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Old 09-05-2013, 06:47 PM   #1
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ZX3 for first car?

Hey guys new member here. Im John and Im 16 (will be 17 in Feb.) I am currently saving for my first car and will be buying it around December or January. Im looking at 2000-2003 Focus ZX3's because I like the styling and the MPG's. Im looking to spend $3000 or under. Would this be a good first car? Also, I hate driving cars that feel really underpowered, will this car feel like that at all or will it have some get up and go? Thanks!


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Old 09-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #2
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Yes, zx3s have some git up and go with a 5 speed... Can't talk for the slushbox, but the manuals are quite peppy, plus there are a TON of good aftermarket upgrades. Rather reliable, still have a few issues that you may want to look into, the thermostat housing and distributer coil will probably be needed to be replaced in the future and if the around 120k the timing belt needs done with spark plugs, but other then that it's a great car! I bought my at 17 as my first at 109k and 3 years later it's still running strong
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:06 PM   #3
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^ Agreed with above.

The zetec motors are reliable, and they will have enough power even in stock form to keep you entertained. A 5 speed is probably recommended (if you know or want to learn how to drive a manual), and generally manual transmission vehicles are a little bit cheaper. Although I've driven many different automatic foci and they aren't terrible, but with a 5 speed you gain a bit of response and power, and even a bit of reliability if you don't beat on it.

There's a decent aftermarket for those motors, but I would just invest your money into maintenance items. Maybe SVT suspension for the handling department and a few performance odds and ends if you have to, but if you maintain the car properly you'll have an excellent vehicle that will get you all the way through college as well

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Old 09-06-2013, 10:41 AM   #4
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2000 sedan was (read is) my first car, and I love it. it is an SPI, but I agree that the 5 speed waked everything up. I prefer mine over a friend with a zetec auto. I was looking at the zx3's hoping to get one, but ended up with the sedan gifted from my grandma, so no complaints. just make sure all the maintinence is done. you should be able to get a decent one with around 120k for under 3000 easy.
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Old 09-06-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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The Zetec manuals are quick enough to have some fun.
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:01 PM   #6
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ZETECH POWAH! I love mine. The 5-speed is great and the mileage is crazy compareed to my last car (Mustang). The ZX3's really have some acceleration to them as well. For a four-cylinder, these cars do wonders.
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Old 09-06-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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I agree with the others. Zetec + 5-speed manual = FUN. My 2001 is still easily as fun as my 2012 to drive, for different reasons. It's a "driver's" car, gets good gas mileage, and is easy to work on, which makes it the perfect first car, IMO.
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Old 09-06-2013, 05:19 PM   #8
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I had a lot of fun with my 2006 ZX3 with a 5spd, served me well for almost four years, and the person who bought it off me is still driving it.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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My 01 ZX3 was my first "new" car but not my first car.

I do have to say it is a decent car for a first car. Enough power to move it and have fun doing so but not so much a "new driver" will not be able to handle.

I have owned my now over 12 years and have only added cat back and throttle body to the motor and it has plenty of power for me. It's not a fast car but is quick and fun to drive on twisty roads (I also added SVT suspension).

I am as happy with the car now as I was when I first bought it.
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