Last post on Jan 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM
You are in the Ford Focus
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Ford Focus, Sedan
Oct 27, 2008 (8:23 pm)
Will two car seats fit well in the backseat of the ZX4?
Currently I am driving a Chevy Malibu, so Im a bit concerned about transitioning from mid-sized to compact.
#1975 of 2013 Re: 2005 Ford Focus? [andersonnc]
Nov 22, 2008 (6:23 pm)
I just got a new Focus and a forward facing infant seat fits fine. Two will fit fine, since forward facing car seats don't extend much beyond the seat cushion, if at all. It's a different story with REAR facing newborn seats, which are REAL space hogs.
I'm pretty sure a rear facing infant seat won't work well in the ZX4, I know it didn't work for us with a Neon unless we pushed my wife's seat too far forward for comfort and made it max upright (I couldn't drive with the seat behind me or in the middle). We traded in the Neon on the much roomier, in the back seat, PT Cruiser, and later a Dodge Caliber and Nissan Versa also worked, but now that both kids are in forward facing seats, I got a Focus and it works fine too.
The Focus definitely doesn't have a much "behind front seat" room as the Caliber, PT Cruiser, and Versa, but those three are the exceptions to the "not much rear seat room in small cars" rule. All the small cars are ok for kids up to 10 or 11, but adults aren't very happy back there, at least American size adults.
#1977 of 2013 Early Impressions on 2009 Focus Sedan 5 speed
Nov 25, 2008 (1:26 pm)
Sometimes a lot of small changes can accumulate to make what drives like a whole new vehicle.
I have owned 5-6 (I'm too lazy to rummage through my folders to count) Focii since 2000, and the 2009 is definitely the best yet. Some reviewers complain about Ford's decision not to use the same "platform" for this car in both Europe and the US, but I think Ford's decision to focus on incremental improvements instead of introducing a completely new design with "bugs" was a wise one. They have squashed all the bugs from that first year while making year after year of subtle and not so subtle changes.
First, the quiet, ride, and handling are what you'd expect from Honda, if they built this car, which is a little larger than the Civic but a lot smaller than the Accord. It is an order of magnitude quieter than the 2009 Cobalt I bought two months ago (and that is a quiet car, in absolute terms) and a LOT quieter than either the 2008 Honda Fit or 2008 Nissan Versa that were my trades.
The engine isn't as strong as in the Cobalt, but it is VERY smooth (part of the NVH - noise vibration harshness upgrades) and rev's very willingly. Driven at lighter throttles, it is actually more pleasant to drive than the slightly gruffer Cobalt. At almost full throttles, the Cobalt really moves out, the Focus is strong but not as dramatic.
Handling and ride are MUCH better than on the Cobalt - which in turn was MUCH better than the Fit or Versa. In a nut shell, I'd say the Focus handles like a driver's car, rides like a riders car. The Cobalt is more of a riders car, but very competent when pushed.
The Focus feels 1 size larger than the Cobalt. I know on paper many measurements are similar, but the Focus feels closer to midsize (except for rear seat legroom, which is sacrificed in trade for an enormous trunk). The Cobalt feels closer to compact. The Versa had the most spacious feeling cabin, and both the Versa and Fit had much more usable rear seat space for adults. The Versa "floated" like a French car (bobbled a bit) but gripped the road well. The Fit handled like a go-kart, but felt vulnerably tiny.
For enthusiasts, I highly recommend the Focus or Fit - both drive well. The Focus is more comfortable and much quieter than the Fit. The Fit has "mini-station wagon" abilities. Overall I'm happier to be in the Focus that the Fit, which felt a little squirrely and was a little too noisy for very long interstate drives (I did drive it from SF to LA once).
If I had my latest round of purchases to do over...I wouldn't change my choices. I think the Cobalt is a better choice for an automatic - the extra horsepower in the Cobalt makes up for the slush box. For a stick shift I'm glad I went to the Focus instead of buying another Cobalt - yes the Cobalt with a stick shift would have been an acceleration monster, but I like the better steering feel from the conventional hydraulic power steering on the Focus, and the better handling feel from the fully independent rear suspension.
BTW, for enthusiasts, the Focus coupe has 3 extra horsepower (possibly with increased noise due to a less restrictive muffler setup), 1" or 2" larger wheels and wider tires, and a slightly stiffer suspension. Of course you lose the practicality of four doors. If you want slightly better handling in the 4 door than I am getting in the SE edition, if you pop the luxo bucks and get the SES you get a rear sway bar - although Ford has tuned the '09 without a rear sway bar to handle as well as my old ZX3's with a rear sway bar. Also Steeda offers a rear sway bar kit with all the parts you need to mount it for a nominal $160 or so.
#1978 of 2013 This car is much smoother, solid, quiet
Nov 26, 2008 (11:20 am)
and handles and rides better than the 2009 Cobalt (1,500 miles on it), 2008 Honda Fit (7,700 miles at trade), 2008 Nissan Versa (7,000 miles at trade).
#1979 of 2013 You gotta see
Nov 27, 2008 (1:52 pm)
the European Focus. go to google and type in Ford of europe. Then navigate to the cars and to the Focus. This is a nice car! If Ford can bring this to the U.S. the Civic is done. In Europe the Focus actually bests the Civic. Rumor is the 2010 Focus is supposed to be of European design.
#1980 of 2013 Re: You gotta see [scape2]
Dec 01, 2008 (10:19 am)
The American Focus is actually much improved. I give Ford credit for making gradual, incremental improvements over the years since its introduction in 1999 as a 2000 model. When Ford Europe went to the "second generation" platform and we didn't, I initially felt we were being cheated, but when I drove the Mazda3 which DID get the upgraded platform, I wasn't impressed - the car had gotten smaller and shorter, it didn't have the "high seating" position which makes the Focus feel like a larger car. I did some research and found out that the Europena platform had been changed mainly to allow all-wheel drive so it could be used for small Volvos etc.
I have no doubt that the European Focus is - well - more European than our Focus. Which generally means a little noisy, a little harder ride, better handling, slightly better driving dynamics. But my '09 American Focus is definitely a nice ride compared to the other cars I've driven lately - other American compacts and some Japanese compacts and subcompacts. It's really quite a nice car now, and as a result of making incremental improvements rather than starting all over, it's had an enviable reliability record the past 6 years.
Supposedly Ford is going to "rationalize" its domestic and international manufacturing so that more design and parts are in common. I doubt that will happen. The American Focus platform is so solid and reliable and such a known factor now (and so "tweaked" with the latest generation improvements to body solidity) that it would probably cost more than it's worth to start over with the next generation (3rd) Euro platform. For what, anyway? We don't do AWD here, at least not on compact cars. It would probably take Ford 3 years to get the bugs out of a major platform change, and even if Europe and Amerca started out in synch they would begin to diverge anyway - European subcontractors and American subcontractors make different subassemblies for different tastes etc.
Finally, the Chevy Astra, a hot competitor to the Ford Focus in Europe, came over here virtually unchanged (it is built in Belgum I believe) as the Saturn Astra and opened to so so reviews and little interest. Likewise the Focus SVT, a fine, fine auto, languished over here.
There isn't much of a market for upscale, hot, small cars. Such market as there is, is owned by Mazda with its 3 Series. The Focus is a car for the masses, and those of us who actually like to "drive" cars, are lucky that Ford has been willing to keep the "European feel" of this fine little car as much as they have. Most single moms, starving students, and cheap seniors don't care, all they want is reliable, cheap transportation.
#1981 of 2013 First 4 Tanks Mileage Report
Dec 01, 2008 (10:29 am)
First, the '09 Focus Sedan stick shift was awesome for the drive to LA. I had to drive bumper to bumper the first 26 miles (which took 2 hours), then slow and go for 225 miles, to my overnight stop. The car was quiet and smooth throughout. It was solid and quiet a 75 mph, comparable to my old '06 Impala. What a relief to have a quiet car at last, and not to have to "upsize" to Odyssey or Impala size to get rid of the noise!
Anyway here is my report on mileage:
Tank #1 (my first refill)
181.7 miles, 5.387 gallons, 33.73 mpg
175.2 miles, 4.953 gallons, 35.38 mpg
226.7 miles, 6.21 gallons, 36.51 mpg
271.9 miles, 7.907 gallons, 34.39 mpg
Overall 34.98 mpg, incredible from a car this size.
The MPG indicator in the "computer" message center built into the car (SE's and above) was wildly optimistic, initially showing 39-40 mpg. It seems to be "settling down" to more realistic numbers (it is currently telling me I am getting 37 mpg) although I thought it counted fuel injector pulses and should be quite accurate. The Ford calculator makes the Chevy calculator, which is only ever 1 or 2 mpg optimistic, look like a model of accuracy. If you have a Focus, you should print out gas receipts and note your miles on that tank (using the trip mileage calculator) for a more accurate indicator of milealge.
The only oddity I noted in this series was that I seemed to get better mileage in the slow and go (after the initial bumper to bumper) than in constant high speed cruising.
Love the car, love the mileage.
#1982 of 2013 "Tipping Points" Towards My '09 Focus Purchase
Dec 04, 2008 (12:34 pm)
I've owned 5 or 6 - or maybe more (you lose track when you trade in two cars twice a year) - Focuses since 2000. But I haven't owned one (up until two weeks ago) since I purchased an '05 ZX3. Why?
Well, first and foremost I made a shift towards purchasing cars with side curtain airbags (the most important kind for survivability per the IIHS.org), and Ford was slow on adopting them. They DID offer a combination torso/head airbag, coming out of the seat, for the front occupants only, but I have kids now and wanted front and rear head coverage, plus the combo bags were hard to find. I was fortunate that my '05 ZX3 came with them, although otherwise lightly optioned (as I like my cars).
Second, I didn't like the fact that for some reason Ford didn't offer rear seat headrests on any Focus until '09. I didn't feel right about offering to drive co-workers to lunch, in the rear seat of a car that didn't think whip-lash protection via head rests is important.
Third, I had gotten used to lot quieter cars. Other economy cars got a lot quieter, but the Focus didn't, until 2008 when they added better sound proofing and a special, thicker windshield (an upgrade made to the Escape that year, too). I thought this was a minor difference, until I went driving earlier in the year in a left-over '07 ZX3 (yes, I loved the Hatchback Focus) and realized that while the engine and road noise were moderate, the wind rush was horrific. Thankfully, starting in 2008 Ford redesigned the Focus to be much quieter (but watch out for the Coupe which has a noisier muffler, which is actually deliberate on Ford's part), and my '09 Focus is comparable in sound levels to the two quietest vehicles I've owned, an '06 Impala and my wife's '07 Honda Odyssey. That's saying a lot.
Fourth, the hatchback disappeared! I love hatchbacks, they are smaller than a sedan for easy city parking, but when you flop the rear seats down, they turn into really effective "haulers." I sure hope they bring the hatchback back!
So those were the negatives, most of which got solved (Focii come with curtain air bags standard, they are quiet, they have rear headrests).
So which was the tipping point for me?
Well, if the Focus this year had still been stuck with those goofy fake air vents on the fenders, I wouldn't have even test drove this year's much improved, very satisfying model. I could probably have lived without rear headrests (my kids are short and co-workers can ride in their own cars!) but I definitely couldn't have lived with those cheesy fake vents.
It doesn't hurt that the front air dam area got cleaned up.
Although initially I thought the Focus interior was cheap looking compared to my recent Fit and Versa experiences, I have actually come around to liking it a lot. It is less "busy" than the Fit, which was way over designed, and I like Ford's use of pebbling, micropebbling, and "sticky" or "grippy" overlays (on the arm rest). Now that I have 1,000 miles on the car, I see the interior as cleverly minamalist, in that way I used to like VW's (until they started getting all Lexus'd out). A lot of thought when into surfaces, seat fabrics, lighting under switchgear, the center arm rest, the controls, the rubber lining in the console cupholders, etc. The only thing I miss are hand grabs, not because I use them to get in and out, but because I like to grab them while on interstate drives to stretch out a little.
If you like your Focus, as I do, please share your thoughts with your friends, relatives, and coworkers. This is a very difficult time for the American manufacturers. I have watched them for the past 8 years, and they have been diligent about reducing so-called "legacy" costs while upgrading their products to reduce warranty costs and quality control issues. Ford, imho, has done the best job - the Focus is still in the hunt compared with Corollas and Sentras and maybe even Civics, if you give it points for its Euro-centric driving experience - the Fusion is a hit - the Taurus models may be boring, but they are rock solid derivatives of Volvos - the Edge is sweet, the Escape is sensibly (finally) upgraded with a great new engine, and the Flex is way too far out to come from an American company. They both need and deserve our support in these very difficult economic times.
#1983 of 2013 Re: "Tipping Points" Towards My '09 Focus Purchase [micweb]
Dec 06, 2008 (10:40 am)
Interesting messages Mike. " Tipping points " I wonder what the "tipping points" are as Congress makes its decisions as to what is to become of U. S. sourced and owned automobile manufacturing.
I have described in previous postings how I came to purchase my 04 ZTS Focus exactly 5 years ago which I still enjoy driving everyday and for 65,000 miles.
the 04's were the last model year with the funcky dashboard. In my opinion the 05-07's were too generic for my taste in that area. This was imortant because I don't think most people realize that you live with the design of the car on the inside more than you do with the outside. The elimination of the telescoping feature on the steering wheel in the latest models, also eliminated some value. On the other hand, all reports say that there is a quieter more upscale quality to the interior. "Tipping Points " again, Ford evidently feels that it was necessary to do this, and they were correct, as sales of the model have been a high light in the dismal market otherwise.
I have "talked up" the Focus over the years, I think that Ford has improved its image here in North America, Their image in Europe has always been better. Recently through their periodical to Ford owners here in America, european models coming here have been announced.
During the last two years of elevated fuel prices, the 2.3 PZEV was capable of getting 30-35 mpg, and since it has a very wide torque range, one does not need to wind it or thrash it as with most 4 cylinder engines.
Enjoy your new FOCUS.