2001 Ford Focus Zetec 1.6


Very reliable and surprisingly nice to drive


Erratic idle speed; fixed by replacing worn out part for about £120.

Rear windscreen wiper stopped working; fixed easily.

The car never broke down.

General Comments:

I had my Focus for about a year and a half, when it was 10-11 years old. To date it has been the most reliable car I have ever owned.

Needless to say there are thousands of them all over the UK - the downside of this is simply that you're driving a fairly 'ordinary' - some may even say boring - car. The good news is that driving it is not so boring. The Focus was surprisingly good to drive. It's no sports car, but it felt solid, and was responsive and comfortable. A confident cruiser on the motorway, and easy to drive around town. In terms of fuel, it was economical enough, but not outstanding.

The QuickClear windscreen is fantastic in the winter - just make sure it works before you buy. I did wonder how much a replacement windscreen would cost given the heating elements required in it.

There's simply so much choice if you're buying a Focus - you may as well take your time and ensure you get a good one. Mine had been well looked after, but having lived in town it had a few minor scrapes and scratches on the bodywork. These didn't bother me, and meant I got the car at a good price. As far as I can tell, find a well looked after example and you should have a reliable car that's easy and cheap to run.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st April, 2014

2001 Ford Focus Zetec 1.6 petrol


Like a faithful old horse, it may not be noticed, but is always there for me


Coughing during acceleration; fixed with the simple application of new HT leads.

Erratic idle speed was caused by a pipe that needed replacing on the engine. Sorry for being so fantastically non-technical, I can't remember what it was.

The engine seems to be using noticeably more oil, although there are no obvious leaks. A quick internet search revealed that this is not uncommon with the petrol Zetec Focus. I'll keep an eye on it for now.

Pound for pound, this is easily the most reliable car I've owned.

General Comments:

After ten years and 80,000 miles or so, I first met my Focus as it sat still proudly gleaming in its Pacific Green on a less-than-reputable used car lot in deepest Surrey.

'Full service history' quickly turned into 'lost service history', followed by 'no service history'. But despite a shaky start with the dealer, there were no such shaky starts with the car itself.

I was after a sensible balance of practicality, reliability and financial economy - but still a nice drive. I decided the little green Zetec was the right companion for some new adventures.

Luckily for me, adventures only come when required, as my car favours road-trips over and above trips into the parts bin and local garages. Aside from the few things listed above, none of which prevented me driving the car as normal, it hasn't missed a beat.

Seats are blackly sensible in appearance, but are comfortable. The dash is easier to use than its higgledy-piggledy appearance may suggest. There's enough power, and Zetec is entirely happy cruising round the M25 or sitting in a traffic jam. A commanding driving position gives a comfortable level of visibility, and helps keep me relaxed and assured, whether parking or changing lanes at speed.

The body bears the scars of a life in London - some pretty nasty scratches, curbed alloys, a random greasy handprint that is impossible to remove and a ruined boot lock, where my Focus must have proudly defeated a bungling burglar attempting to access it. Luckily you can still open the boot remotely from the dash.

At ten years old it was cheap to buy, and being a Ford I assume it's comparatively easy and cheap to fix if it goes wrong. Easy to drive, easy to run, and I expect easy to sell when the time comes.

Being such a best-selling car, there are plenty of them around, which ironically could be seen as the biggest drawback - you're never going to be seen as an individual from a motoring perspective. Individuality is a good thing, but perhaps not as good as passing another MoT with no extra costs to bear. I expect opinions differ, and yours may tell you whether or not a relatively sensible car such as a Focus is right for you.

My advice to anyone thinking of buying a Focus is simply to take advantage of the large numbers of cars available. I'm sure there are bad cars out there as well, as with any - and I've been fortunate. So take the time to make sure you choose one of the good ones from the wide choice available.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd November, 2012