.3 liter and 5-speed manual transmission is still running flawlessly at 47,000 miles.
Observations? It is still a joy to drive with perfect on-center feel and tracking (lacking in so much of the competition). The Focus goes where it is pointed with a sense of purpose and control. It exits a curve with wonderful torque and power. There is a lot of road noise, addressed by the new 2008's attention to NVH but at the sacrifice of the lovely 2.3 liter engine as the '08 Focus only offers the 2.0 liter. Fuel economy for the sport model is just over 30 mpg all-in for the last 30,000 miles, with probably 70% Interstate (65-75 mph) and the rest mixed city. The manual is well located and both the shift throws and clutch feel work well for me. It could use another and higher sixth gear (beyond the 5 now available) to reduce cruising RPMs at 70 mph, but the ratios at lower speeds are sweet in cut and thrust driving. I've performed regular maintenance and used synthetic oil. The only unscheduled maintenance was replacement of a remote trunk release under warranty. (It relocked before you could open the trunk.) Very minor gripe is the wear on the radio buttons as it is the only thing that betrays it is not brand new.
For the price, the economy, reliability and fun factor are hard to beat. Dressed in all black inside and out with a leather accented interior featuring red stitching my Focus looks purposeful and sporting. Based on my sterling experience, I heartily recommend the Focus as a well-sorted, reliable car.
#1938 of 2013 Re: 2005 Ford Focus ST [basiliskst]
Oct 09, 2007 (9:46 pm)
My '05 ST's power remote trunk release was so oversensitive it popped open the trunk whenever there's water (heavy rain or car wash). The dealer initially failed to admit it b/c I didn't point out that it's water related. When I brought the car in again, they blamed on my recent removal of the rear spoiler w/ the holes plugged but not sealed with plastic plugs.
This problem seemed to improve over time, but not the toxic nauseating interior smell (mine was an early production purchased in late '04). Ford refused to cover this smell problem saying that there's no standard finding it as a defect. I later found newer Focus' not having this sickening smell. Also, the '06 suspension was improved for comfort, as Consumer Reports (June '06) praised its ride in the "HIGHS", which is an expeption (along w/ the BMW 3-series) for a sporty-handling car. So I decided to chip in another $8k to trade it in (my '05 had only about 10,000 miles was worth only $7800) back in May for a nearly-stripped factory-ordered '07 ST, which was sold at dealer's invoice plus the $3000 rebate, which is nothing compare to the $8000 off MSRP my cousin bargained down on a $30,000 premium Focus-II (Volvo V50).
Since the sound quality of my '05's factory Sony/subwoofer system sucked & sucked out too much trunk space, I skipped any stereo upgrade this time & plan to do aftermarket.
I even skipped the heated seats & side airbags on the (checkered-like red/blk) cloth seats this time, as I plan to replace them w/ a pair of sport seats (blue cloth/blk vinyl with an "S" in red on the "Focus S" stitching) from the '05-07 Taiwan-spec Focus II Sport hatch. That'll look pretty rad w/ the checkered-like red/blk cloth on the front door panels.
I don't envy the 5-cyl Focus II ST's factory Recaro seats, as Recaro seats have thin cushion that can't absorb road shocks like these factory seats, which got very thick (but still firm) cushion. & they're huge & have very supportive shape like Volvo seats:
The only option on my '07 ST is the traction control, which used to be standard feature back in '05.
Consumer Reports mistakenly found the ST's sport-exhaust noise as the 2.3's loud engine noise, as they didn't complain about the noise from SES's 2.0. Some exhaust shops should be able to modify the noise to a comfortable level that doesn't interfere w/ human conversation.
#1939 of 2013 Re: 2005 Ford Focus ST [basiliskst](It's even better than the BMW!)
Oct 20, 2007 (11:17 pm)
"Observations? It is still a joy to drive with perfect on-center feel and tracking (lacking in so much of the competition). The Focus goes where it is pointed with a sense of purpose and control. It exits a curve with wonderful torque and power."
The Focus may not have the comfy long springs found in luxury cars like VW, Accord & Mercedes, but the sport suspension of the U.S. Focus ST keeps the normal ride height while other sport packages found in Mercedes, VW/Audi & BMW all have their mighty long springs chopped short! So this makes a perfect comparison b/t the Focus ST & those big guys w/ sport package.
This is what happened when these Euro hatchbacks -- BMW 3-series(E46), Mercedes C-class , Audi A3(MkII) & Alfa 147 -- are equipped with sport package:
"Individually none is bad, but the general (in)competence level has shocked me because even the best car here doesn't come close to the basic dynamic standards set by the four-and-a-half-year-old Ford Focus. And for the money being asked that's criminal." -- British magazine AUTOCAR(pp46-51, 11 June 2003)
So let's take a look at the best driver's sedan from BMW -- the E36 ('92-99 3-series). It's more involving & has more steering feel than the newer models but still rides much comfier than those old ones w/o multi-link rear suspension. & I went collect a mint '99 328is.
To my surprise, besides having RWD so adding LSD can play power rear slide, this car has no advantage over the lighter-weight 2.3 Focus ST! I like heavy steering, so I would change the voltage signal in the Focus pwr-steering wire to keep it hefty. But this BMW's steering is still too heavy for me! & despite the slow ratio, it still can't track straight at high speed if the the road isn't perfectly smooth or leveled, so constant correction is needed whole day long! While the quick-&-light steering from the Focus requires only one finger to track straight steadily & effortlessly! Everything in this BMW requires so much effort (especially when Focus's clutch is so light) while very little was achieved. I wonder what all the fuss was all about. RWD set up means the engine doesn't have to sit ahead of the front axle. But w/ so much curb weight, a heavy 6-cyl is needed & an agile front end doesn't seem to be there. What's worse, the car plows straight forward badly at low speed if the steering wheel is turned after stepping on the throttle hard. & the sport packege's lowered springs made the ride comfort rather nightmare-ish over deeper bumps such as speed bumps.
"There is a lot of road noises"
As far as the road noise goes, you might have to sound insulate your inexpensive Focus w/ Dynamat or something.
Another advise from me -- Invest a Quaife LSD from Focus Sport. Turn off the traction control & toss your ST around w/ the 2.3 throttle This is the best FWD toy you can get.
Oct 21, 2007 (11:31 pm)
Creakid1 advised that the 2005-2007 Focus ST with a Quaife limited slip differential "is the best FWD toy you can get." I'd agree with that wholeheartedly, even without the after market limited slip differential. For the money, the Focus ST is unbelievable.
It's not that I couldn't afford a more expensive car. It's that the ST wowed me by contrast with more expensive cars. Why spend more when the best driving experience was also the lowest cost. That's what I call value.
If I could, I'd find an after market trunk lid liner and do a few more refinements to address road noise, but the 2.3 liter engine really sings and I don't want to cover up that perfect burble.
Most cars fade into the background of daily life. Reliability is all that is asked by most consumers. My Focus has been bulletproof reliable, but it gives more than that. Every day I still think, "Gee, this is a great car to drive." I have fun driving it. That new toy feeling hasn't worn off and I've put 25,000 miles on in a little over a year. I'm not bored yet.
I've driven bigger, more powerful performance cars but none have had the same lasting effect on me as the Focus ST.
Thanks for the lead to Focus Sport and some possible upgrades like the Quaife differential.
#1941 of 2013 Help to fix muffler of 2002 SE
Oct 24, 2007 (1:00 pm)
The muffler of my 2002 SE has started leak because of rust. If I replace whole exhaust system it will cost me more than $400. Is there anyone know how to fix it instead of replaceing it? Thanks!
#1942 of 2013 Re: Best FWD toy [basiliskst](Best 4-seat toy, FWD or not!)
Oct 25, 2007 (10:11 am)
Here's a RWD rival w/ closer curb weight from BMW...
"To cope with the performance, the flagship Coupé gets M Sport suspension as standard. This sees the car lowered by 15mm, and so it serves up sharp steering and bags of grip. But while body roll is limited, the ride can become crashy over bumpy surfaces, and the electro-mechanical steering doesn’t provide consistent weight and feel."
If you can afford to buy the best driver's car, then why bother ruining the fun w/ electro steering?
The Focus 2.3 ST should fear no rival, 'cause there is none.
#1943 of 2013 Another joker from around the world
Nov 05, 2007 (11:49 am)
Please, there is no such thing as high-tech Control Blade multi-link rear suspension all wrapped up in a tall narrow compact exterior the way the original Focus is. Not the newer Mazda3/S40/Focus-II w/ bulky exterior width.
Here's a new challenger from Europe compact enough to match, but trying to get away w/ low-tech rear suspension, plus electric steering?
"To provide poise in the corners, the suspension has been lowered by 18mm at the front, and 15mm at the rear. The electrically assisted steering has also been reprogrammed, and is claimed to give greater weighting and more feedback. Sadly, the SRi fails to live up to its promise. Turn into a bend and you’ll discover an artificial feel to the steering and a chassis that’s too easily upset by mid-corner bumps and the torque of the turbo powerplant.
The stiff suspension set-up also means that the Corsa crashes and thumps over even the smoothest surfaces, making motorway journeys a pain. A springy action to the six-speed gearbox and a jerky throttle compound the dynamic deficiencies."
Does the new line of "fun" compact Saturns coming up from Europe have any future?
#1944 of 2013 The '08 American invention ruined it
Nov 06, 2007 (2:43 am)
Oh no, we need to be competitive in the fuel-economy area, especially when most Focus buyers here are bunch of cheapskates. So instead of having efficient engines like Honda's, let's just pull out the belt-driven hydraulic power-steering pump.
This original Euro classic now doesn't just look domestic. It's as boring to steer as well!
"Moving to the new design, some of the ingredients have changed, such as the conversion to electrical power steering...
Though much is the same, the new Focus has a different character than the old one, a more sober, mature character. The steering maintains the effortless, light feeling of the old car, but it's less hyperactive. While still precise it feels slightly dulled when going straight ahead, something I'd chalk up to the setup of the electrical power steering to require less inputs when driven at high speeds on the highway and fewer kickbacks from the wheel. The conversion to an electric rack also leaves the wheel mostly devoid of feedback, an area which the old Focus was very strong. The Focus' handling has also been tweaked fairly substantially to increase its stability. The new model now reacts neutrally to input, safely understeering its way out of problem situations, which is in sharp contrast to the current car's desire to oversteer upon throttle lift-off or when trail braking. Our Sport Package equipped Coupe tester featured a rear stabilizer bar for a slightly flatter ride, but there's still a fair deal of body roll."
So you don't get to play oversteer w/ this high-tech Control Blade rear suspension anymore? Our fun playful puppy has died
#1945 of 2013 Lack of Effeceint Engines?
Nov 06, 2007 (3:34 pm)
Please refrain from making comments based on biased fiction instead of Facts.
The 2.0L in the Focus has a combined EPA of 28 mpg. The 1.8L in the Civic has a combined EPA of 29 mpg. Hardly much of a difference when you consider that the Focus has a 4 speed auto vs the 5 speed auto in the Civic. Focus has a bigger engine (more torque) and has 2 cubic feet more in the passanger compartment and in the truck.
#1946 of 2013 Re: Lack of Effeceint Engines? [mschmal]
Nov 06, 2007 (7:37 pm)
More low-end torque should meant even higher mpg. As shown in other manufacturers' results, such as the 2.8 BMW gets better mpg than the 2.5 BMW if they are both tuned to have the same high-end hp.
Consumer Reports' real-world testing has been consistently complaining about Focus' low mpg, even after switching to Mazda-ized engines. While these Mazda-ized engines used in the Focus are tuned to have stronger low-end torque & weaker high-end hp than the ones used in the Mazda3, CR's real-world testing praised the 2.0 Mazda3 for having the best mpg!
My torquiest Focus engine -- the ST 2.3 -- feels weaker than my '98 Corolla 1.8 at low rpm. I get 40mpg cruising my 5-sp Corolla LE on the fwy, while my 5-sp Focus ST can't even come close.
Despite all that, I still hated my Corolla due to the poor steering, handling, ride & driving position. That's why I got rid of it & bought the Focus ST. How many people in (the "badge snob") S. California do that?