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Old 11-27-2003, 05:48 PM   #1
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Post Prospective Buyer: Basic Newb Questions

Hey everyone! Looking into getting a 2K3-2K4 ZX3 5spd Manual Comfort or Premium. Local Dealer sticker prices range from 15,000 - 18,000. I can only pay 12,000 max and that includes extra charges like tax, papers, etc. Current incentives gives me $3,000 cash back so I think I can pull it off.

1. Do you guys think I can get that kind of price? or will I need to look at an earlier year? I don't want to go to early b/c the 2K and 2K1 models had a lot of problems.

2. Can anyone give me the pros and cons of their Foci? I need an honest/unbiased opinion please.

:: Second Row Of Questions ::

3. Out of the ZX3s (not the SVT), what years and trims had the Zetec engine in it? Can't afford SVT.

4. What is the dif. between the SPI and the Zetec?

I know that's a lot of questions, and I wasn't exactly sure where to post. Thankyou for any help you can give.

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Old 11-27-2003, 06:25 PM   #2
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I can't really tell you about your first set of questions, I got a really good deal on my '03 (closeout). As for the Zetec, it comes standard in all ZX3 / ZX5 models. Depending on the state that you live in, some 03's could have the 2.3 duratech, and it is an option on the 04's. The SPI stands for split port injection, and is a less powerfull engine, with less aftermarket support.

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Old 11-27-2003, 06:37 PM   #3
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This is the time of year to wheel and deal, try a few local ford dealerships and tell them the truth and see what they can do for you, and go with the one that seems honest and fair, not always the cheapest, but usually! You should be able to get close to that price, also, look at " leftover" 03's. The zetec motor ( or the new pzev) is the only way to go, the split-port is fine , but for modding the zetec has a much better aftermarket, ask your salesman, or just pop the hood, it will say which one it is right on the valve cover. Also, the zetec make smor e power than the split-port
Speed is only a matter of money; how fast do you want to go?
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Old 11-27-2003, 07:34 PM   #4
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I was pretty much in your same situation.. Along with the $3,000 in rebates, I was able to get a $1,300 "Green State" discount [I got the PZEV ZX3]. I also got the 5spd. Comfort Package.. for 11,6 w/ $500 trade in. So it's very possible. I would recommend the PZEV [or 2.3 Duratec, or Duratec 23E, or *whatever* they're calling it now] over the stock motor.

As far as likes and dislikes: I love this car to death. It had some seriously big shoes to fill when I decided to replace my Prelude with it. The Comfort trim level is great, MP3 player, fogs, tilt/telescopic wheel, cruise, air, etc., and the PZEV puts ample power to the ground. You also get the Premium 5-spoke 16" alloys w/ Perelli P6 FourSeasons [205/50/HR16] - the only complaint people had about those tire on tireRack was that the sidewall was "too soft" - which I disagree with. Handling: well, it was designed by Ford Europe, enough said.. Even though I feel somewhat high up in the air, the car stays planted and responsive through the twistier bits.

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Old 11-28-2003, 04:02 AM   #5
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Hey thanks everyone. I'm glad to hear that someone else has been able to get the same kind of prices I'm looking for. It's also good to know about the Zetec, Thanks. I had a few more questions to add on though:

1. Where are the ZX3's made? I know they came out in Europe around 97', but wasn't sure if the parts were made there or by whom they were made?

2. Current incentives end for the 03' on Janruary 2nd, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get as good of a deal if not better afterwards. I don't necesarily need a car till next Spring so I don't know wether to wait and save or go for it now?

I know that last question may be a hard one, but I'm new to the car buying market and don't have any experience in dealing with Dealerships. Thank you agian. If anyone else has some advice or input please let me know. Thank you
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Old 11-28-2003, 04:06 AM   #6
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1. The ZX3's are assembled in Mexico.
2. Normally this is a great time to buy since the dealers are trying to get rid of their '03 inventory. Check online at to see how much dealers are charging for your car.

Buying tips:

1. Use the Internet. The Internet is an amazing tool for car shopping. It levels the playing field by giving accurate information to the consumer. It takes the anxiety out of negotiating. It forces dealers to slice profit because they must beg for your business. It allows consumers to comparison shop loans and leases, as well as extended warranties and insurance. It gives the consumer power. Use to conduct research and our PowerShopper tool to solicit bids. Once you enter the information about the car you are looking for into the PowerShopper interface, the dealers will come to you.

It's likely that you will have to visit a car lot at some point in the car buying process (for the test drive, for example). The following recommendations are general tips that will help you if you insist on face-to-face negotiations with car salespeople when buying a new vehicle.

2. Don't be in a hurry. This is a tough one because many people live busy lives with tight schedules. Their car breaks down and they have to do something about it this weekend, or on their day off, or at night. They might be overwhelmed by the problem and just throw themselves at the mercy of the car salesperson. Big mistake.

First, if your current car is on its last legs, consider sinking a little money into repairs so you don't have to make a panicked move at the car dealership. Yes, it's tempting to think of getting a new car and leaving the old heap behind. But caving in to this kind of impulse will cost you money.

If you can't fix up your old car, rent a car for a week. And make sure you rent the kind of car you are thinking of buying. There is no better way to test drive a car than to live with it for several days, using it for your daily commute or your typical errands. I guarantee you will learn something significant about the car that will help you make your final decision.

3. Walk away from any deal/salesperson you don't like. If you aren't committed to this rule you will lose money. Car salespeople know that if you leave the car lot to "think it over" you might decide not to buy their car. So they pressure you to "buy today." This isn't good for you. It means you might buy the wrong car. It means you might agree to financing that doesn't fit your budget. It means you will probably pay too much.

If you have serious misgivings about the deal you are making, walk away. Similarly, walk away from any salesperson who seems too aggressive, overbearing, bullying, evasive or unreliable. There are plenty of good salespeople out there. Find one. And deal with that person until you have the car you want, at the best price with the right financing for you.

4. Know the numbers. Yes, we already covered this under the heading of general concepts. Now let's look at it in a little more detail.

When you visit a dealership, and go into the sales room, the salesman will reach for a 4-square worksheet. They do this to keep track of the numbers in the deal that will affect their profit. Don't you think that if the pros do this, you should do the same thing to protect your money? If you don't, how else will you know what to pay for the car? What to take for the trade-in? What your monthly payment should be?

Using, find out what the invoice, sticker and True Market Value® (TMV) prices are for the car you want to buy. TMV® is a new concept developed by It's a guide that provides you updated weekly pricing on what you should pay for a vehicle — without having to spend hours negotiating with a dealer.

Write these prices down. Then find the approximate price of your trade-in. Then figure out how much money you will have to borrow and how much your monthly payment should be. Consider the difference between paying cash, leasing and financing. Make sure you also find out about holdbacks, rebates and incentives.

Is your head swimming with numbers now? That's pretty normal (unless you're some kind of math whiz). That's why you should write all this down. Then, with the numbers in front of you, get out your calculator and crunch them. When they have been put through the wringer, you will get one gleaming, shiny number which represents what you should pay for the vehicle you want to buy. With that number in mind, set a range. Start low and increase your offer in small increments until they say the magic words, "We've got a deal."

5. Shop around. Say for a second you didn't know any of the numbers. Say you were in a jam and had one morning to get a new car. You could probably get a good deal by shopping around. You can do this in person or on the phone — or even with e-mail.

What you do is this. Contact dealer number one. Tell the salesperson, "I'm ready to buy today but I want your best price on the car." When the salesperson gives you his best price, write it down. Or, if you are doing this in person, have him write it on the back of their business card.

Now contact dealer number two and do the same thing. Only, tell them you have already been to dealer number one and you got such and such price. Then, repeat the mantra: "I'm ready to buy today. But I want your best price." Naturally, they will try to undercut the first guy's offer.

Now contact dealer number three and do the same thing. By now you should have three offers. If you want, you can even go back to the first guy and see if he will whittle a few more bucks off his offer. If not, can the dealer throw in something else to make their offer more attractive?

The beauty of this is that the market will define itself in a short period of time. And when you're done, you will be confident that you got the best price possible. Incidentally, dealers hate it when you shop their offer. They hate it because it can get you a very good price.

6. The deal's not done until you drive off in your new car. You don't have to be a jerk about it, but you should be on guard throughout the entire car buying process. The biggest place that people err is when they have struck a deal with the salesperson. They breathe a sigh of relief and think the dealing is done. But the buyer needs to stay alert for the F&I process. Extra charges can appear in the contract. There may be a problem with the condition of the car. All these things can be addressed if you have the right attitude. If anything crops up during the F&I process that doesn't jibe with your numbers you can still walk away from the deal.

7. Always remember that it's your money. Car salespeople are good at making us feel obligated to buy from them. They serve us sodas in the sales room. They run to get the keys for the test drive. They brave their bosses wrath with our lowball offer. So, when it comes time to make a decision we're tempted to think we owe it to the salesperson to buy from them. Yes, we certainly do owe them our business — if the deal is fair. Don't do it just for the salesperson. Do it when the numbers make sense. After all, you may be signing a contract you will have to honor each month with your hard-earned money. How will you feel about it as the years roll by and the car begins to show its age. Thinking about that can be like a bucket of ice-cold water in the face.

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Old 11-28-2003, 02:00 PM   #7
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WOW! Thanks for all the advice hotfocus. I guess now probably is the best time to go in since their having such a good deal.
1. The ZX3's are assembled in Mexico.
Is that necesarily bad thing? I wouldn't think it would be a good thing, but maybe I'm mistaken. I mean everyone here loves their car? Should I be worried???
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Old 11-29-2003, 07:38 PM   #8
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No, it's not a bad thing. I'm sure hotfocus is just stating that they ZX3 is made in Mexico. Why does everyone think it is a bad thing when someone mentions the ZX3 being made in Mexico? It's stupid.
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Old 11-30-2003, 01:38 AM   #9
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It's just that Mexico isn't exactly known for making cars, or at least I had never heard of any. I didn't mean to sound rude.

Another Very Important deciding factor for me:

1. Is it true that these cars get recalled excessively? Please give me an honest opinion.

This is going to be my only means of transportation for a long time and I need something very dependable. I can't afford to go without my car for a (few) day(s) ever so often because it's been recalled.

Thank you agian for all your patience. I'm very new at this.
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Old 11-30-2003, 01:55 AM   #10
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There was alot of recalls on the 00-01 but i dont beleive there has really been any since them years.
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