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Old 08-08-2015, 10:16 PM   #1
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driving impressions MKIII

On a trip to S. Calif, I purchased a MKIII Focus to replace the rental I was driving. After driving some 13K+ miles on my MK3, certain impressions came to mind especially in comparison to my MK1 (04 Focus zx3, 2.3, 5 speed, comfort plus plus trim).

1) Little doubt that the MK3 is far safer than my (former) MK1. Side and curtain air bags, ABS, traction control are now standard (my MK3 has the leather decor option w/ 17" wheels and rear disc brakes) and it feels "heavier" when driving.

2) Fuel economy is better on the highway with the MK3, vs MK1. Going back and forth to SF to LA and back, it is possible to just touch 39 mpg with the cruise set at 65 on I-5. My MK1, might on a good day just might touch 34 mpg.

3) Front seat comfort is is a huge improvement with the power driver seat and lumbar adjustment makes a long trip is in this vehicle much less of a chore than my old MK1 (which also had leather seats).

4) Interior trim is also a huge improvement over the MK1; soft touch materials, better quality materials, including the door panels make for a more upmarket feel for the interior.

That's the good points for MKIII.... now the bad:

1) City mpg is actually lower; in fact, I get 2 mpg less in SF in city driving than my MK1.

2) The car is a slug; despite the fact that the MK3 has 20 BHP more than my old MK1, is reluctant to accelerate and labors to get the rev's up. It may or may not have something to do with either the torque curve of the engine or the transmission gearing or both. I'm not sure but after 13k of drivng it hasn't got any better. (Both vehicles are standard shift)

3) It's noisier inside than it ought to be;( my MK1 slightly modified with a under hood noise blanket from a 2002 ZTS, and inside front fenders undercoated is/was quieter) was quite loud on certain road surfaces. I thought all of these (MK3) were like this, till I drove a 2015 SE 5 speed and it was much quieter. (2015 was equipped with Cooper RS3A 17", I had Continental ContiPro Contacts in 17") Replaced tires with MXM4, Michelin, 95v and the car rides better and is almost as quiet as my slightly modified MK1.

4) Ride is harsh over small surface imperfections; ride, noise and handling improved with tire switch to Michelin MXM4's. Still slightly harsher than expected.

5) Handling is a pig; to be fair my MK1, has had 3 complete sets of struts and shocks (repl every 50k and is on its second set of coil springs (repl every 100K)--uses SVT stock springs with Monroe Spectrum shocks/struts and milage maker Pirelli P6 LRR tires in 205/50r16 ). Car feels heavy, rolls too much, slow to respond to steering. Handling did improve with replacement to Michelin MXM4 tires. BTW- my Continentals weren't worn out, just couldn't stand the ride or noise. Will install aftermarket anti roll bars when the vehicle goes out of warranty, this should improve the handling....

6) The Sync is somewhat problem prone; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I've given up on it and that keeps me sane. I understand that the 2016 models will have a new system that is simpler and more reliable.

7) Finding the cause of a noise is like finding the winning numbers to the Mega Millions. Got a poping noise that comes and goes, but of course, when someone goes looking for it, its not there to be found.


Any way, these are my impressions of my MK3. What are your experiences with your MK3....


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Old 08-10-2015, 10:18 AM   #2
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I own a Mk1 and an Mk3 (see sig), and I agree with all of your "good" points. I am going to reply to your points below directly in red. Note that my Mk1 is a Zetec, which is not as powerful as your 2.3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a car nut View Post
That's the good points for MKIII.... now the bad:

1) City mpg is actually lower; in fact, I get 2 mpg less in SF in city driving than my MK1.

My 2012 mileage is much better both highway and in town than with my ZX3 with old tech Zetec. It stands to reason that your Mk1 might get better fuel mileage in town, because of the slightly better power/weight ratio. Mk1=151hp/2600lb=.0581hp/lb Mk3=160hp/2900lb=0.0551hp/lb

2) The car is a slug; despite the fact that the MK3 has 20 BHP more than my old MK1, is reluctant to accelerate and labors to get the rev's up. It may or may not have something to do with either the torque curve of the engine or the transmission gearing or both. I'm not sure but after 13k of driving it hasn't got any better. (Both vehicles are standard shift)

Again, the power to weight ratio is better with your Mk1, and the DI engine is one that loves to be revved, and doesn't really begin to make good power until 3.5K RPM and higher. The lighter weight of the Mk1, even with the Zetec, makes my Mk1 feel much quicker off the line than the Mk3, but the Mk3 is actually quicker to 60 mph. The Zetec's low-end grunt makes it feel quicker, but it actually isn't. I would advise that if you want fast launches in the Mk3, you need to turn traction control off, and use 93 octane fuel.

3) It's noisier inside than it ought to be;( my MK1 slightly modified with a under hood noise blanket from a 2002 ZTS, and inside front fenders undercoated is/was quieter) was quite loud on certain road surfaces. I thought all of these (MK3) were like this, till I drove a 2015 SE 5 speed and it was much quieter. (2015 was equipped with Cooper RS3A 17", I had Continental ContiPro Contacts in 17") Replaced tires with MXM4, Michelin, 95v and the car rides better and is almost as quiet as my slightly modified MK1.

My Mk3 is much quieter than my Mk1. You might want to check your door alignment on your Mk3. I doubt the difference is all in the tires, but it could be.

4) Ride is harsh over small surface imperfections; ride, noise and handling improved with tire switch to Michelin MXM4's. Still slightly harsher than expected.

I find that it's very well damped, even in comparison to the SVT suspension (springs, dampers, sway bars) on my ZX3. Strong damping tends to emphasize surface imperfections.

5) Handling is a pig; to be fair my MK1, has had 3 complete sets of struts and shocks (repl every 50k and is on its second set of coil springs (repl every 100K)--uses SVT stock springs with Monroe Spectrum shocks/struts and milage maker Pirelli P6 LRR tires in 205/50r16 ). Car feels heavy, rolls too much, slow to respond to steering. Handling did improve with replacement to Michelin MXM4 tires. BTW- my Continentals weren't worn out, just couldn't stand the ride or noise. Will install aftermarket anti roll bars when the vehicle goes out of warranty, this should improve the handling....

A pig? I certainly would not say that. My Mk3 has crisp turn-in and does not have excessive body roll. Actually, due to the more upright seating position and thus "head toss" of the Mk1, to me if feels like the Mk1 has more body roll. The Mk3 does feel heavier than the Mk1--because it is, but my stock Mk3 SE sport suspension with Steeda RSB handles very comparatively to my ZX3 w/SVT suspension. The steering in the Mk1 gives much more feedback than the fairly "numb" steering of the Mk3, but that is to be expected with hydraulic vs. electric steering. I have Hankook all-season perfomance tires on both my Foci, Ventus V2 Concept 2 on the Mk1, Ventus S1 Noble 2 on the Mk3.

6) The Sync is somewhat problem prone; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I've given up on it and that keeps me sane. I understand that the 2016 models will have a new system that is simpler and more reliable.

Mine is very reliable, but I tend to just use a usb stick filled with well-tagged mp3s and use voice commands. It's more problem-prone on the rare occasions when I use mobile apps.

7) Finding the cause of a noise is like finding the winning numbers to the Mega Millions. Got a poping noise that comes and goes, but of course, when someone goes looking for it, its not there to be found.

I've been able to quell all the interior rattles that I've had, but those are the only noises I've experienced. There is a very long thread on here about from suspension clunks and pops that you might want to peruse if you haven't.

Any way, these are my impressions of my MK3. What are your experiences with your MK3....
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TboneZX3 View Post
... There is a very long thread on here about from suspension clunks and pops that you might want to peruse if you haven't. ...
A very, very long thread:

Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum > Ford Focus Third Generation > MK3 TSB, Recall & Problems Archive > 2012 Titanium Front Strut Low Speed Noise (Clunk/Rattle)

The quote in this comment is a good summary of the thread.

The rear motor mount can also cause some clunking sounds.
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Old 08-10-2015, 11:23 PM   #4
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I think the MK3 handles pretty good but maybe a tire upgrade is needed. Acceleration is spot on for a 2900lb car with 160bhp and 15.8ish in the 1/4 isn't too sluggy.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:51 PM   #5
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Appreciate the responses; my MK3 is totally stock so that maybe part of the difference between these vehicles and mine. I also managed to put the SVT stock exhaust system modified to fit the 2.3 and it had a quiet sound compared to most of the aftermarket systems, plus a very slight improvement in fuel economy. Glad your vehicle performs well for you, after mine is out of warranty I will make some slight modifications on it.

Last edited by a car nut; 08-11-2015 at 10:53 PM. Reason: poor typing....
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:54 AM   #6
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After reading your impressions, I think the first modifications I would recommend to you are a stiffer rear motor mount and rear sway bar. Both give very good results for the price and go a long way towards tightening up the feel of the chassis. There is also a post here showing uprated & improved front suspension/chassis parts from the ST that might help eliminate the suspension pop you mention.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:37 AM   #7
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I like this post. Is not biased to the fact that the MkIII sucks but rather, this is a nice comparison of old vs. new and likes and dislikes.

I also like TboneZX3's post with helpful info.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I like this post. Is not biased to the fact that the MkIII sucks
I would say that's an opinion, not a fact.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TboneZX3 View Post
I would say that's an opinion, not a fact.
Yup, preferences...

Reminds me of the SVT vs. ST thread in the ST section - pluses, minuses of each & preferences.
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I would say that's an opinion, not a fact.
yeah you would be correct it is definitely opinion. I actually would fall into the category that thinks its fact either.
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