2006 Ford Focus ST 2.3 from North America
Performance, reliability, good looks and great value all rolled into one
Leaking steering rack replaced at about 160,000 km.
Exhaust flex pipe section replaced at 185,000 km.
Radio antenna snapped off at 190,000 km.
Usual peeling paint at rocker panels near wheel wells started at about 120,000 km.
Possibly one of the most under-rated and overlooked vehicles Ford has produced.
Exceptional combination of sharp handling and a quiet, compliant ride.
Fully equipped out of the box, with comfortable (leather) seating; it's easy to find your perfect position with the tilt-telescope wheel.
Excellent power, with sub-8 second 0-60 capability and gobs of torque throughout the range. Fuel consumption is reasonable, not great, but good enough considering the performance.
Because there are zillions of Focus on the road, most people don't give them a second glance, however if you really study them, they are very handsomely styled in comparison to other machines in the class, especially the lifeless lumps called Civic or Corolla. However the interior design, although functional, is uninteresting, with hard plastics on the dash and plain black throughout the cabin.
Worst design flaw: on mine, the exhaust flex pipe section is an integral part of the exhaust manifold rather than being a separate bolt-on component like normal vehicles. Ford wanted almost $2000 for a complete exhaust manifold, and an aftermarket unit is approx $800, both parts-only. Found a shop willing to cut the flex off the end of the manifold and weld a new flex onto it. My wife's '06 2.0 has a separate bolt-on flex, so perhaps the engineers woke up at some point after mine went out the door.
Base of antenna mast is made of what looks like cheap white metal, and snapped off both cars within weeks of each other while cleaning snow off the roofs. Easy enough to replace, but a needless expense and nuisance had Ford sourced better quality parts.
All in all, this has been the most enjoyable overall package I've owned (over 25 cars), and I will seek out another when this one fades away. It presents a value proposition that's hard to surpass.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd April, 2014