Thanks for the comparison. I think I will get a Focus and apply some sound deadening to it.
We owned a great little bright yellow 2001 ZX-3 with every available option, and it was an awesome and totally trouble free car. I've also driven GM compacts, and have to agree that they are incredibly smooth and quiet. If I were buying a new economy car now, it would be a very tough choice between Focus and the GM's. I wouldn't consider a Corolla because of Toyota's awful reliability, and after a dear friend of ours was killed in her new Honda that crumpled like a beer can in a crash, I'm afraid of them.
Quick update on the car from the original owner:
- The rotors have warped prematurely with only 30000KM. This is not a huge deal to change and I will be sure to buy higher quality components to replace. I suspect Ford used the lowest bidder for the brake components... As long as the calipers hold up this isn't a huge issue.
Mileage has improved, my last roadtrip I averaged 7.2L/100KM which is about 33MPG. This was at 120KM/H, so overall not bad at all. City is still over 10L/100KM though.
The car is still pretty tight and rattle-free which is more than I can say for my VW Golf. Maintenance has been very reasonably priced. The wife broke one the side mirrors coming into the garage, and I was surprised to find that it was only a 25$ replacement brand new.
I still think it's a bargain. This is my first American car and I will buy American again.
To the second poster above, I will say that the Corolla is just about the most dependable car on the market and it also has some of the best fuel economy and ride comfort around. I'm not sure what the anti-Toyota stuff is all about, there's a reason that Toyota is widely regarded as the top manufacturer worldwide.
All things being equal I would have honestly bought a Corolla instead of a Focus, but supply and demand being what it is Toyota dealerships ask way more money, have way more hidden fees and more expensive financing for what is only a slightly superior product. The bottom line is that a Focus with incentives is 5 or 6K less which is 30-40% cheaper than a comparably equipped Corolla. Though it's less refined and a bit thirstier, it has good driving dynamics and should be fairly durable.
To illustrate this, the Focus has an engine derived from the very modern Mazda MRZ 2.0. It's been detuned by 12hp from the removal of vvt, but optimized for better fuel economy and low end torque. It's basically maintenance free and is designed to run 160 000KM before needing more than oil changes. It has a timing chain, platinum spark plugs, long life coolant and a maintenance free air filter. Running costs is truly minimal.
Please advise what source you are citing for the comment "The Corolla is just about the most dependable car on the market". Recent Toyotas are anything but "reliable". In 2006 more Toyotas were recalled than were SOLD. Even the normally biased Consumer Reports no longer recommends some Toyota models due to poor build quality.
I've never known anyone who got 100,000 miles out of a Corolla without major problems, and some Corollas reviewed on here had engine failures before 20,000 miles.
Due to all the ad hype, most people don't realize that the most reliable vehicle in Consumer Reports reviews is a Ford, not a Toyota (which as far as I know isn't on ANY "best" lists). The Yaris actually made a "10 WORST" list.
I realize most people are not aware of how far Japanese cars have slid in quality, but please, don't perpetuate such myths.
Well a quick look though the Carsurvey reviews about the Corolla from the early 1980s to 2007, shows that the overwhelming majority of owners have been satisfied. Those that aren't usually mention boring dynamics and poor performance, which is to be expected in a 4cyl economy car. This is probably the same reason the Yaris made it to a worst 10 list.
If Carsurvey's not a good source, I don't know what is. I honestly don't care about Consumer Reviews, I expect any American publication to be biased towards American cars and have a particular slant against Toyota, since they are the largest rival of the US auto industry.
Original poster again:
I now have roughly 50000KM and the car is running great. Not a single issue, odd noise or hiccup since we have bought it.
As I mentioned above, the car came equipped with platinum spark plugs, which have the advantage of lasting 160,000KM. The disadvantage of platinum plugs is their lower performance and the fact that they still degrade over time, probably much quicker than advertised. I usually replace plugs near 50000KM and decided to try a different set to see if there would be any advantage. I went for regular NGK copper plugs, and for a 7$ upgrade the engine is much smoother and stronger at low RPMs. My fuel economy has gone from around 9l/100KM (26MPG) to ~7.5l/100KM (33MPG) mixed city-highway. Best of all this is with the A/C on!
70,000KM now. Not one single issue to report. No weird noises, no vibrations, not electrical problems...
I am now changing the oil myself and it's very painless. I can get to the plug and filter without jacking the car up.
I still get approx 33 MPG in mixed driving, with a fair amount of stop and go. I drive about 110km/h (70mph) on the highway, but otherwise don't do anything special to preserve gas.
Overall very satisfied with the reliability and simple upkeep of this car.
If you are not aware that Ford owns approx 33 percent of Mazda. The 4 cylinders are Mazda engineered. I own a Mazda Tribute 2.3 liter Mazda engineered engine. Made in a Ford plant, same as a Ford Escape. The V6s are Ford engineered, not that bad of an engine either. Ford is a better bet than the other domestics.
Also people, stop your complaining about CD players that are crap in your cars, or plastics. This is what you get in this price range. The CD players can be changed.
I agree with you, the plastic sucks a bit, but then again I paid 13k canadian for it brand new. It could be a lot worse. It doesn't rattle at least.
The stereo is great I find, if anything I would replace the front speakers, the stock ones always suck, but at least these are in a good location. Anyone who complains about this stereo should drive a Toyota or Hyundai... Those are brutal.
80000KM. Still running great. 33MPG combined, all I do to achieve this is cruise at 70MPH and shift at 3000RPM.
"33MPG combined, all I do to achieve this is cruise at 70MPH and shift at 3000RPM."
And you call that frugal driving? Try cruising at 55 MPH and shifting around 2500 RPM. You will be amazed to see what this car is really capable of when it comes to MPG.
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