2002 Ford Focus SE Sport 2.0 Ztec from North America
Roomy, comfy, reliable with good handling and low operation costs
So far, nothing has gone wrong with this car. It has never let me down, even during our harsh Canadian winters!
This is my second Focus. I leased the first one early in 2000. It was fairly reliable, but the numerous recalls were annoying and time-consuming.
So far I have been pleased with this second Focus. It came well equipped for the price, the financing rate was low, and the car is relatively cheap to drive and to maintain.
I think the weakest point in this car is the overall quality of the fit and finish inside. This is especially apparent in the seat cloth/stitching and in the door panels. The cheap plastic they are made of reflects badly on an otherwise roomy, comfortable and ergonomic cabin. Furthermore, the center armrest is too high, too aggressively positioned, scarcely padded and it prevents adequate shifting of the manual gearbox. The armrest can be tilted vertically, but this doesn't improve the situation. I suppose if the car had an automatic transmission I wouldn't notice this flaw as much, but it has gotten to the point where I wish I could just tear the armrest off!
The seats are comfortable, even in the back, and the high seating position make you feel like you're in a bigger car. However, wind and engine noise become somewhat annoying once you reach 110km/h.
Outside, fit and finish are average. Side mirrors do not fold, which is inconvenient when parking in the tight streets of Montreal.
The rear spoiler is useless and unpractical in winter conditions, as snow and ice build up in the space between the spoiler and the trunk lid.
The handling is light yet firm yet responsive and I find the car offers excellent steering feel and feedback.
Brakes are adequate even without ABS.
Clutch and gearbox are easy to maneuver and pleasing to use.
The engine provides sufficient performance, though with maximum power peaking at only 5300 rpm, it is obviously tuned for every day driving. However it does provide sufficient torque at low and mid rpm, which is good when driving uphill with 4 people and a trunk full of luggage.
I don't know if I'll buy another Focus for the simple reason that I don't like what Ford has done with it in 2005. They barely tweaked it instead of giving it a good refresh. This is in stark comparison with Ford of Europe which has successfully renewed the Focus in 2005 and transformed it into a top of the line small compact, making the American version look cheap and outdated.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 23rd February, 2005