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Old 09-10-2012, 02:20 AM   #1
TwinTalon
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So I'm looking to get a Focus. ZX3 or SVT?

My First of many posts, i'm sure:

So I just sold my gas-guzzling Tacoma, and I'm looking for something smaller and more efficient. I was initially committed to getting a Mazda Protege5, but then I realized that I never have more than one passenger, and whatever car I get next won't need to carry children, just me and the occasional passenger + cargo. So, not needing 4 doors, I start looking at what little hatches come in a 2 door and might be significantly more fuel efficient than my 17mpg Tacoma. It turns out the Focus is rated as having better mileage than the Protege5, which is a big plus. A friend has a Silver 03' ZX3, and he seems to really like it, so having done a fair bit of research at this point, the 01'-04' Focus is basically my choice for my next car. I'm definitely a performance enthusiast, and I have several sporty motorcycles, on which I'd spend at least half of my time, the car being used for when it's pouring/freezing, or carrying things/people, or when I just dont feel like gearing up. So, knowing that I value performance in my vehicles, but that I've got my performance needs pretty much covered with my bikes...

The Questions for you guys are as follows:

The SVT's sure are Sexy, but I'd bet the regular twin-cam ZX3 is a fine automobile. How do they compare reliability-wise? I can do all my own work, but I work and I'm a student, so I don't wanna Have to work on the car if I can help it, I'd kinda like it to just Work and not give me much trouble. So, as much as I like the SVT and would really enjoy owning one, if it requires extra attention beyond what a regular ZX3 would need, I'd like to know that ahead of time, and have an idea How Much extra attention it'd need. Is it a matter of a ZX3 needing a water pump(just an example) every 100K and the SVT needs one every 60K? Do the SVT's burn up clutches faster? I'm really ginger on my machines, so i'm not talking about abusing it, but I'd imagine the Performance edition is going to need more maintenance. So, any special concerns on maintenance and upkeep on an 02'-04' SVT versus a regular Zetec ZX3? I'm already concerned about tire prices versus the regular ZX3 (any thoughts on that specific issue would be appreciated also), but what about brake pads, clutches, bushings, head gaskets, etc? Again, I can do my own head gaskets and whatever else, but I don't wanna have to on any kind of "regular" basis.

Also, Mileage: Is there any real difference between the Zetec ZX3 and the SVT? I'm seeing that the ZX3's can average low 30's, and even reach mid-high 30's on the hwy. What are you ZX3 owners getting in the real world? Also, SVT owners, same question. What mileage are you getting with Average driving? Anything would be a huge improvement over my Tacoma, but since i've sold my beloved truck in the name of efficiency, i'd like to get primo bang for the buck on mileage.

Then there's insurance: I'm 30, so I'm out of the danger bracket, but if there's a significant difference between the two, that would be a factor in the decision.

And also wear items: my free time is limited, so i'd rather spend minimal time working on the car to keep it running. I wouldn't plan on any real mods to whatever I get, as the bikes already demand most of that money and time anyway, so whether it's a ZX3 or an SVT, it needs to work reliably pretty much stock. Sure, I may do a cold air intake, header, or other basic bolt-ons, but the car needs to be reliable before anything else.

Basically, my questions boil down to this: In terms of basic daily-driver-type use with an eye towards performance, is there any appreciable difference between an 01-04 ZX3 and an 01-04 SVT 2dr? Is the mileage about equal? Would maintenance be comparable? Could I get 200K mostly-trouble-free miles out of an SVT, or even a ZX3 for that matter?

Any help, info, or thoughts would be appreciated. I'm looking to move on a car soon, and any info gathered here would help the process.

Many Thanks,
Matt


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Old 09-10-2012, 10:53 AM   #2
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:14 AM   #3
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first off welcome to FF! you came to the right place. as far as i know there's not all that much of a difference in reliability between the two. as for gas mileage i usually get around 25 mpg in mine, but i pretty much never do any highway driving. that and i have a little bit of a lead foot lol. although i have gotten in the 30's when going on a long highway road trip. these two are not your only option though. you can also try to find an 03-04 hatch that came with the 2.3 duratec. they're a little harder to come by though.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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Mileage might be similar but the SVT requires 91 octane gas.

SVTF is already "tuned". The intake, header, and exhaust are already maxed out in terms of performance and are more than sufficient unless you plan to start serious modding. You'll get zero gains from replacing them.

About the only thing I would do if I bought an svtf would be to get a tune for it.

I have two non-svt Foci. The one with a manual transmission is quicker than the auto. I test drove an SVT when I was looking at buying my car, but settled on the ZTS for a number of reasons. I think you'll be happy with either car.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:55 AM   #5
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The cost of ownership will likely be higher with an SVT. For one, they don't do as well on gas, and the REQUIRE 91 octane gas. My SVT does seem to get better mileage than most, but I have a very gas-friendly daily commute. Here's my Fuelly link:


SVT's need to have the timing belt replaced every 80k or so miles, and clutches tend to last in the same range, give or take. SVT's have rear disc brakes, so brake jobs are simpler, but can be more costly in the long run. With owning an SVT, you may involuntarily spring for more performance oriented and costly parts, y'know, because racecar.

Insurance should only be slightly more with an SVT. You should be fine given your age and (hopefully) driving record.

In terms of finding a used Focus, an SVT more likely to have been beat on, while a ZX3 is more likely to have been neglected. In either case, the prior care of the car will be apparent, and there are plenty of good examples of each on the market. With an SVT, the timing belt and clutch replacement can be negotiation points depending on mileage. A big reason I bought my SVT was that they were both done before I bought it.

If you value fun, performance, creature comforts (leather, available heated seats, HID's, etc.), and exclusivity, I'd say get the SVT. If you're more concerned about fuel economy and cost of ownership, I'd say get a ZX3. That said, a 5 speed 2.3L hatch gives you a good mix of both worlds, but they are rare.

And of course with any car-buying process, drive both!!
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:19 PM   #6
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Also the SVT engine has built in Oil Squirters while the Zx3 does not. Huge difference in apperance, exterior, interior, suspension, and wheels..

Honestly get the SVT.. if you buy a zx3 eventually youll see yourself putting svt parts on it..
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouBomb View Post
Also the SVT engine has built in Oil Squirters while the Zx3 does not. Huge difference in apperance, exterior, interior, suspension, and wheels..

Honestly get the SVT.. if you buy a zx3 eventually youll see yourself putting svt parts on it..
I wanted an SVT but I'll tell you that I really liked not having to pay for premium gas as a broke college student.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:19 PM   #8
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I've been putting only Premium in my Tacoma for over 5 years. When everyone started complaining about $4/gallon, I was thinkin "I've been paying over $4/gallon for a While now..."

Basically, anything that doesn't require premium and averages better than 24mpg would be a HUGE improvement. That being said, i'm also a broke college student, so 30mpg at 87-octane prices would be a relevation.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinTalon View Post
I've been putting only Premium in my Tacoma for over 5 years. When everyone started complaining about $4/gallon, I was thinkin "I've been paying over $4/gallon for a While now..."

Basically, anything that doesn't require premium and averages better than 24mpg would be a HUGE improvement. That being said, i'm also a broke college student, so 30mpg at 87-octane prices would be a relevation.
Sounding more and more to me like you are learning towards a zx3. For the money you'd pay for an SVT you can get a zx3 with lower miles and in better condition.

From a purely economical perspective the Zx3 would be a better car for you. SVT is going to be a higher initial investment, plus higher fuel prices.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinTalon View Post
I've been putting only Premium in my Tacoma for over 5 years. When everyone started complaining about $4/gallon, I was thinkin "I've been paying over $4/gallon for a While now..."

Basically, anything that doesn't require premium and averages better than 24mpg would be a HUGE improvement. That being said, i'm also a broke college student, so 30mpg at 87-octane prices would be a relevation.
i would say with this statement that you should find yourself a nice 00-04 zetec or the rare 2.3 duratec if you can. but my question to you is why only 00-04, they made hatches 05-07 with a 2.0 duratec
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