2001 Ford Focus Zetec TDDi 1.8 turbo diesel


Astonishing family car value and a great driving experience


Rear seat back catch is temperamental.

Deformed rear tyres causing a droning sound. Went away when replaced, but how did they get like that?

General Comments:

Excellent value for money. £5k for a cutting edge family hatch which, if you believe the reviews, still has no peers when it comes to driver satisfaction. I don't know about that, but it does have a pleasingly "sharp" feel with a great ride, lovely weighty steering and powerful brakes.

The budget wouldn't stretch to one of the excellent TDCi engines, so I had to make do with the old Endura DI unit which has to be the car's biggest weakness. To be fair, the engine actually performs quite well and has a nice, easy going nature to its power delivery. Unfortunately, it's gruff, rumbly and smokes like an old boiler when you accelerate hard.

Economy so far has varied quite drastically. We've seen everything from a very impressive 54 mpg, to a petrol rivalling 36 mpg. Average is around 46 mpg which is a good 10mpg more than you'd ever get from the 1600 petrol version. Running costs generally are low too with original Ford parts prices costing less than my previous Nissan's pattern parts.

Reliability is good so far. The seat catch needs a bit of fiddling to get it to latch after the seats have been folded, and something odd happened to the rear tyres which became "stepped" on their inner edges with a good 4mm of wear left on the remainder. I'm told this is not uncommon on the Focus, and yes the car was HPI'd before I bought it.

I know from friends that Ford dealers are useless, so I do basic servicing myself, and have any additional work carried out by an independent who has been known to our family for years. He does a good job and charges a fair price.

Overall I would say a 4yr old Focus is probably the best age/value/ability combination available in family motoring today. If it continues as it has started, I will be overjoyed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2005

2001 Ford Focus LX 1.6


It's a Ford? Really? Well... I guess Ford are pretty good after all..


Minor problems, only.

The fan-belt tensioner was noisy at start-up, replaced myself.

Scuffed interior (to be expected with the miles I think).

Silly tax-disc holder has lost stickiness, but cannot be removed without looking unsightly.

Wipers may clear screen, but the washers always manage to leave a big dribble-smear.

General Comments:

This is the first car I owned myself. Obviously, I used to borrow my parents cars to get around, which wasn't really a major problem except at weekends. And surprisingly, it's the Focus I love the most.

The Focus steers, handles, and changes gear in a manner that runs my Mum's Toyota Celica VVT-i very close (and I actually prefer my gear-change). It also rides well, if not a little firmly over our country-lane pot-holed roads... a friend's 306 DTurbo is softer, but also rolls far more around the twists.

Performance, however, is where it loses in comparison. Like the Celica, you need to work the gears to get the best from it, but it's happy to relaxingly go about it's business. But the performance is not a real problem in comparison to the mainstream and seems to be easier to progress in than my Dad's Rover 75 diesel, and the engine is smooth, even now. It has a noticeable rasp to the exhaust note that also enhances the sporty pretensions.

Now, as a family, we're not big on the mainstream badges... and Ford particularly, based on a the last family Ford being an Orion 15 years ago. But if you lay aside the idea that Ford is cheap, nasty, and falls apart, and judge the Focus on it's own, you could be fooled into thinking you were in a VW.

Actually, that's a lie. It's not as well built as a Golf IV, but it's better than any French car you can name, and the metallic dash (standard on the LX for my revised model) is clear and easy to use, whilst being more stylish than most in the class.

It's spacious, and the trim, even after the miles this car has covered, has yet to shake, rattle and fall-off.

The seats are comfortable, and the driving position superb (especially with the column-mounted audio controls). It does just all feel so right. Except visibility that is... I seem to have a pillar in my way wherever I look.

I like the exterior too, especially with the alloys, and the silver paintwork. The revised front-end isn't as clean as the original, but it is more practical.

This car is also quite refined, with all sources of noise well-hidden, making it easy enough to cruise on the motorway in.

It's also economical having a low-insurance group, cheap Ford spares, and the fuel economy stands at around 42mpg, which I find amazing, even considering my journey is 80% country roads, and 20% town.

I love this car, and dare any 1.6 Golf IV owners to challenge it, because while you may look down on us Ford-owners, we're the one's smiling at the end of a trip.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2005

25th Mar 2005, 06:41

I would say it's just as well built as a mkIV Golf, if not better. It's certainly thrashed the Golf in every motoring survey run since it came out, and even won the German ADAC reliability survey outright a couple of years back.

What it doesn't have (in mk1 guise anyway) are the expensive-looking soft feel plastics, and designer instrument lighting inside which all the German manufacturers use to such nice effect inside. If you can see past that however, it's a superior car in almost every other way, bar the Golf's superb diesel engines.

6th May 2007, 03:55

Hi, I have just purchased a '00 (X reg equivalent) 1.6 Petrol Focus Estate with 80,000 miles. It did 46.3 MPG on the 180 mile drive home on 75 MPH motorways and 62 MPH on A roads. This is as good as a Diesel. And it drives very well. It looks like a 40,000 mile car.