I have to agree, this vehicle is the most fun to drive since I owned a V8 panel van in the 80's.
I've had my Focus TDCI since Nov 2007. I've had ZERO issues with it. It's fabulous on the fuel, handles like a beauty. I must mention the gearbox. This is the BEST gearbox I have ever used in my 30+ years of driving and 30+ cars I've owned over that time. It's simply a beautiful bit of gear.
I live in rural QLD, so don't do much city driving, but the fuel economy is very good. On a trip (I Travel to Wingham NSW regularly) I get an average of 4.6l/100k without any trouble. I will be sad to see this car go. I usually keep cars for a year or so max, sometimes less. But I've had this car for 2 years so far. This car is that good.
I wrote the review, and thought I'd give an update for anyone who cares. The car now has around 38K, and the interior noises have stayed away, although all the doors creak when going over uneven surfaces, as it has done since new.
A mechanical issue surfaced at around 36K. I pumped up all the tyres one day like usual, and a day later I noticed an irregular high pitched rumbling sound that came in at around 50kph and would stay there through to 110kph+. I thought I'd over-inflated one of the tyres, but they were all OK. Then the noise started to come in at lower speeds and was louder than the (diesel) engine, so I took it to the dealer and they diagnosed a faulty centre bearing. I asked was this normal for a car with 36K, and they said no, but they'd had 'a couple' of them go. Covered by warranty.
The one-two gear change has become a bit notchy, was terrible during winter but is not so bad now in the warmer weather (synchromesh not working right maybe?).
The car still has just under 3 years warranty left. If I decide to keep it after the warranty has ended, I'll make sure to find out how much stuff like the turbo, injectors, fuel pump etc will cost me.
As much as I like it I won't be buying another as the quality isn't up to Japanese standards. I'm going back to Toyota or Mazda next time. Preferably diesel, although I've read the Mazda 6 diesel is causing problems for owners. Would love a diesel Hi-lux.
I have several friends with Focus Diesel wagons here in New Zealand, they love the economy and performance.
Pay to checkout some of the injector and tailshaft problems with Hilux at the moment!
The car has just clicked over 50,000km and is now just over 3 years old. It doesn't get as much use as I'd like, as I don't drive it to work very often due to the cost of parking in the middle of Brisbane. No more issues have popped up since the bearing failure, although the remote locking failed to work while out the other night, but I think it must have been the area I was in, as it's normally fine.
It had a recall about an exhaust shield issue recently, but I'm not sure if they found anything wrong with my car. I had them change the gearbox oil at the same time (which I had to pay for), and the 1-2 gear change seems a bit smoother.
The interior has stayed quiet, although the driver's seat mechanism will squeak if it's at its lowest setting. I like driving with it low. The iPod socket in the glovebox is now stuffed, I think I'll replace it with a permanently wired lead with a 3.5mm plug. The glovebox is a stupid location, and I think the cause of the socket failure was because the lead was bent at an angle when the lid was closed, putting stress on the socket.
I seem to have lost some of the wheel nut caps on just the front wheels for some reason. I do have a complete set of spare nuts and alloy wheels & tyres I bought off a guy who upgraded the wheels on his petrol LX.
The real issue I have now is how vulnerable the base of the front bumper is when exiting driveways. I've had it repaired once already, and now it's all scratched up again. You have to go really slow and at an angle. This isn't even the sport model, I hate to think how sport models like the ZR5 Turbo/ST cope. I guess as the diesel engine is around 70kg heavier than the petrol, this could be why it rebounds like it does. I keep the tyres at 40psi to try to avoid it bottoming out as well.
It still has just under 2 years warranty left, and I've decided that as I really want to buy a house and I owe no money on the Focus (thanks, I guess, to the passing of an elderly relative) I'm going to keep it til the wheels drop off. I will be investing in a mechanical warranty when the main one expires, as I hate to think what a new turbo, fuel pump or dual-mass-flywheel will cost on this thing. It still drives like it did when it was new.
You're quite right about the earlier Mazda 6 diesel versions having their fair share of problems, most notably diesel being deposited into the engine sump, from the catalysation process not being fully completed, particularly on short journeys. This is most notable on the 'X' mark on the dipstick, which signifies that an oil change is necessary, to expel the diesel contaminated engine oil.
But, be aware that the Mazda 6 2 litre turbo diesel engine is the same unit as what's in your Ford Focus, i.e, a Peugeot derived engine.
The current Mazda 6 diesel engine is Mazda's own 2.2 litre turbo unit, which has similarities to the Peugeot engine, but is far, far better than the outgoing 2 litre model. Whilst this engine still has the 'X' mark on the dipstick, it is far, far more reliable, and much quicker. Not too much torque is available below 2000 rpm, but, above this engine speed, things are far more rosy.
Despite the problems you've had with your Focus, are you still convinced that it's a better car than the work vehicle you had, i.e, the VE series Holden Commodore utility?
We have a Focus 2008 TDCi, and like other drivers of this car, can't talk enough about the performance of it. I love the economy, but I struggle to get the 5.5l/100klm average a tank ford says. 5.8 to 6.0 is usually achieved around Melbourne and country, being 75% of the time on the freeway.
I have mentioned to Ford at servicing if I could take the engine and 6 speed manual out and put it into better shell, I would love it even more.
The car has done 77k, (purchased at 9,500km) in 2008, and to date no mechanical problems, but a lot of annoying cosmetic problems.
At the 75K service done 1 months ago, I was expecting brake replacement, but Ford said they were fine. I am rapped with that, considering my old 1.6 manual 97 Laser sedan would be replaced at around 40k.
Things gone wrong:
I have condensation in both of my driving lights. Fords response was if the condensation is evident after 20 minutes with the lights on, then they will replace them. The condensation always disappears when the lights are on; usually after 2 minutes.
I have had the roof lining replaced for sagging at the hatch end. I could get a flat hand between the rubber seal and the lining.
I have replaced 2 left and 2 right headlights this year alone; they keep blowing. On average, 3 months and I lose one. I've had this checked and the fault can't be found. Now trying a different brand of bulb. Fingers crossed.
One interesting fact about the globes; I was told was that if they are purchased from Ford, they will give you a full 12 months warranty on them, instead of the usual 3 months like Supercheap and Autobarn. Cost wise, yes you will pay more, but for me, this might be an option, considering the current circumstances.
I have had terrible tyre problems with unbalancing; the rubber is 2 factory Goodyears and 2 Bob Jane Z7's. All 4 have caused me grief since the day dot, and have had them balanced every 15k, plus 2 other occasions. Oh, and I don't hit kerbs.
Does anyone have some recommendations for 16" factory alloys?
I previously had a set of 15" Dunlop 300E Sports on the Laser, and got 83k out of them with none of the balancing issues. I am considering them again.
I too have had the glove box problem, and agree that the 3.5mm socket is in a poor position. The cigarette lighter area would have been a better option for me. The light would also stay on all the time. This has all been corrected, and is good so far.
I have also wondered why the engineers never put an interior light in the rear of the car. It is damn annoying. I also know of another owner of an 2009 TDCI, and the same issue arises. Where's the light?
I asked Ford if they would put one in for me when I purchased the car, so I can keep the warranty, but they said it would void the warranty, as they would have to wire it in, as there is no loom to the centre of the roof. The Ghia has one on the sedan, but the LT, LS don't. Not quite sure on the logic there! I will have to put one next year when out of warranty.
I also have headlight and bonnet protectors. The bonnet protector is fantastic at deflecting all those nasty flying stones from the trucks. My Laser was pitted really badly, but the Focus has hardly got a blemish. If only it fitted properly. It catches a little too much wind at 100km and flexes, which rubs the bonnet. A couple of rubber clear sticky dots solved that problem.
All in all, I love driving it, and so does the wife. It puts the old Laser and our 2nd car, a 5 door 98 WF Festiva, to shame. The poor old 98 Festiva has now less k's on the clock than the 08 Focus does, because we love driving it.