The best question might be what HASN'T gone wrong. Literally days after I drove this Focus off the lot, the airbag light started flashing. That meant I had to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-$500 to replace the airbag computer.
A few months later, one of my front springs cracked, and when I brought it in, I discovered that every one of my sway bar end links had broken as well. This explained the noisy suspension and excessive body lean into turns.
So later on, I made the mistake of taking this thing on a road trip across the country. About halfway to my destination, my car began to shudder and die on the interstate. Shutting it down and starting after a few minutes allowed me to hobble it to a nearby gas station. After filling the tank, it worked fine. I chalked that episode up too bad gas and headed on my way. It wasn't until I was on my way home, in the middle of rural Nebraska, that I discovered the real problem. The shuddering and stalling began again, and this time I coaxed it into a Ford dealership, where they knew what the problem was as soon as I told them it was a Focus. Bad sign. It was the fuel pump. Very common problem, but there was an extended warranty on it. Unfortunately, they had replaced two fuel pumps the day before and informed me that I could probably make it home at night when it was cooler. So I had that work done at home.
Now this year, I estimate I've missed three days of work because of this car, and it's only May. The coil pack went out on it, the doors began to lock themselves randomly, sometimes seconds after starting the car and beginning to scrape the windows. The driver's side door handle stopped working. The ignition cylinder locked up and had to be replaced. I made the wise decision to get rid of this thing.
There would've been a lot to like about this car, if only it hadn't been made out of cheap parts. The suspension and handling were impressive. The Zetec engine by itself is a reliable power plant, and if it hadn't been mounted in a faulty package, it would've provided years of service.
The interior was cleverly designed, and I still prefer it over the new Focus design. The seats and wheel adjusted to fit just about anyone, and I liked how high I sat in this car.
Let's get this straight right now: I've never been an American car hater. I'm a UAW member that would love to continue to support American manufacturing. At this point, however, I've been burned too many times by nickel-dime design and excessive outsourcing to the lowest bidder. This company seemed to be trying to lose my business, and that's just what it did. It's no longer worth my money to buy anything from Ford. After the last in a long string of problems, I drove this to a Toyota dealership and traded it in for some peace of mind.