2005-07 more reliable than 2000-04
So my brother says he is getting tired of all the problems with his vw rides and I'm telling him he should get a focus [drummer] Is it true that the Mk 1.5 foci following the general trend of a model being more reliable after the kinks have been worked out?
well the 05-07 are newer and you should have a better chance of finding one in better shape.
The only real issue I've had in the past 5 years with my '07 was the alternator going (same for my sister who also has an 07) Other than that, just normal maintenance related to wear/miles. The motor has been strong and issue free for me.
If he can find a 03-04 zx3 with a 2.3 duratec, 05-07 st, or a good condition svt; I'd go for one of those. I'd take a lower mile 1.5gen vs the same mile 1st gen. The zetec's from the 1 gens are still good motors but stay away from the spi's.
I've got a 03 ZX3 2.3 standard. bot it with 9k, now has 137k. Best and most fun car I ever had (I've had many-66 GTO, couple triumphs, 4 Z cars, Dodge charger shelby turbo, Eaglt Talon awd turbo (many turbos)
I've replaced the radio, front brake pads (rotors really should be replaced) Sway bar links 4 times (thanks AZ), and now the pass side motor mount needs replacement
I get 30 mpg summer, down to 28 winter, Just replaced the original battery, after 9 winters in Mass.
Be tough to find an earlier one with decent mileage, though
I had a 2003 se spi and I had to put 2.5k on it for repairs after a single year of owning... ouf
Now I have a 2005 zx5 SES with 45k on it and I love the car ! Only had to change the motor mount and a ketch. Other than that, tune up..battery, spark plugs, mods, etc.. The engine is durable and stronger than the SPI or Zetec. The zetec is a great engine to ! I like more the front style of the 1.5 gen hatch.
Having owned an 02 zx3 that was replaced by an 07 zx3, I can say that the 05-07 are more reliable than their predecessors. That being said, any focus just isn't a focus without its quirks.
With the 02, there were a lot of kooky little issues - the ignition switch jamming, the underhood wiring harness igniting and causing the battery to explode (this killed the car at 72k miles in 07), and having a fair number of steering rack issues. (leaking, losing power assist, etc.) I loved the car, just felt that I got a bad example of the breed. (I did buy it in early 04 with 23k miles on it. When it died in 07, I bought another focus in the hopes that maybe it would be different this time. Mine had sat on the lot for six months when I bought it, and the problems were plentiful and stupid. The first year was absolute hell, then again, I had racked up nearly 50k miles within 18 months of buying the car - so that *may* have had something to do with it.
There's the whole hard start issue on manual transmission 05-07 foci. (Have been dealing with this since day one on the 07 - the software updates have done nothing) The alternator and battery gave out early on, was replaced under warranty (alternator) while I had to pay for the battery in 2008 with 35k on the clock. Nearly five years later, that battery and alternator are going strong and still testing as good with 98.5k on the clock. Mine has been in a few wrecks - so there have been some electrical gremlins that popped up as a result. The 5/100 bumper to bumper warranty saved my bacon when the body wiring harness released the smoke in the summer of 2011 with 68k on the clock. (would have been a $6500 repair, I got off easy with only having to pay the $100 deductible) The car has been pretty solid and dependable, repairing it is amazingly straightforward, and I would do it again. The combination of sporty feel, fuel economy, and sheer utility of the hatchback body style have earned my loyalty to these quirky little cars.
Of course, I have put a fair amount of miles on mine, used it for everything from pizza delivery (a job during the first period of unemployment in 08) to field service IT tech duty (averaged 2-3k miles a week) to commuting 50 miles a day to school, then work, and then doing salvage yard runs with it.
I'd recommend any 05-07 focus that has no signs of accident damage. The biggest issues I've had were due to accident damage that was overlooked during the repair process only to manifest itself a year later.
Tell your brother he is blasphemous and I will not stand for it!
Rule of thumb,
All cars break (VW's more than others).
Everything, and I mean everything, will boil down to maintenance when looking for used.
There are few early Foci that have had proper suspension repairs done, bushings, tie-rods, ball joints, bearings. Expect to repair them or ware tires fast and uneven. (apparently cutting a tires life in half is cheaper than fixing problems)
With the later ones, you will have the same suspension issues. The difference will be the age of the rubber. But miles can quickly take up the gap as well as geography.
Engine wise, both the duratec and zetec are reliable. It's the parts around them that give issue. If people listen and use Motorcraft replacement parts, they replace them less often and have fewer problems (this has been proven over and over, alternators).
Replacement parts are about the same for both engines.
I guess the duratec is better in that it is chain driven vs the zetec's belt. Less maintenance required,,, which people take to mean no maintenance. The guides do ware and should at minimum be checked near 100,000 miles, no one does.
If it were me, just look for a well maintained, clean, rust free car and call that enough.
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