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Old 03-20-2004, 04:51 PM   #1
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Decisions-New Purchase Questions

Bare with me folks, this could get long.

Greetings Focus Fanatics!
Just a quick intro, and I'll get to my dilemna.
For starters, the wife got her new '03 Escape 4X4 last year, so it's now my turn.
After over 300,000 trusty miles in my '85 Bronc, I think it's about time.
Plus, gas is killing me.

So, on to the questions:
I'm having a tough time deciding between a ZX3 or the SVT.
For starters, Montana roads are H E Double L on vehicles.
Wondering if that 3/4" less ground clearance is going to kill me.
You sure do get a lot more with the SVT, and frankly, at this stage of my life (cough cough...44 years old),
I can afford all the extras up front, so why not go with the SVT?

1) What's up with the highway gas mileage change from '03 (25) to '04 (28) SVT's?
Searched around here, and couldn't find much.
Dealer's a real big help......right.
I'm assuming it's just a computer change because I don't see any difference in final drive ratios.

2) Is there some "decontentment" between '03 and '04 models?
i.e. all the little items that keep getting deleted as model runs progress.
Escapes are notorious for this. No more underseat storage, cargo cover, etc etc.

3) I used to AutoCross a Mustang several years ago, and can see myself getting a new Focus involved in a few SCCA events around here.
However, if I get one with a sunroof, will that cause too many problems after several miles of "track flogging"?

4) How many of you regularly drive a Focus in the snow and ice?
As you can tell by my location, it gets a bit slick around here in the winter.
4 studs would be on order for winter driving, but how does the Focus compare to say...a...WRX?

Thanks for your time folks, and I'll hopefully be showing some pics of my new ride soon!
All those Ford incentives run out the end of this month.
(Dang, it's sure hard to find Sonic Blue SVT's...isn't it?)



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Old 03-20-2004, 05:01 PM   #2
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question #1:
i have no idea, i had not seen that. but i had not been looking

question #2:
i dont know of anything that has been removed from the car entirely (though its possible, i dont know) but the quality of some things has gone down. nothing major, just ford cutting costs. i dont know if there is any differance between the 03 and o4 models but there have been several changes between the 01 and the 03 models.

question #3:
i dont know, i dont have a sunroof

question #4:
i live in denver, CO. and since the only vehicle i own is my focus, i have done more snow driving then i would like to admit. the focus does pretty well in the snow. (atleast my sedan does) of course it slides if you slame on your brakes, but if you drive smart you should not have any problem. the only thing i have every had issues with is starting on hills, but that is only minor, and you can get around that. i think the wrx, is all wheel drive, isnt it? if it is, it should be alot better in the snow, but i dont know for sure.

my .o2:
before you buy your svt, you might want to think of the additional costs of owning one. they recommend a higher grade of gas, insurance is more, etc. if you can afford it, i would suggest going with the svt. i do not think the lower ground clearnce on the svt will be a very big deal. they are still pretty high off the ground. unless the "roads" in your area are really just a pair of ruts, you shouldnt have a problem. if you want to autocorss, i would suggest the svt, i think it has a better stock suspension then the zx3. plus the extra horsies.

sorry i couldnt not be more help.
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Old 03-20-2004, 05:06 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome! Wow 300k on a Bronco, that's impressive.... is it the original or the BroncoII?

Well I have a 2003 ZX3 so I can't give you any concrete info on the SVT but here's my opinions on some stuff you brought up:

I'm not sure ground clearance would be the deciding factor for me choosing from a SVT and a regular Focus... just not that big a difference ya know? I think the Focus has retained many of its features throughout the years, but like I said I have a newer one so I'm not real sure... though my aunt has a 2001 and they're virtually the same except hers is the wagon. I've also never autocrossed so I can't say anything useful in that category but several members are pretty active in that scene and I'm sure will be along to help ya out with that question.

As for snow, my Focus divides its time between Worcester, MA and Rhode Island which get rather snowy, though I'm sure not as bad as MT. I didn't ever have a problem except for a couple times I parked with the front wheels on solid ice and had a hard time getting out of the parking space the next day! Lesson learned, backed into the space after that! But being front wheel drive I think the Focus is pretty good in inclement weather. One thing I've noticed is that since it's a fairly light car you should be aware of that... but it's never felt unsafe and it handles quite well... better still with the SVT suspension, I'm sure.

Last note: if you want a nice quick car right out of the box, I'd say go SVT (and Sonic Blue is an excellent choice, my fav!). If you're more interested in modifying it yourself, which could potentially bring up warranty issues if things go wrong, then I'd say go with the 2.3L engine, it's peppy and just takes to mods wonderfully. Hope I've helped and not just rambled too bad... good luck with your decision!
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Old 03-20-2004, 05:12 PM   #4
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sorry, i forgot to add my opinion about the color.....

i would vote competition orange.

and you should definatly look into the euro appearnce package for the svt.
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Old 03-20-2004, 07:40 PM   #5
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SVT vs ZX3

Hey man, just figured I'd try and help you decide what to go with. So here's some suggestions and answers for/to your questions:
The difference in gas milage has to do with the SVT having VariableValveTiming, ie:VTECH and the different compression ratios. The closest way I can compare it to is the difference between a celica gt and a celica gts: The gt has 140 hp and the GTS has 180 hp, the only difference between the two motors is the VVT. Same 1.8 litres of displacement, just different internals... just like the difference between a SVT zetec and a ZX3 zetec. As for your winter driving, I have had plenty of experience with that as well, because I was stationed in CT on a submarine for 4 years. FWD cars are great for snow and ice. I can't tell you how many times I've driven past RWD cars and trucks sliding down icy hills. The disadvantage of an SVT in your climate situation is the Z rated tires... NOT good and the salt and ice will F*&K up your tires real quick. As for what made me switch between my zx3 and SVT, it all boils down to money. No matter how much money i dumped into the zx3, it still doesn't feel as solid or as capable to do the fun driving I enjoy. The SVT just feels "RIGHT" I had a kick a$$ suspension get up on my zx3(Eibach springs and sway bars, koni struts, focussport tie bars) and it doesn't compare to the SVT. I had a lot done to my motor as well, and i was still 15-20 hp shy of an SVT. So take all this for what you will, and regardless of your decision you'll love you focus
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Old 03-20-2004, 09:18 PM   #6
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personally, I think the milage difference is on paper only. seems some members here get better milage than rated. Ford might have upped the rating to lure more costumers. I know that my sedan is rated at 32 mpg highway, but I can pull off 35 mpg easy. My focus has traction control and abs. It is awesum in the snow. I left a 4x4 at the bottom of the hill on the last snow fall. my car just chugged on up. you can always change the tires for winter driving. I would go for the svt myself.. being nearly your age at 42 :)
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Old 03-20-2004, 11:39 PM   #7
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Hey, thanks for the suggestions so far.
Keep em comin'!
Been doing some more research, and it appears by the time I "option" out a ZX3 with everything I want,
it's not too far off from the SVT price.
Plus, we're still not talking SVT power plant or suspension.

Good to hear that the Focus does good in snow.
I've had a couple FWD vehicles (Lancias) in the days of old, so I do know the intricacies of driving in slippery conditions with them.
BTW, no salt around here, just Magnesium Chloride, albeit probably not that much better on the vehicle.
I'd most likely get some 15" or 16" dedicated winter wheels and studded tires.

Lil PZEV:
It's a full size Bronc' I currently drive. (see sig pic)
Still the original C6 tranny, t-case, and believe it or not, power steering pump.
Oh, the Escape and Bronc bold text in the first message are "clickable" links for your viewing pleasure.

vanace
Buckley. I'll be danged.
Lived in Enumclaw (Indian name for "place of the foul wind") for a few years in the late 70's early 80's.
Actually, both the wife and I were born and raised in the Puget Sound area, and as of 4-1/2 years ago now.....
"got out of dodge", and made the move to Helena, MT.
Frankly, we've never looked back.

Again, I appreciate all the responses folks!
Man, I can't wait to drive a manual tranny car again.
With all the work I've done to the Bronc' to make it more "trail capable", it's getting to be a PITA as a daily driver.
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Old 03-22-2004, 09:08 AM   #8
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Snow Driving:

I had a SE model with no ABS, this sucker was sliding all over the place.

Traded it in for my ZTS (Sedan) with ABS and Advance-Track (Sorta like vehicle skid control) and tried to spin it out on an empty ice/snow packed parking lot. What happened? Well that darn thing was very hard to spin out, took the sharp turns and wowed the hell our of me. In fact it performed better than my '01 Limited Toyota Sequoia.
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Old 03-22-2004, 11:37 AM   #9
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I can tell you first hand the WRX gets 10 times better traction I hate to admit it but sometimes if its bad out im scared to drive the SVT in the rain doesn't always get great traction with the WRX all rain allows me to do it get controlled drifts/slides it has amazing traction thanks to the awd you feel very in control

Don't get an orange or yellow SVT it will get old soon enough I got a black one If i had to pic again I would go with ethier black silver or blue
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Old 03-22-2004, 12:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
3) I used to AutoCross a Mustang several years ago, and can see myself getting a new Focus involved in a few SCCA events around here.
However, if I get one with a sunroof, will that cause too many problems after several miles of "track flogging"?
My old ZX3 had a manual sunroof. 1 year of autocrossing had no affect on the roof. However, I didn't like having that weight up there, so my new one doesn't have a sunroof.
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