Ford Focus

jarfykk

Senior member
Mar 29, 2001
501
1
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Looking to buy a new, used, automobile. Got about $10-12,000 in mind to spend.

I realize there were build issues with the 2000 model year, but a lot of the problems seems to have been remedied in the 2002 and 2003 models which I am looking into.

Wondering if anyone here much experience with the later models. If not, suggestions for cars to look at would be great.

Mainly need something to get me from A to B, is reliable (last 3-4 year, no questions asked), and is easy enough on my insurance to not kill me (so going back to my 240sx isn't likely...sigh). Thinking I want something with under 50K miles, no older than a 2000 or so. Been out of the country for a while so any advice would be helpful.
 

MasterAndCommander

Diamond Member
Feb 1, 2004
3,656
0
71
Have you looked at the Chevy Cobalt? The GM Employee price for a base model coupe is: $12,470.63...everyone gets the GM discount until July 5 :D I don't know what the reliability is, but you get a full warranty.
 

compuwiz1

Admin Emeritus Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
27,113
925
126
Don't go new. Buy an 03, and if you're really shrewd and catch it right, you can be driving an 04, certified for about what you want to spend. :D
 

teckmaster

Golden Member
Feb 1, 2000
1,256
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0
I have an 04 ZX3 with mtx and the 2.3L engine. It is one fast sturdy machine. I think in 04 they started using the 4-wheel independent suspension so it handles just about anything you can throw at it. I've also driven the 2.0L model and thats just plain scary. Get the 2.3 if you can
 

KingPhil

Golden Member
Apr 27, 2000
1,154
0
0
I know a guy who has an 04 Ford Focus........

Lets just say it wouldn't be my first choice. Has decent power I guess, but the car is FUGLY!
 

Kalvin00

Lifer
Jan 11, 2003
12,705
4
81
One of my friends has an '01 ZX3 Focus..it's a pretty nice little car. Nice interior, pretty fast too..
 

Kenazo

Lifer
Sep 15, 2000
10,429
1
81
two sister-in-laws owned the Focus. One was an 01 and the other an 02 both have had to do some pretty serious work on them and both handle like sh!t on winter roads. On dry pavement they seem fine though. :)
 

jarfykk

Senior member
Mar 29, 2001
501
1
0
Well, good info so far. Going to be used in San Diego, CA so the cold weather handling should be an issue once every 30-40 years or so. Anyone else own an '03?
 

franksta

Golden Member
Jun 6, 2001
1,967
6
81
I had one as a rental for a week in January on business in southern California. I figured it was a 2004 model or maybe early 2005. I thought it was a great little car, reasonably peppy, good steering response, and enough room for the bags I carried. As long as you like the styling I'd say go for it.
 

CraigRT

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
31,440
5
0
recalls still bad in 03?
the recall rate was scary early on.. but i don't think they're an unreliable car... just a brutally bad product launch early on.
 

bunker

Lifer
Apr 23, 2001
10,578
0
71
Recalls were terrible in '00, not much better in '01, then fine from '02 on.

I just got rid of my '01 and only had one problem with the brakes. Other than that it was a great car for 60k miles.
 

whatson

Member
Aug 25, 2002
51
0
0
In Europe, Focus is well known as the car with very good grid and driving experience. It actually IS - comparing to other cars in Europe (French "soft" production of Citroen, Peugeot, Renault).
 

freebee

Diamond Member
Dec 30, 2000
4,043
0
0
Used 2002-3 focuses are in the 7-8k range. 6k for higher mileage ones. Run carfax for any used ones you buy. Try and stick with private party only and/or off-lease models.
 

Grey

Platinum Member
Oct 14, 1999
2,737
2
81
I loved my Zx3 2001, had to trade it in though because I needed a truck for my business. I miss the handling and awesome ride feel it had.
 

jarfykk

Senior member
Mar 29, 2001
501
1
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Originally posted by: akubi
with that budget I'd get a mazda3


On your advice I looked into the Mazda3. Looks like a fine car, but it started in model year 2004 and all the used ones I've found are $14K and up. Did I miss something? And thanks for the tip.
 

Nick5324

Diamond Member
Aug 19, 2001
3,267
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I think the 3 used to be the 323 awhile back, and more recently the protege (i think, not sure) We've owned multiple fords, not worth the hassle 3 years down the road, Fords tend to be POS. Just my $.02.
 

jarfykk

Senior member
Mar 29, 2001
501
1
0
Gotcha, yeah, was listed a Protege before as Mazda's economy car. I mean the list of cars I thought about was the normal Civic, Corolla, Focus, Protege, and Sentra. Am I missing any cars in that price range/feature set?
 
Jan 18, 2001
14,465
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my experience with the focus is through the University's Fleet...

IMO, They drive nice, have decent power for a economy low end car, and have well designed interiors. They are also a bit loud on the highway and tend to get rattles and squeaks after about 30k.

You could do worse, but I think you could also by something a little older that is a nicer car to begin with.