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Old 07-28-2010, 12:18 PM
 
16 posts, read 123,169 times
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I'm thinking about getting a 2002-2004 Ford Focus but before I do I just wanna do some research on whether it's a reliable car or not.
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
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The Ford Focus is a solid compact car. It has much in common with the Mazda3 and Protege before it - so it handles and drives well. That generation of Focus does not have the overall quality of best in class like the Honda Civic. But the Focus is usually much less expensive to buy. It is easy to get serviced and should serve you well if you take care of it.
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:27 PM
 
16,836 posts, read 15,450,920 times
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Updated: 12/17/09


2004 Ford Focus
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2000-2004 Ford Focus ▼

  • Price Range: $1,700 - $6,200

CG Rating

51
out of 100







Pros
  • Cargo room (wagon)
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling/roadholding
Cons
  • Acceleration
  • Engine noise
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (hatchback)
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Southwest Pa
1,440 posts, read 4,132,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
.....and should serve you well if you take care of it.

That's the key, taking care of it. But then you'll have to assume and pray the previous owner or owners did the same.

Provided you find one with good miles (tough) and good price (not so tough, there's thousands out there) you should be ok. Watch for rust in the rockers and the trunk lid. Local junkyard is seeing a lot of 2000-2005 cars, not just Fords, come in with more rust than I'm comfortable seeing in models that young.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Poway, CA
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Seeing how you excluded 00-01 models, I'm assuming you already know the early years were plagued with a handful of issues. From 02 on, though, it's pretty solid. Some things to know:

Avoid any with the SPI engine (SOHC). This engine was standard in all LX sedans, some SE sedans, and some wagons. If the name has a 'Z', in it (ZX3, ZTS, etc) it means the engine is either the Zetec engine (00-03, depending on the state the car was originally sold in), or the 2.3L Duratec (03-04). Not that any of them are 'rockets', but the SPI was an absolute dog and prone to premature engine failure in the top end. The Zetec and Duratec are very reliable engines with the Duratec still being used in various 4-cylinder Mazdas and Fords today.

There are plenty of stock models available, so if you are most concerned with reliability, avoid any that have been modified. That goes for any car model, really.

The automatic tranny models are just OK. Some owners had a lot of problems; others (like me) had no issue even though I drove the crap out of it. If you can drive stick, though, I would opt for that instead.

For what it's worth, I have known many many Focus owners who have hundreds of thousands of miles on their vehicle with no issues, and these aren't 'little old lady' drivers, either. My brother just sold his 02 ZX3 that he bought new. The only non-maintenance issue he ever had was a bad alternator at 110K miles. Other than that, rock solid. I had a 02 ZX5 and also had no issues, though I sold mine at 70K miles.

Mike
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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Thanks so much guys! I will certainly keep this info in mind. The cars I really wanted I'm kinda afraid to get:

a) I wanted a Toyota Celica but I'm afraid that will get stolen and I bet insurance is out of this world

b) Then I was interested in a Toyota Prius but I'm afraid if something goes wrong it would be way too costly to repair because I read hybrid cars are way more expensive to repair than non-hybrid ones
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
11,031 posts, read 26,420,028 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlm1288 View Post
Thanks so much guys! I will certainly keep this info in mind. The cars I really wanted I'm kinda afraid to get:

a) I wanted a Toyota Celica but I'm afraid that will get stolen and I bet insurance is out of this world

b) Then I was interested in a Toyota Prius but I'm afraid if something goes wrong it would be way too costly to repair because I read hybrid cars are way more expensive to repair than non-hybrid ones
I would say the celica would be pretty safe from thieves it has it own built in anti-theft system but make sure you get the stick-shift model or whats the point in having a sporty coupe. the 1999-2006 are fun little FWD cars.

I would look for the GT-S version just for the extra 40HP and better suspension and them being a 5-10 year old cars they should be found for a decent price.

also ford did make a SVT focus if you want a sporty little hot hatch which is pretty much a production FWD ford rally car. they are a little hard to find but are pretty fun cars if you do find one.
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Old 07-28-2010, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Indiana
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Me and the wife have a 2001 Focus that we use as a commuter car. It's got about 188,000 miles on it now and is a 5spd with the Zetec.

Heres a list of the issues it has had in it's 9 year lifespan:

Timing belt at around 130,000 miles
1 passenger side motor mount at about 160,000 (VERY common with the zetec)
It's on it's third valve cover gasket, I'm assuming this is a common issue
front passenger side coil spring broke at about 170,000
fuel pump at 185,000 but was covered under a Ford recall and still is.
A/C charged at 186,000

Thats it other then routine maintenance. I've sunk probably about $700 into the car not including oil changes and it has done great, I do all my own work though. I'm assuming it's going to need a clutch in the near future seeing that the factory one is still in it, it's not slipping yet though. Great car.
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Old 07-29-2010, 12:19 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 12,178,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboyslo View Post
Seeing how you excluded 00-01 models, I'm assuming you already know the early years were plagued with a handful of issues. From 02 on, though, it's pretty solid.
I had a 2001 Focus and loved it. Nice amenities, good quality body integrity, great gas mileage. Cost me $12,000 brand new--with air conditioning!

I'd own another Focus.
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Old 07-29-2010, 04:02 AM
 
Location: Poway, CA
2,698 posts, read 11,284,845 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
I had a 2001 Focus and loved it. Nice amenities, good quality body integrity, great gas mileage. Cost me $12,000 brand new--with air conditioning!

I'd own another Focus.
not saying 00-01 models are terrible cars. it's just that, like any car, they had a few bugs the first couple of years and they had to work them out. it would stand to reason that many 00-01 models have had all recall work done by now, but with such a large selection on the market, the smart thing would be to avoid them altogether IMO.

you're spot-on about the bargain price, though. my brother's ZX3 was a 'no-frills' model with no tilt, cruise, power windows, power door locks, and cloth interior, but it DID have AC and it cost $10K brand new. it was one of those door-buster ads, but amazingly they actually had the car in-stock. in fact, they had 3. and just like Henry Ford used to like it, you could have any one you wanted as long as it was black. still, helluva deal! just goes to show how crazy things have gotten in such a short time. i don't think you can touch a Fiesta for under $10K, let alone a Focus.

Chadro77's list of stuff is fairly common to the Focus. The only thing I would point out is that a timing belt is technically routine maintenance on any vehicle, so i wouldn't list it as something that 'went wrong' per se. somewhat the same with AC charging.

Mike
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