2003 Ford Focus ZX3 2.0 16v DOHC Zetec (3) from North America
Superb Car for the Price
Well, other than the damage I have caused from wrecks...
Horn fell off the mount about 2 days after I bought the car, but I just swiped a bolt from work and stuck it in there, left me alone since (the connector didn't break despite the horn hanging there at freeway speeds).
CD/MP3 player ignores song/displays wrong track/has severe skipping intermittently. It usually goes away by going back one song then back to the other song.
Power Steering leak developed at 24,000 miles. Ford fixed it no questions asked and it didn't cost me a dime.
The car accelerates pretty good for a 4-cylinder, and can beat most Civics.
MTX-75 manual shifts smoothly and the clutch engagement is very smooth.
Wish Blaupunkdt spent another year bug testing the CD/MP3 player, radio doesn't pick up frequencies as well as all other radios I've had in cars. CD/MP3 player glitches intermittently. Other than that the sound is incredible for a stock system, puts a lot of aftermarket systems to shame.
Cruise Control is smooth and doesn't jerk or hesitate.
Braking and steering are efficient and quick at low speeds, however the brakes are very sensitive at high speeds (very easy to lock up without ABS) and the steering becomes unstable at 85 m.p.h. and above... needs another degree of caster.
Tires grip well and last long.
Seats are very comfortable and the ride is very smooth.
Unfortunately, I fell asleep at the wheel at 3,000 miles (didn't even do my first oil change and I nearly killed it). I destroyed the driver side suspension, but Ford fixed it and it hasn't developed any other side problems.
Price is very reasonable ($15,500) and had more options than my friend's Cavalier ($16,400) of the same year. Fog Lights, 16" aluminum wheels, CD/MP3 audio, cruise control, coded key ignition system.
Overall, this car has taken a lot of abuse (destroyed driver side suspension and torn off front bumper cover) and still runs strong and like new. This is the first new car I've gotten, and I'm happy with the way Ford handled the power steering leak. I highly recommend this car to anyone.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th February, 2005
ARGH! It may not be as great of a car as I originally thought. At 40,000 miles (4,000 miles after the warranty expired, mind you), a piece of trim flew off on the freeway, it developed an EGR valve leak that causes the idle to lope and almost stall intermittently (and caused my MPG's to drop 5 points), and my ignition lock cylinder seized up on me (all in the span of 1,000 miles). The trim I can do myself, no big deal, the EGR SHOULD be covered by Federal Law, but Ford is thinking otherwise, and the ignition lock cylinder (since it's equipped with PATS and microchip keys), is going to cost $600. I heard I'm not the only Focus Owner with this problem either. Ford should recall and replace the lock cylinders for free.