"Great choice as a rental when nothing else is available"
Wouldn't that be applicable to any car? Ferrari for example or Trabant?
I have an 08 Focus SES and have none of the problems you complain about. It must be a rental model problem. My complaint is the cheap plastic interior, that's about it. It has about 22k miles and no problems yet.
"My complaint is the cheap plastic interior, that's about it."
I really wish people would stop complaining about this issue in cars. Please find me a car that doesn't have a "cheap plastic interior". All of the manufacturers short of Bentley use the same grade of plastic for their interiors. I have seen everything from Honda's to BMW's with it.
What would an expensive plastic interior be like??
There are different grades & textures of plastics used in vehicle interiors. Some are softer and feel much better to the touch. Some look much better than others.
Sit in a premium brand such as Lexus and then look at an entry level vehicle such as a Focus - then tell us that they are all alike.
To 11:45: It's ridiculous that if an interior is in a domestic car it is "cheap plastic" and if the exact same grade of plastic is used in a Japanese car it is "high quality". A friend of mine has a new Lexus. I've ridden in the car, and it has EXACTLY THE SAME plastic as my Ford Fusion or my Mustang. Plastic is plastic. The Lexus also has the SAME AMOUNT of plastic as my Fusion. In fact, the interior quality is just about identical except that my Fusion doesn't rattle and the warning lights on the dash aren't on most of the time as they are in my friend's Lexus (which was in the shop three times in the first three WEEKS).
Actually, if you read and understood my post that is EXACTLY my point! That is why I was wishing people would stop complaining about it.
Yes, the Lexus uses some nicer soft touch plastic, but that is why it costs two or three times the price of the Focus. There is still much of the same type of hard plastic pieces in there as well. The Focus has a hard plastic dash, but who sits there and touches the dash? The arm rests are nice and soft, as is the center console cover, so they use it where they need it and not where it just adds cost to the bottom line. Plastic is plastic, and I have seen many hard "cheap" plastic components in everything up to BMW and Mercedes.
There ARE different grades of plastic used in automobiles. The soft plastics you'll see and feel in a Mercedes are nothing like the hard plastic pieces in a Jeep Liberty, for example. Can't name you the different compositions used, but there are differences in the chemistry. So a "cheap plastic" interior in fact does exist.