Let me try to address several of the responses:
-Cars as 'investments'; my notion has always been to buy wisely, take care of a car, and hope for a decent tradein 5 years later...obviously, you're going to lose money on it, but the object is to minimize the loss
-Vehicles as 'appliances'; if you hold your car and your refrigerator in equal esteem (well, the fridge does keep my keg cold), you must not take much pleasure in driving, or else you really
like your appliances.
I have always loved my cars, especially after the POSs I drove in my youth. There are Sciroccos, a fulie CRX and a much-loved Wrangler in my resume.
-Criticism of CR/Carzines; let me say that I'm not a huge Consumer Reports fan, but have always found it a useful tool when car shopping, along with several of the car mags. I do try to do my homework before buying a car; it's just too damn much money, and you're stuck with it too long, to not have due diligence before the purchase. The amazing thing is the degree of correlation among all three on problem areas of the Focus; the transmission and the infotainment system are common threads here; the Carzines have had issues with the DCT and (despite some supporters here) you're hard pressed to find a kind word about MFT anywhere
. Whatever flaws there may be in everyone's methodology, when everyone has the same problems, chances are that they really are a problem.
-Why the black dot? The tranny/MFT excepted the rest of the marks were positive; the huge drop in the 'audio system' and the prevalence of problems in 'trans. minor' may have been enough.
CR opened the Good/Bad discussion by observing how good
Ford's ratings had been in the recent past (among the best with domestics) to problems across Ford's line recently.