This being my first year of driving, I managed to pass my driving test (easy) and save myself a decent budget to purchase a much awaited car. With a reasonable budget of around £1000 and the Internet I managed to track down a decent car. Something which is cheap to run, hence a diesel; something which is quite generous in baggage space; hence a hatchback and mainly something which is known to be reliable and common for cheap parts and repairs. This narrowed it down to only a few, and being 19 I didn't fancy purchasing a Corsa or a Fiesta, I wanted to be somewhat unique and somehow the Ford Focus was the next step up!
My main goal when purchasing a car was to get the best Miles Per Gallon (Mpg) I could, although having a job which allows me the funds to purchase and insure as well as importantly maintain a car, the added cost of filling the car up goes strain the wallet, especially with the current fuel prices being as high as 150p per Litre of Normal Diesel and with no sponsorship from the parents, it's all coming out of my own wallet!
Reliability of course is always a factor; everyone wants a car which will keep going with just the basic maintenance. After numerous hours of research I discovered the TDDI Endura-D engine was not only strong but cheap!
All these factors come together and I was assured that parting with my hard earned cash in exchange for the Ford Focus 2003 TDDI Diesel will be a great idea. After having it for almost half a year I am quite sure I know the car upside down now, so in good mind to do a detailed review.
The Ford Focus has become quite an iconic car throughout the last few years; it is one of the most common cars in the UK and is very popular throughout Europe and America alike. The Focus was born in 1998 after replacing the Ford Escort in the European market with Ford totally redesigning the cars shape and engine to create what would become one of the best selling cars in the world. Looking back on some past marketing videos and reviews, the Focus was an innovative car being designed around the passengers and the driver as well as giving it simple features, like Rear Lights at the top to be noticed easier and crease markers for the driver to recognise the front of the vehicle as well as excessive luggage room and headroom and interior comfort. Even now in 2012 the original MK1 Focus can be seen to be ahead of its own time.
Yet Ford still innovates and improves with the new Focus models, developing technology to make driving not only comfortable but safe!
My Ford Focus MK1 TDDI Diesel features the almost legendary design. What I call the "door wedge" shape, at first glance you'd think it was designed around a Right Angle Triangle; to this day I am trying to calculate the Pythagoras Theorem from it (Maths joke). The whole car seems to have a triangular theme to it from the headlights and rear lights to the side windows, quite an interesting design to say the least; if the car was yellow I'd half expect Jerry to come chasing after me!
But looking at it more closely, it has a bit of elegance to it, and you quickly get used to it. As mentioned above the design has got some purpose to it. The bonnet have minor unnoticeable grove to allow the driver to reference the front of the vehicle, which has helped a considerable amount in parking. The headlights are located at the top of the rear to allow cars coming from a distance to notice your braking and indicating and the shape is purposely aero dynamic, yet still allows lots of rear headroom and storage.
Essentially, I still can't get over how peculiar the car looks from the general shape to the oddly small wheels in comparison to the body. However it has drastically improved with the Mk2 Focus, although it took them 7 years. But each feature has got a purpose within the vehicle from the aerodynamic roomy shape to the wheels for the best ride and cheaper tyres. The car was designed around the consumer and done so brilliantly.
First time I ever got into a Focus Mk1, it has a large dashboard with little on it and a wide centre panel (Gear Shift Console), which separates you and the passenger quite well giving you lots of space.
The car was clearly designed around comfort and convenience, as you can determine by the numerous cup holders in centre panel. I've found these highly useful as I do lots of long journeys and having a drink and a place to put things close to hand is really helpful. Very few cars I've been in have such a convenient yet simple feature.
As I mentioned the dashboard doesn't comes with lots of buttons and controls. A digital clock and a Hazard Lights Triangle at the top centre, and the only thing which may require a second glance is the headunit, which has some numbers which are basically for the radio station pre-sets, useful if you drive around the same town, useless if you move from town to town daily. There are the duel fans in the centre and since ones drive and passenger side as well as the window heater all controlled by the 3 dials at the bottom of the console, as well as the A/C and Recirculation buttons, unfortunately the A/C as usual doesn't work but can be recharged for £50 at most garages.
The Zetec comes with a steering remote stem for the stock headunit but can work with compatible aftermarket units too. The Headunit itself is simple and mine was CD compatible (older models have a ~sigh~ tape deck), all it does is radio and CD which got instantly replaced with something with an Aux and a USB. Some removal keys are required (or some creativity with a metal coat hanger) to remove the original unit and it can fit a double din headunit, which is great if your after looking a bit flash, personally I was on a budget so a simple single din and a facia plate was satisfactory.
The other steering controls include the standard indicators, wiper/screen wash operation for front and rear and you can also manually operate the front wiper by moving the right stem down (and holding for movement). Horn is centre of steering wheel and light dial is far right of dashboard; turn right for Side and Beams and pull out for Front and Rear Fog lights. A very user friendly interior with few controls and all easily operation by a 6 year old.
The dashboard and centre console is very well built and all solid plastic (in the Zetec, Ghia comes with wood finish). Mine seems to have survived the test of time considering I got it in a honking condition; it always tidies up well, although worth a mention that the gearstick panel is slightly loose but easily replaceable.
---Interior for Passengers---
A lot of manufacturers concentrate on creating a good driving area as you are the person who is purchasing the vehicle and I rarely hear people getting in the rear of the car and experiencing how passengers feel.
Having been a passenger in a lot of Focus Mk1's, I can personally vouch that the rear has a lot of space for 2 people to sit comfortably, and extra person can fit easily but creates a minor squeeze. No problems for a 5 door car, may get some sore legs with a 3 door, the middle seat also features a full over shoulder belt for the passenger, not a lap belt!
The front passenger has got a lot of personal space, especially if they can move the seat back (with no rear passengers), the large middle console gives decent separation from the driving elbowing you in the legs every gear change.
In all the Focus Mk1 is a car which was designed to provide comfort for everyone and not just the driver!
Considering the car looks quite small from the outside being easily confused for something in competition with a Corsa rather than its very well aged mother! I've had numerous people tell me "That won't fit in there" or "Sure you have enough space in the boot?" to which I replied with a smile and a later demonstrated how much space I have to my disposal!
To scale up the boot space, myself being a slightly larger than average man....I'm tall, I can easily curl up in the boot and close the door. When the seats have been dropped down at the back, I have been able to fit a fully constructed mountain bike (wheels attached to from). I've also with a squeeze had 3 people with 2 large grip bags each in the car. Basically the moral is, although it may look small, the Focus is like the Wardrobe to Narnia!
Not forgetting numerous storage spaces in the car itself, such as the door "pockets" at the front and the glove compartment box. The cup holders can also be used to hold spare change as well as a convenient "ashtray" where I hide my money for diesel fill ups just in case.
As I mentioned in the introduction to the review, the car I am reviewing is the Ford Focus 03 TDDI, which features the Endura-D Engine. As far as I'm aware very few variations of the TDDI (Turbo Diesel Direct Injection) was made and only came in 1.8 Litre. With the all future Diesel Fords it quickly became the TDCi (Turbo Diesel Common Injection), the main difference was that the TDCi is newer, quieter, more economic and compatible with more cars.
The TDDI engines are easily mistakable for a 5th Generation Ford Transit Van! I've had many comments on this and I find it quite amusing to say the least. The TDDI is very noisy and any modern car you'd probably be worried about the loudness, but it is incomparable in reliability to very little else. A regularly maintained and serviced TDDI engine has been known to run well into 300,000 miles, mine has been running steady from purchase and built up over 133,000 miles and after a ruff spot with the starter motor, its back and kicking at and exceptional level!
However although the engine is strong and reliable, the major bottleneck I delayed to mention is that is it very sluggish, don't get me wrong it will pull, but with only 6,000 rpm on the rev counter and 4,000 being the safe zone, it does take some time to build up speed. With only 75 horses under the hood, I have to think twice before I take a gap in a roundabout or pull out from a junction because it does take a good few seconds to get to 60mph.
But not being a speed demon, I have learnt that all that slowness means I am saving a lot of pennies!
Repairs and Part Availability
When I purchased the vehicle, I noticed that it was having a bit of bother starting up requiring 2 turnovers to get it ignited on average, which got consistently worst. Trying to diagnose the problem myself I skipped to the cheapest and obvious, getting it serviced, changing glow plugs, re-changing oil, fuel cleaner and battery before I gave in and got the RAC guy to have a look, instantly telling me it was the Starter.
The moral of the story is not that I am an idiot, but that I discovered that a lot of the parts for the Focus I bought and looked at were not all that expensive and readily available from places like Europart and other local shops.
Being a very common car any spare parts I need I can easily go to a Scrapyard and find anything on the many Focus' who found a resting place. So it is gives you peace of mind that if you damage some bodywork, it can be found in a scrappy, and 50% of the time in the same colour (unless its cheese colour).
Although I was looking for a car that looked decent, had lots of room and some "street cred", my real goal was to find a car that wouldn't cost me a fortune to keep running. This car does exactly what I am after; having a very decent 40 mpg advertised on town roads and around 60 mpg on motorways, the car is built to be economic on fuel. I find that in towns I get around 30 mpg on average although I haven't measured it successfully to really say, motorways however this car is fantastic, I am all about saving money and keeping to an average of 60 mph for 200 miles, it on average costs me £30 in fuel (being 140p per litre of Normal Diesel).
Tax on the car is in the F Band for emissions which means its £135 per year (£74.25 per 6 months). Insurance group is "5" or "5E", but of course take in account your NCB and living area. I found this can be insured at a tiny increase in comparison to a Group 1 car (e.g. Corsa 1.0).
Parts for the body are extremely easy to come across considering there are Focus' all over the place. So any car scrap dealer can sort you out with body parts as I found when my Mirror Cover went mysteriously missing (I suspect theft), I found one instantly in my local scrappy, but now I have 2 black covers on a blue car. Engine parts aren't expensive either, being a TDDI all the parts are basic and it doesn't have anything fancy like the TDCi with its Dual Mass Flywheel. Most things are common in Europarts.
In all due to myself having a bit of OCD, I've decided to replace the majority of the consumables on the car to insure it doesn't conk out due to something stupid and it's not cost me much to do so. Its been very reliable and cost effective for me.
Having owned this car for the last 6 months, I've gotten to know it well. The best thing is although it has had some troubles (old parts dying out), there has not been anything which has coursed me great stress and that's really all we ask from our cars, to do its job and not ruin our wallets. The Ford Focus 1.8 TDDI Zetec is a very oddly shaped, economic and spacious car, it looks after you as much as you look after it which can't be said the same for some of my friends cars.
In all, I couldn't recommend it higher, especially for all the new drivers just getting their licenses, think outside the typical box of Corsas, Clios and 206s, go for something worthwhile!
I bought a third hand X-Reg 1.8 TDi Ghia off Autotrader 18 months ago with 79k on the clock. It had been in a heavy front end crash with its first owner and repaired to legal standards, so i only paid £1800 for it, and its the best £1800 pounds I have ever spent.
Its great fun to drive and holds the road exceptionally, great acceleration for getting out of junctions. I have never had less than 40 mpg from it and on one occasion managed 75 mpg on a 300 mile motorway journey.
Plenty of room for 5 with a boot full of shopping, and will easily manage a rubbish run with the back seats folded.
All cars will have issues sometime in its life, and a car thats done 80k miles and is 8 years old will have problems, mine have been quite minor, biggest problem was when my altenator broke on me, those swines are so difficult to get at that it requires most the front of the engine out but apart from that its been a joy to drive.
Best car I have ever drove, its always a joy to get behind the wheel and I would recommend one to anyone. I am planning on getting an 05 shape Focus 2.0 TDCi in 12 months (Because I fancy more power and fuel economy and i'll be 21 so the insurance will be lower) but I am going to sell my Focus to a friend because I know what a reliable and practical car it is whilst still fun to drive.
When I got rid of my Fiat Punto 1.9 JTD this time last year I was in the market for a slightly larger vehicle. I was having a love hate relationship with the back end of the Renault Megáne and the Citroen C4 was not released then (what it is about me and French cars I don't know!) although I thought that would be the ideal car. Nothing much was doing it for me (it's all about emotions when I buy a car) so we decided to go and have a look at Ford, in particular the Focus. We had heard great things about the Focus and it seemed only natural to go and see what they had on the forecourt.
On arrival at Ford we were greeted with the sight of a Ford Focus Zetec 1.8 TDCi in silver with the climate pack for just over 10 grand (with 15K miles). We test drove the car and it's higher powered brother (the one with 115 horses as opposed to 100 horses) and didn't find much difference so decided to opt for the slightly cheaper 100bhp Ford Focus. With hindsight we should have had more than one test drive although that was not really encouraged by the dealer. Alarm bells should have rung quite loudly at that point me thinks.
The Ford Focus has had rave reviews since it's inception in 1998 and is probably the best selling car annually. The Focus raised the standard for cars in this class and well in my opinion stopped.
I have now had the car for over a year and been driving it everyday. I've done the best part of 20k miles in it and frankly have had enough. While the car has seemingly wooed motoring journalists into thinking it a wonder car it had left me less than impressed, that's before you even start me on the dealership! As mentioned I purchase this car for just under £11,000 in May 2004. It is an 03/03 model and had just over 15,000 miles on the clock. When we went to test drive the car I was impressed by the torquey engine, although there was quite an obvious turbo lag which would take a little adjustment to.
By all reports the Focus has an excellent record for reliability and in fact took first place in a reliability test for cars one-to-three years old in 2002 in Germany. They obviously hadn't tested mine then! Within 2 weeks of having the car I noticed a serious lack of power when accelerating. This progressed to a shuddering of the car which my other half said was probably a misfire. We returned the car to the dealer who fixed the problem (after a couple of visits and a few carefully worded comments from us). Unfortunately whilst they were fixing that problem they demonstrated the apparent flimsiness of the bodywork by denting the car. Again some careful words were exchanged and the car was returned to me in one undented piece.
So, on passes the summer and we take the car on long trips. It is unquestionably more comfortable than the Fiat Punto that we had previously and this I am grateful for. So picture it now, the nights are drawing in and it's starting to get a it frosty in the mornings now. On getting in the car you turn the key, wait a bit for the glow plugs then start the car Yeah, right. My Focus does not like starting in the winter months. I can keep the key turned and hear it try to fire about 5 times before it actually starts;. That was not what I expected with a car less than 2 years old. To confound the problem the car has now started to cut out whilst slowing down leaving you without brakes or steering. A return visit to Furrows establishes the fact that the dealers are absolutely useless and we should never have bought a Ford. Aside from that the problem continues throughout the winter and into the early spring. Now that the summer is here (fingers crossed), we only have to try starting it once and it catches on the second go (mostly) although chucks out a big black cloud of smoke.
SAFETY & SECURITY
The Focus has twin airbags and apparently received 4 stars in some crash testing thingy (I'm a girl, don't ask me). The car does not however have ABS as standard (as Matt found out at the crest of a blind hill!) this does mean that if you need to stop in a hurry you are likely to quite literally skid to a halt. Later models come with ABS however which should improve things a bit. In my opinion the number of cars getting 5 stars in the NCAP thing shows that the Focus isn't that great on all things safety. I'm not an expert however and you should really experience these things for yourself. What I would say is that I don't have complete confidence in the car and feel it could stall at any moment when pulling out of a junction, in my opinion, this means that the car is not particularly safe at all. I certainly don't feel that safe in it and find myself taking extra cautions.
Compared to my previous car the Focus is more spacious but that was the reason I needed the car in the first place. The cabin feels quite spacious although once you start putting stuff in the car it starts to get slightly cramped (by stuff I mean all the necessary bits and bobs that girls carry around with them at all times!). I can sit in the car comfortably and my head won't touch the ceiling in the front or back. In terms of what I can fit in the boot I find around £90of TESCO shopping in the boot quite easily (am lazy and try to shop only once a month, am not extremely rich!) In terms of carrying passenger I have had 3 adult passengers quite comfortably but would not like to travel with 3 adults in the back for any long journeys as it could get a bit cramped.
This car is more comfortable than the Punto, although I wouldn't like to do very long distance in it like I would the Subaru Legacy. I would say you could sit in this comfortable for around 2-3 hours. In fact we took it to Edinburgh but had to stop ½ way (before Carlisle) to stretch out and get rid of the numb bum!
HANDLING & PERFORMANCE
Well, when the car is going I find that it handles very well indeed. It will stick to the road in the corners well and is quite a responsive little beast. The amount of torque makes it quite responsive at lower speeds (or so the other half says) with a lot of pulling power. I try not to drive it too fast round the corners (not as fast as this car drives me round the bend) so always feel in control, the other half lives a bit more dangerously than me however and flings the Focus around as if he was driving his old Impreza (although mine doesn't go that fast). The Focus performs quite well and he likes driving it so that's all alright then!
If you are like me and don't really enjoy throwing yourself round corners then you'll want to know what the car is like when driven normally. I drive 20 miles to work with around 17 of these being on a motorway. Aside form the problem of pulling out of junctions and the occasional stalling the Focus performs quite well. I can sit at 85mph quite easily and keep the speed going up the hills unlike some other cars I pass. I can also corner quicker than other cars on the road meaning I can razz past them on the road island (naughty I know but I'm always in a hurry!). When I get into town however if I don't remember to change gear then it's not that bad because the engine can cope with 30mph in 5th gear quite easily. Lower than that and you would start to feel the shuddering though. In terms of economy I find that the car doesn't live up to it's figures or reputation. I get just under 45mpg from this car where I was told to expect closer to 50 mpg. While this is not that important to some we like to know these sorts of things. If we didn't do the sums ourselves however we wouldn't have a clue what the mpg was as the Focus has no trip computer or stuff. More about that in a bit! All in all, the car handles very nicely.
I got this car from Furrows in Telford. Never again will I go there. They have had the car in numerous times and failed to find any fault with it when it clearly had one. They also seem to think that customer service is not necessary in their line of work and we have occasionally been left at the service desk for 10 minutes whilst the staff chatted through a glass wall in full view. The salesman was pleasant however and threw in the floor mats we had asked for! At this point in time I am still too mad to comment objectively on customer service so will decline to do so. What I will say is that I will never ever buy from Furrows again, nor will I buy a Ford again.
What I like most about cars tends to be the things inside it. The Focus has very handy audio controls underneath the indicator stick which I will find it hard to live without. The headlights however (rather bizarrely) are not located on the sticks but are on a knob at the bottom right of the steering wheel. To me this doesn't make sense! My car has the optional climate pack and I find this to be a god send. In the winter, or when it's all steamy and warm and you're having trouble seeing through the windscreen you just press a button and wait a couple of second. Bingo, the windscreen is clear. Genius addition. The air-con is quite efficient too and I find it gets quite cold in reasonably time. In the winter when you need hot air the car warms up relatively quickly. Although patrol cars will be warmer quicker this car doesn't do too badly in comparison. The stereo is compatible with a 6 CD autochanger although one wasn't fitted in mine. The sound from the regular CD is OK and the radio work fine with all the usual features like travel and stuff.
To me the focus is far from ideal. I know it has had rave reviews but I can not see the substance behind them. It's just like any other car to me, nothing stands out as exceptional and I for one will not be sorry to see it go tomorrow. I know it shouldn't be like this but cars are emotional purchases for me and I had no love for the Focus, in fact on occasion I had hatred, frustration and loathing for it. I have driven it for a year now and am disappointed. I was expecting more and the car failed to deliver. So tomorrow it goes and in it's place I'm getting a Renault Megáne Sport Tourer. Already I feel a bit of love for it and know that I will readily forgive its faults and that's what I think I failed to do with the Focus. I couldn't forgive its faults because the rest of the car didn't hold me captivated. A disappointment.
The TDdi Focus is an average car with faults in areas, but this car can be fun to drive if you have time, space and patience. The Focus has a good fuel economy along with excellent handling characteristics, but you trade this for a hard ride, and a tiny boot space.
This is not really a family car as in my opinion there is little legroom in the back for teenagers and for smaller children a pushchair would use all the available boot space. This is a company representatives car, for hard use on the motorways and twisty main roads.
The Focus body is average, Ive looked at the car from many different angles and it doesnt look great from any of them. The front lights are splayed and cross-eyed, the indicators are located somewhere in this mass of glazing, but I cant see them until they are lit and when they are they seem small and dim. The sides bulge out of the wheel arches and the rear lights seem out of place. The locations high up in the rear roof pillars make the lower back end look fat and oversized. Finally the cambered roof may aid aerodynamics, but it does nothing for looks or the interior.
The first thing I notice inside the Focus is that the whole dashboard is a long way from my seating position. The central location of the entertainment system and air control is too far away, as I have to lean forward and down to adjust the heating. The instrument stalks on the steering column are well placed including the entertainment controls, but the head light controls are on the dash to the right and I dont like the positioning, I preferred the old twisting selector on the stalk.
The one thing I do like is the steering wheel adjustment, it has telescopic and vertical movement this is good, as I prefer the steering wheel closer to me so I can lean back in the seat. The front seats are comfortable and not too soft, the adjustment levers under the seat are easily reachable and moveable. The adjustments available underneath the seat are horizontal and a vertical tilt for the base portion of the seat. The usual adjustment of a twist knob on the left side for the back is there, but there are no lumber support adjustments, which is a little disappointing, but is not a major problem unless you have a bad back.
The rear seats have little legroom and as the roof dips down towards the rear of the car the headroom is reduced, even an averaged sized adult would find siting here is cramped. The rear headrests are I think unnecessary as they restrict the view out of the back window, also they are awkward to remove if you ever what to drop the rear seats down.
The superb handling characteristics of the Focus are a real joy to behold. It eats up the corners with ease and consequently is a nice car to drive on twisty country lanes. The only thing with the stiffened suspension is that the ride of the car is a little bit on the uncomfortable side. You get to feel all the bumps of the road and hitting a pothole gives a hell of a jolt. Even on the motorway you get to feel all the vibrations coming up through the steering wheel and the pedals. I have found that driving about 5 to 10mph slower on a road improves the ride quality greatly, although you may take much longer to get to you destination you feel less hassled.
The engine noise is very quite for a diesel and I think that is good. The engine revs slowly up to 2000rpm when the turbo kicks in, the boost up to 3500 rpm is good, but then the power falls of rapidly. The engine is good for pulling power up to the speed you want, but it is not a fast boy racer car and big petrol engines will easily out drag it, in a race from the lights.
For me the good drive is hampered by a very unforgiving cold engine in the winter, which makes driving away for the first ten minutes a real pain. I struggled with this problem through this winter thinking it was a bad clutch lever, but in conversations with a work colleague who has the next registration number up from my car and he too had a similar cold start problem this winter.
Aside from my problems with the cold engine I find the gearshift to be very knotty and stiff. I have many problems getting the Focus into first gear when I am at a junction and as such I tend to sit at a junction with my foot on the clutch.
The Focus is much better on the open roads than on the city streets and this is where youll see lots of them, thundering up and down the motorway in hordes. The whole car is well balanced and on the motorway will sit in a straight line with little input from the driver. Then when the curves start to appear it will slink round them with minimum amount of fuss. If only the ride was a little smoother I could relax a little bit, when driving this car long distances.
The only downside to the fantastic handling is that if you drive it hard into corners you will munch up the front tyres in no time. I have eaten up a set of front tyres in six months worth of driving and done only around 12,000 miles and this is from a car that had only 15,000 miles on the clock, when I got my mucky paws on it!
Due to the back and sides of the Focus sloping inwards, the boot reciprocates this and leaves no space for any luggage. The boot of the Focus is tiny, there is no room for a weekly shopping, with some of it ending up on the back seats. Other items that end up on the backseat when the boot is empty are the golf bag and clubs, large boxes and suitcases.
Ill give an example of what I would like to get in the boot on one journey. I had a job away from home for one week and had to travel one hundred miles with three items, a bag of clothes, a box of work tools and laptop computer. Previously all these items fitted into a boot of my old car with space for other items. This time I managed to get the box and the bag in the boot, the laptop ended up on the back seat. On the way back I was asked to take some tools back and these also ended up on the backseat.
The interior of the car has little storage for other items, it has three cup holders in the central area, two in front of the gear shift and one behind the handbrake for the rear passengers. There are pocket holders at the back of the front seats, but I dislike these as you can only put flat wide items like magazines in them. The front passenger side has a glove box, but much like the boot it is small and a standard sized hardback road atlas will not fit in here. I had to buy a smaller ring bound A5 road atlas especially for the Focus to fit in its tiny glove box.
Here come the confessions, firstly I don't really rate Fords, I've driven more Ford cars and vans than I can remember and I've only ever really liked one. A 1994 diesel Transit pickup, so the diesel engine Focus should be on the more favoured portion of the list, in reality its in the middle good, but not that great.
Secondly I am writing this report on a Focus (04) that isn't mine. Its a company car and I'm grateful to my company for getting my this car, but I wish I had a little choice in the matter. I have had the car for over six months now and I still feel the same as I did when I original wrote this opinion on Ciao.
I was under the impression that this car was the benchmark of the automotive industry in the late 1990s. By looking around at the other cars like the new VW Golf that are near as damn it clones of the Focus I can see that is true. In general I like this diesel Focus, but sometimes it frustrates me, there are some things that take a little time to get used to on this car and after over six months of driving it Im still struggling with the gearbox, the clutch and the lack of storage.
The handling on the Focus is superior to anything else Ive ever driven and Ford know this. This is the ace in the Focus pack that is trumpeted by the company and every motoring journalist around. What they dont tell you is that there are no more aces and too many jokers remaining in the pack. The small boot, a knotty gearbox, an unforgiving cold engine, little rear legroom and a very hard ride are the items that pull the Focus down.
I think my advice for anyone interested in buying a Focus is think about what you need for you next car. If you want a car that has very good handling then this is the one for you. If you need a small family car with room for children and all their items then Ill suggest you look elsewhere.
At the end of the day I dont love the Focus, I merely respect it and that is a shame for all the work that the Ford designers have put into this car. At the end of the day, its just another tyre shredder.
Thanks for reading
*Originally posted by me at Ciao.co.uk under the same username. Revised, updated and posted at Dooyoo.co.uk by me.
This is one very nice car much beter than the golf mine is a V-reg, 1999, it has 70,000 miles on it. This car is very fast and does around 30-40mpg and acceleration is excellent. My mum had a fiat punto crash into the back of her in the focus the over day, the punto was doing about 30mph, all that happened was the focus had a little hole in the bumper but the front of the punto was all caved in. I think these cars are very safe and the insides are very nice looking, very modern, and well spaced out. The boot is quite large and ther is plenty of room for 3 adults in the back as the roof is high no ones head touches the roof. The car has 2 airbags. The steering is very very light and makes the car a pleasure to drive. mine has a radio cassett and i wanted a cd player so i went to my ford dealer to see how much it costs to upgrade they said £300, i thought this was rediculas, but no other radio fits apart from a ford one. i would buyanother focus but i think i would buy the st170 (170BHP) i think the 1.8 runs about 120(BHP). Buy one you will not regret it trust me. Unless you are a qualified machanic maintance and serviceing is for a garage only. This car is nice on long distances and has pouches at the rear of the front seats for passengers to keep things in. I have one problem with the car when i sit in the back there is no arm rest so i would put my arm across the top of the seat instead accept i cannot because the rear seat has 3 head rests but nothing is perfect but other ethan that a great well built car by ford that are becomeing cheapeer and cheaper.
The Ford Focus is a fantastic car! I learned to drive in a 1.6 litre Focus Zetec. I was so impressed I didn’t want to give it back at the end of each lesson. The driving position is very good. It gives you a good all-round view of the road. The front seats are height adjustable, move back and forth and have adjustable lumbar support too. Plus the steering wheel is also height adjustable. The result being that both my 6' driving instructor and little 5'3" me could be extremely comfortable when driving this car. I can’t comment on the back seats as I’ve never sat in the back of a Focus. Town driving in a Focus is a pleasure. The car is so responsive to the driver’s needs, it almost feels as though it drives itself. It copes admirably with the ‘stop start’ traffic of rush hour. The Focus is very responsive on the motorways too. It sailed smoothly through the gears so that it merged seamlessly with the traffic and kept pace effortlessly. I spent most of my journey in the fast lane doing a steady 75 – 80 mph. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend you do this. At one point, the needle had climbed to 90 and I wasn’t aware of it till I happened to glance down at the speedo. The ride is so quiet that you don’t realise just how fast you’re really going. Needless to say, I scared myself silly and slowed back down to 70. Coming off the motorway was just as easy. Slowing from 70 to a crawl to enter motorway services was swift and sure. The brakes have a good solid feel and give the impression that you could, quite literally, stop on a dime. Coming back down through the gears to 2nd and 1st was just as smooth as going up to 5th when merging onto the motorway. The '52' reg that I drove had little convex mirrors attached to the wing mirrors – as standard - to combat blind spots. I think all cars should have these as standard. I fo
und these extremely useful when driving on the motorway. I felt a lot safer when overtaking. Long distances are no problem in a Focus. I completed over 100 miles in a round trip and the time just flew by. I felt as refreshed at the end of my journey as I had been at the beginning. Fuel wise, I started with a full tank of petrol and when the journey was over, the needle had hardly moved at all. If my memory serves me correctly, filling the tank from empty costs around the £35 mark. For a car of its size, the Focus is surprisingly manoeuvrable. Parallel parking and reversing around sharp/sweeping corners is a snap. Thanks to the small lock to lock distance of the power steering - about 3 turns from full lock right to full lock left - a three point turn is effortless. Inside the Focus, all the switches for lights, wipers, radio, air conditioning, etc are all conveniently placed, meaning that you don’t have to look down from the road to turn on your lights or turn up the radio. This is a good safety feature, especially for motorway driving.
What a great car! I turned up at the rental office expecting to get a Fiat Bravo or something like that. I wanted a smaller car than the awful Vectra I had last time. I was given the choice of a Peugeot 307, Renault Megane or Focus. I chose the Focus as I have been thinking about buying one. I chose the Diesel as I am used to driving my partners Peugeot 405 Td and wanted to see how it compared. Exterior The car was finished in Metropolis Blue (light metallic blue) and it didn't look too bad. The Alloy wheels and fog lights certainly helped the look of the car. I'm still not too sure what to make of the new nose of the car but as you don't look at it when inside I didn't give it much more thought. Interior I was very impressed with the layout of the car, everything fell straight to hand. The switches felt nice to press and didn't feel like they were going to fall off in your hand after a few miles. The only thing which felt strange was the radio remote control. It felt a bit cheap and I didn't see the sense in it when the radio is within reach anyway. It took me a while to get the seat adjusted right, but once I did it was very comfortable indeed. Visibility was good, I couldn't find the blind spot that I was warned about but then I only drove it into a parking space and reversed out a couple of times. Driving Being the Zetec the suspension is a bit firmer than the other models but not overly so. The upside to it is that the handling is fantastic it feels very grippy, corners flatly and never feels unwieldly at all. The steering has just the right amount of feel, the brakes worked very well. The gearbox and clutch were very smooth and easy to use. All in all everything is just right and made it an extremely easy car to drive. Engine WOW! What can I say. I started the car up and got the typical diesel sounding engine (reminded me of th
e Ford Transit) and driving away around town it felt like any other Diesel car. It was when I got out onto the dual carriageway and motorway where the engine really shone. The power and smoothness of it puts many petrol cars to shame! I found myself overtaking where I would normally wait for a bigger space because the engine was so flexible. I was convinced that they had put the wrong engine into it and had to open the bonnet to confirm it really was the TDdi. I have never ever driven a car that has felt as quick or powerful as this. I would heartily recommend taking one out for a test drive as you will be pleasantly surprised!! Economy OK so with all this power available there must be a penalty with the fuel economy right? Well the guage hadn't moved much but I thought it may be like the guage on my old Sierra that sat at full for ages then dropped to half a tank within a few miles. So off to the pumps I went to fill the car back up before taking it back to the rental office (we use Avis at work who have a full tank to full tank policy, must say they are very good but a bit expensive for private use!). I had only done 160 miles but the Vectra I had the week before cost me £16.00 so was expecting to pay about £10 to fill the Focus. Wrong! the first click of the pump came at just over £8.00! I usually round up after the second click so I ended up putting £8.50 into the tank, yes a paulty £8.50. I didn't have time to work out how many mpg that was at the time but dropped the car off and worked it out while waiting to be picked up. It worked out at 63mpg! now to me that is fantastic, I'm an average driver I did stick to the speed limit (as we all should! hehe) but didn't hang about getting to there. I have never been so impressed with a car in my life before. When the time comes to change my current car I will definitely be down the Ford dealer looking at one of these!
I bought my new Ford Focus 1.8TDi in January and have been greatly impressed all round. Power Steering very good handling capabilities even making sharp turns at higher speeds. However watch out if its fitted with soft sidewall tyres as these are not good with cornering or parking close, if you have a bump it will ruin the sidewall and new tyres will be needed. I have never found this on another car so maybe a peculiarity of this car Diesel economy 450 miles per tank or 10 miles to the litre on average. The engine noise is a great deal quieter than the Vauxhall Astra or Corsa Diesel but not as quiet as a petrol.However with the CD on I dont really notice it that much and overall it is quieter than I have expected from a Diesel. Electric windows, and adjustable side mirrors , rear view mirror so vision all round is very good have not found a blind spot yet. Doors, I have the five door version and the front doors are very wide so that is a good point when someone less able to turn about is trying to get in with good above door handholds as well.The rear or boot space door is seperately lockable from the others and can be opened from inside on a button on the dashboard. Dashboard Is well presented although I do get confused between the mileometer and what is in Kilometers. Clear dials with good digital displays. The clock is very primitive though reinds me of a cheap digital watch not impressed Comfort as I travel 400 miles a week comfort is important to me amd the adjustable seats in height as well as back/forward is as good as any other car in its class. Air conditioning works well and is fast at cooling down the interior as well as letting me a hayfever sufferer minimise the effects. Yes there are two cup holders well arranged.The heaters also work well and are quick to heat up on a cold day. Space inside is great ,my mother is disabled and
I can get the wheelchair and its motor in the back of the hatch back by putting two of the three back seats down. In fact she enjoyed her trips in this car over the Astra estate they had that she persuaded my father to change to an Estate of this range as well. LOOks Well I know it isnt everyones taste but I like it very much and the colour choices are great too. Reliability. Touch wood no problems at all so far not even minor annoyances. Stereo. I replaced mine with a Panasonic for a better CD player but that was my choice as I am in the car driving a lot. Lights great fog lamps and great parking lights too adjustable main lights are good. Safety 2 airbags so the passenger gets one too. No other discernable differences to other makes aprt from that so fine. hope you will like it too.
Mine has done 18,000 miles with no real problems. It will plod along a motorway in heavy traffic quite happily, but does feel like it was made for hard charging on a quiet motorway. The fuel tank is a little small (about 400 miles of mixed driving), but the car offers good overall economy. It drives more like a petrol car than a diesel. The driver is rewarded for working the gearbox, and the car is eager to perform at the upper end of the rev range. The driving position feels fairly high, but the car never feels unsteady during cornering. The cabin is fairly well designed, but the mix of silver and black parts make it look like they ran out of both colours, and had to mix and match to finish the car. The standard stereo offers good sound but only a tape deck (and not even an auto reverse one). Mine doesn't appear to have ABS, but I've only noticed this recently because the brakes are very good and inspire a lot of confidence. I was fairly annoyed to find that I was only supplied with one remote-key. The spare key is obviuosly for emergencies only, being made from the poorest quality plastic available. This poor plastic is also used on the handbrake, grab handles and the seat adjust controls (the handbrake button has cut my thumb on more than one occasion). Overall, the car has been more than satisfactory and has rewarded my decision to buy it.