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yackers1

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Quote-start

A wagon for the masses

Quote-end
26.02.2009

Advantages:
Cheap to run and insure, cheap parts, reliable, an all round great car

Disadvantages:
The speedo dropping is a known problem  -  don't pay too much to get it done though

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Value for Money

Road Handling

Comfort

Fuel consumption

Looks

FeaturesGood

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exceptional by (9%):
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very helpful by (91%):
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  2. TheHairyGodmother
  3. Soho_Black
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****Specifications****

The Ford Focus 1.6i Zetec is a five door hatch back with a 1596cc fuel injected petrol engine. The engine makes 99.2 bhp and 106lbs of torque at 4,000 rpm. It is 4,152mm long, 1,998mm wide and 1,430mm high.

I have not bothered to list the full specifications since these can be obtained from many different websites.

****Looks****

I actually like the look of the Focus, although it is down to personal preference and I appreciate that not everyone will like the styling. The Zetec is considered to be one of the sportier models, although it is no where near the ST170, but it is not that ‘tricked’ up.

It comes with 15 inch alloy wheels, small side skirts, a small roof tip spoiler and front fog lights as standard. It is also colour coded (i.e. the bumpers and mirrors are the same colour as the metal work). The skirts are not colour coded which I actually prefer. I don’t think that they would look right if they were.

If you want to modify the Focus there are many different body parts that you can buy including larger side skirts, a larger spoiler, bigger bumpers and various decals and ‘go faster’ stripes amongst many other things.

These body modifications are available from many offline and online retailers and Demon Tweeks and SCA Rally come highly recommended, although I have never used either of them. Whilst I would like a modified car, and something a bit different I would never do it because it just draws attention (and most of it negative) to you.

****Performance****

This model Focus is definitely not a performance car and you would be laughed at if you took it to a ‘run what you brung’ day at Bruntingthorpe drag strip, however I find it is more than adequate for normal every day driving.

The book states a top speed of 115 mph with a 0 – 60 mph time of 10.4 seconds. Whilst it is not blisteringly quick, and much slower than many other cars, it is still fast enough to lose your licence with if you are stupid enough to reach those speeds on the public highway.

If the performance is not enough for you then there are many engine modifications available. These include things such as big bore kits (whereby you increase the cubic capacity of the engine), performance air filters, performance ECU chips and power flow exhausts amongst other things.

As with the body modifications there are many offline and online retailers that specialise in these parts and you will usually find that most of these will supply both engine and body parts.

Personally, I have never seen the point in spending lots of money in engine modifications. The engine is clearly not designed to be tuned up so much and in getting more performance you also run the risk of damaging your engine, and other parts of your car, in the process. If you up-rate the engine then you need to up-rate the chassis and up-rate the brakes. It is a never ending list and, in my opinion, you may as well just buy a faster car and one that is designed for it in the first place

****Fuel economy****

The fuel economy is very, very good and this has been the most economical car I have ever owned, but then I suppose it is the worst performing (with regards to acceleration and top speed) that I have ever owned.

The book states the fuel economy to be 30.1 mpg urban, 49.6 mpg extra urban and 39.8 mpg combined. Considering it is a petrol car it looks good on paper, but in reality you can expect to get more than this. I generally find that I can get in excess of 70 mpg on a run and around 60 mpg going to work and back. I should note that on the way to work I seldom get over 50 mph but then on the rough, undulating and tight Norfolk roads you don’t really want to be going any faster.

****Interior****

The interior is quite nice and well built. It is not up to the standard of the premium marques, such as BMWs, Audi’s and the like, but it is far better than that of my Celica and my mates Subaru. The interior of Japanese cars seem to be really poor even though they have bullet proof engines.

The seats are comfortable and there is adequate leg room even on long journeys. My vehicle has covered just under 50,000, and whilst I appreciate the average for the year is 60,000, I can honestly say that the seats are still really comfortable and feel like they are good for many more miles.

This car comes with a heated front screen (ideal for the cold and frosty winter mornings), heated rear screen (but that is standard on all cars nowadays), electric mirrors, drivers air bag, passenger air bags, air con and the feature of being able to adjust the brightness of the dash as standard.

The controls are neat (with no large indicator stalks and the like sticking out) but everything is to hand and easily accessible.

There is a switch that adjusts the angle of the headlights allowing you to raise them or lower them to account for the passengers and/or luggage you are carrying. I have had a play with these and can’t tell any difference between the settings whatsoever.

The heater is very efficient and it takes only a couple of minutes to get really toasty. Similarly the air con is very efficient. It is much more efficient than that in my Z3 but nowhere near as good as the air con in my GT4. That said, it does call the car down very quickly on those hot and sticky summer days (on those rare occasions we get them).

One gripe I have is that the pillar sometimes obstructs my vision when going around tight left hand corners. I am unsure if this is an inherent fault with the model or whether it is just the position I have my seat in. Unfortunately I cannot really change this as any further forward and my knees are banging the steering wheel and any further back and I can’t reach the pedals.

****In car Entertainment****

This is really, really poor. The standard radio is big, bulky and looks really cheap and nasty. There is no CD player and there are no colourful lights or bright illuminations at night.

The first thing I did was to replace my radio with a decent JVC model.

****Transporting ability****

The Focus is a family sized hatch back and as such there is plenty of room to carry but the bulkiest of items. The boot capacity is 1,206 litres which is more than enough room for a months worth of shopping for a family of four.

To make full use of the interior space the parcel shelf can be removed and the seats folded (almost) flat.

****Running costs****

The Focus is very cheap to run. Servicing and parts are cheap. Due to the popularity of the Focus it is possible to buy many patent parts, thus avoiding the need to buy the more expensive genuine parts.

In addition, there are part retailers everywhere so you never need to go far from home to get what you need.

There are also many crashed or trashed cars so second hand parts are both plentiful and cheap.

The Focus really is a car for people that have little money, or those that do not want the massive servicing costs of premium marques like BMWs and the like

****Insurance****

This model Focus is insurance group 5, which is very low. It is very cheap to insure making it ideal for young and newly qualified drivers.

It is not classified as a ‘nickable’ car which keeps insurance premiums down even more.

****Problems****

The ford Focus has a massive flaw with the speedo and dash and it seems exceptionally common throughout the model range. Those that have not experienced any problems with this should count themselves lucky since they are in the minority.

Coming form a ‘Ford’ family both of my sisters, and myself have a Focus and we have all experienced the same issue. Whilst driving there are times that the speedo needle will drop to zero, the digital mileage display will clear and the engine management light will illuminate. Then, without warning, everything will be fine again, before going wrong again.

Due to the numerous complaints this issue was examined by Watchdog a few months back. Whilst Ford will not accept responsibility for this they will offer a discount on a new dash if it falls within a certain product number range. If your dash is in the affected range then you can have it replaced at an authorised Ford dealer for £99 plus VAT. If yours is not in the affected range and needs replacing you can expect to shell out nearly £700 plus VAT.

When I took my Focus in to see about getting the dash changed I was told that it could be one of two things. The speed sensor or the dash. After a bit of internet research I found out that most of the problems related to the speed sensor and this was cheaper than the dash, even at the discounted price. Being a bit tight I thought I would get the speed sensor done first. I paid £28 plus VAT for the sensor and a friend of mine fitted it in just over an hour. At an authorised dealer this would have cost around £70 plus VAT. I have had no problems since the speed sensor was replaced so I would recommend going down that route first.

Another problem I find is the headlights. The standard headlights are awful on dipped beam and you can barely see 10 metres in front of you. This is not safe, especially on the rough roads of Norfolk and the amount of deer, rabbits and other animals that seem to love jumping out in front of you. The problem can be eased by turning on the front fog lights, but I find this tends to annoy other motorists and many seem to like nothing more than putting up their full beams until you turn the fogs off. Personally, I think motorists that do this are a***h***s since front fogs do not really dazzle you that much and the new BMW minis have them lit up as soon as the headlights are turned on. I have found the only real way of rectifying this is to up-rate the bulbs although this is more expense.

****Security****

This Focus comes with remote central locking and a factory fitted immobiliser as standard. It does not come with an alarm although these can be bought for little money from many offline and online retailers.

****Conclusion****

The Ford Focus Zetec does exactly what it says on the tin. What it does it does very well. It is sensible, cheap to run, cheap to maintain, cheap to insure and an economical car that is ideal for both short shopping trips and the hike to the other end of the country. And the best thing is you will be able to walk when you get there, unlike in the more sporty cars.

It is not fast, exciting or really fun to drive. It does not look really sporty or cool, nor will it get you noticed. It is a car that you will disappear in to the crowd in, but then I don’t think that it is necessarily a bad thing.

If you want to tart it up then there are several body modifications and engine modifications that you can do but then I can’t see the point. If it aint broke don’t fix it.

The Focus does have its little niggles but then what car doesn’t. Just remember, when the speedo goes wrong get the speed sensor changed first since this is usually the cause. Do not get the dash changed and then get the sensor done since this will be an expensive exercise and this is the route most dealers will force you down. Just be strong and stick to your guns.

The Focus is an ideal all round car and suitable for everyone. The running/maintaining/insurance costs make it ideal for new and younger drivers, the large interior make it suitable for families with no more than two children, the great fuel economy makes it ideal for those that drive longer distances. It really is a great car that will serve you well. Just don’t expect to be like Lewis Hamilton, but then considering how busy the UK roads are nowadays and the public’s attitude to speeding you shouldn’t be driving like this anyway.

(originally posted on Dooyoo under the name of Yackers1)
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Comments about this review »

lazza123 27.02.2009 12:17

Great review, not a car I particularly like, but hey there you go!! Larry

azana 26.02.2009 21:30

Great review! My OH bought one of these over a month ago - and I haven't even been in it yet :(

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Ford present the Focus Zetec 1.6 5dr Hatchback with 5 Speed - (Man) / 4 Speed - (Auto), Front (FWD) running on Unle...

Product details

Body Type Hatchback
Fuel Type Petrol
Available Trims Ghia; LX; Style; Titanium; Zetec

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Listed on Ciao since 18/06/2000

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This review of Ford Focus 1.6 has been rated:

"exceptional" by (9%):

  1. azana

"very helpful" by (91%):

  1. readie25
  2. TheHairyGodmother
  3. Soho_Black

and 7 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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