2005 Ford Focus ZX4 ST 2.3 Duratec from North America
Reliable, inexpensive sporty car with below-average MPG
Clutch master cylinder leaked at 130,000 ($200).
Headlight plug corroded at 140,000 ($0, just needed silver grease).
Very reliable and sporty car, fun to drive, with cool trim pieces and interior accents. The gray color and red/black seats didn't look immature like the SVT Focuses I checked out. Oil changes were very easy to do with filter and drain bolt locations near the front. The car pretty much cost me nothing to run other than gas, oil, and brakes. I've had good luck with these Duratec cars, and switching to a timing chain only improved that. With the four-wheel discs, I even felt confident towing an 800lb (150lb tongue weight) trailer in the PA mountains several times without issue.
Some minor gripes:
- The 2.3L engine did not get great fuel economy, often 26-27 MPG for 50/50 driving with one passenger. I have a pretty light touch, got peaks of 36 MPG in my 2.0L Escort and 33 MPG in my 2010 Focus coupe so I don't think it's my driving. I blame the foam "lifetime air filters" installed in these cars that were likely very restrictive. I didn't own the car long enough to change it out for K&N cone, which is a popular modification said to help with this.
- The stick shift has a tricky reverse lockout, took a few days to get the hang of it. The other stick shift quirk is that the engine holds or gains revs if you shift slowly. This is apparently that same in the Ranger with this motor.
- The road noise in the car was higher than average, but lower than the deafening Escort I owned before this. The 2010 I have now is much quieter, the 2012+ Focus is even quieter.
Overall I would recommend this car if you need a little more power for more/larger passengers, towing, or passing, but looking for low running costs. This was far and away more fun to drive than a Corolla.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th February, 2019