2004 Ford Focus ZX3 2.3 from North America

Summary:

Engine Runs great, but the rear end is junk

Faults:

Rear stabilizer bar comes from the factory set wrong.

General Comments:

The zx3 handles and runs great for the first 10k to 15k.

After about 15k the rear end starts to feel loose.

Ford has a 'silent' recall on it as they say 'some' of the zx3's are set wrong.

The dealership did make sure to tell me to rotate my tires every six thousand miles, which is a great idea if you own a tire dealership, It ruined 4 tires instead of just 2.

I checked my vin with Ford itself and nothing came up as there being any problems or listed recalls.

I am now past the 3/36k warranty and into the worthless 100k drive train warranty.

Neither Ford or the dealership I purchased the car from did anything to notify me, I had to go in there angry and complaining before they gave me the "oh yeah now I remember" crap.

I have gone through 3 sets of rear tires on this car now and have had it. If this is how Ford backs their products I am washing my hands of them.

If you own one and are noticing the rear tires slanting out at the bottom, tilting like an A frame house in other words, take it back in now and demand they fix it.

The tires will start to look like someone twisted them and then the handling goes to pot.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th April, 2005

2004 Ford Focus Zetec 1.8 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Good family hatchback that handles very well

Faults:

Only thing so far is there are 2 rattles coming from the rear of the car.

One is the rear seat mount. The other is the rear hatch.

General Comments:

I had to think very long and hard before buying another Ford POS.

The last Escort I owned was brand new and was rusty on delivery.

Twelve months later Ford were still refusing to fix it and never did.

Against my better judgment I bought a Focus, mainly due to price.

So, did I do the right thing or get ripped off again.

Well, so far so good, apart from rattles, this is a good all round family hatch.

The 1.8 engine just gives that little bit more power than the 1.6 with similar MPG.

It handles very well with a good set of brakes.

The seats are not that comfortable.

They could be better with adjustable lumbar support as standard.

The heated front screen is great in the winter, clears frost in seconds.

I think after 3 months ownership I made reasonable choice.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th April, 2005

21st Apr 2005, 16:31

The rattles in the back are because the rear end is not lined up properly. I have 51k on mine and have gone through 3 sets of rear tires, it started with rattles coming from the back. It could have been avoided if I would have known they rigged the car straight out of the factory.

Go back to the dealership and ask them to look up the correct alignment specks on the rear end. Don't let them try to sell you struts either because that is not the real problem. If they are anything like the dealership I bought mine from, they will try. Goodluck.

OH Yeah, get 2 thin pillows, foam works the best, and seat covers, slide the seat cover over the pillows placed on the back of the seat. That will cure the numbness in your elbow and the pain in the middle of the back. ;)

2004 Ford Focus ZTW ZTEC from North America

Summary:

I would not recommend buying a Focus!

Faults:

License plate light housing completely rusted out. At only 25,000 kms this really suprised me! Only a $12 part, but how many times am I going to have to replace this?

General Comments:

I just drove 4,000 km round trip to go back home for Christmas. I drove across Canada during some bad snow storms that came up from the U.S. Anyway, on icy roads I found that the rear of the vehicle wants to sway back and forth. I found that I expended a great deal of energy fighting what the car wanted to do. I have driven many vehicles in all types of weather, but this is the first time I have felt scared and unsafe!

When on ice, the back end of the wagon seemed to want to swing to the side. Once I hit dry pavement, the car would "kick" back into a straight line. This was very unnerving! Had the Ford dealership in a town we passed through been open, I would have dumped that car for something else; perhaps the Escape Hybrid.

It has been an okay car otherwise, although I find it to be very under-powered! Other vehicles in the same class seem to have better "get up and go". I found it to be reasonably comfortable on the long trip though.

I wish I had made a different purchase!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 2nd January, 2005

6th Jan 2005, 10:46

I think that the automatic is you problem with power. It is a slushbox. The manual feels a lot more secure, and powerful.

29th Jan 2005, 07:36

I have a 2001 Ford Focus SE Standard. It is absolutely horrible in the snow.

2nd Feb 2005, 09:25

I have a manual 04 ZTW with traction control. No problems in the snow or ice. Just keep the gas pedal matted all the time. The Traction control controls revs and anti-lock brakes prevent wheel spin.

27th May 2005, 10:12

I own a 2004 Focus ZTW as well and I am certain the reason your car handles so badly in the snow is because of your tires. Is your car equipped with the Pirelli P6 tires? My car handled terribly in the snow with these tires, but when I installed a pair of Michelin winter tires, the car became very capable in the snow. You might want to try this?

16th Aug 2006, 16:24

We fell for the advertising hype about front drive cars driving better in snow and ice. NOT SO. We've owned a Ford Escort, a Dodge Daytona, a Pontiac Grand Am and a Ford Focus.

The only one that was remotely competent in snow was the Dodge Daytona, but my classic rear-drive '72 Duster V-8 would literally run rings around all of them in snow. When it snowed it was the only one of our cars I felt remotely secure in.