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Old 07-20-2013, 11:38 AM   #1
dboytim
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Questions before buying a 2011

Myself: Currently drive a 2001 Prizm that's dying (massive oil burning, common for that car). Drive 70 miles a day (highway) to work. 6'3", so need some legroom. Have 3 young kids and wife, but also a minivan, so the kids will only need to ride in my car occasionally and almost never all 3 of them.

Local dealer just got in a used 2011 Focus SE. 39k miles, asking price of 11k which I hope I can get down to around 10.

Drove it today, before they'd even cleaned it up. Pretty dirty inside, but that's fixable if they do a nice job. Carfax shows clear, but autocheck showed one accident, minor damage. I actually found the police report. The focus was in a turn lane, stopped at a light, and someone changed lanes into him at ~5mph. Report said damage all along the right side, but when I looked at the car I only saw damage in the back right area. There were some gouges in the side (of the bumper, where it wraps around to the side), the panel behind the rear wheel was a little loose at the wheel well, and the black piece behind the rear door's window was falling off.

I'm waiting now to see how they fix it up - from what I could see it looked like minor damage, basically all to the panels, but I don't know if they'll fix it right or just do a crappy job.

Other than needing fixed/cleaned, the car seemed great. Ran well (I'm not a mechanic or anything, but I didn't notice any issues).

Anything I should be looking for when I look at the car again in a couple days? Any particular damage-related things? Any other potential issues to check for before buying?

Right now this car is actually the leader in my hunt. Second is a 2010 corolla with 75k miles, for around $9900. Either would do fine for my needs, but I liked the lower mileage of the focus and liked the drive in it a bit better.

Oh, the one thing I DIDN'T like was the headrest. It doesn't tilt at all, right? Just up and down? Seemed to be hard and poking me in the back of the head. Not that I rest my head while driving, but still, it wasn't comfortable.


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Old 07-20-2013, 05:46 PM   #2
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the 2008-2011 Focus is very reliable i have an 08 and have had one issue. end links were in the front suspension needed to be replaced cost was 125. Focus tend to wear tires at 40k or so, please ensure your tread is good. the 2011 Focus is the toyota corolla of USA. Safe, reliable and cheap to fix. Millions built and perfected technology at the level of 2000-2011 model years. the headrest issue cannot be resolved. if you dont like it now, you will hate it later. it is a solid car that will late 120k easy, but you should feel comfortable in it and that is my concern for you. i also am concerned that the car is filthy. it may never be cleaned sufficiently due to mold and mildew. the focus is a great car , i should know i have had a 2000 my and a 2008 my and have driven only a fofo since dec 1999. good luck with your choice. let us know what you got!

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Old 07-20-2013, 06:33 PM   #3
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The focus drives & handles better then a Corolla. 11,000 is pretty heavy, even 10,000. Yeah it has 39,000 on it. Take it to a body shop & see what they say= price wise. If it didn't have damage, maybe 9000. plus T&L. You have to think about the tax & Lic. too, plus your interest rate if its not a cash deal.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:00 PM   #4
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depending on where you are an se can command 13k according to kbb. but the used car market is strong which is why the prices are up but dont let that excuse keep you from getting a deal or paying the true value.

damage is damage and a dealer will not fix it properly so its good that you got to see it before they applied their "fix". use the damage to your advantage when negotiating.

these are simple cars and can be fixed correctly on a dime if youre willing to invest the time. no special tools needed.

dont be afraid to exploit the car when testing it. this is how you will weed out any problems not noticeable on an around the block drive. change lanes quick and step on it.

now im not sure what became standard in '11 but as i remember abs with traction was optional and stability too. also highly desirable was the handling package w/ stabilizer bar. there was also a drivers package with info center instant economy, avg mpg, range.... the car came standard with a/c, tpms, cd, and 6 bags... also available were pwr windows, locks, sunroof, upgraded stereo, leather, htd mirrors, htd seats, color led interior, SYNC, compass w/outside temp. i hear the latter became integrated into the radio display instead of the rearview mirror
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:01 PM   #5
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Ditto on the suspension and tires. check the tires for even wear and that they have ALOT of tread left, or you will be buying new ones soon. Every car has its quirks. End links are it for the Focus.

If your just looking for a daily driver, that's great on gas... Focus is perfect. I don't think its great riding or handling, but I have been in worse. Cant beat the MPG!!!!
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felixthecat View Post
The focus drives & handles better then a Corolla. 11,000 is pretty heavy, even 10,000. Yeah it has 39,000 on it. Take it to a body shop & see what they say= price wise. If it didn't have damage, maybe 9000. plus T&L. You have to think about the tax & Lic. too, plus your interest rate if its not a cash deal.
Wow, you could get a 2011 focus for under 10k? KBB value here for a private sale on this car is $10-12, depending on condition. I've been watching local dealer listings and craigs and other such sites for private sales and prices seem pretty in line with that. If I could get it to $10k I think that's a decent price here (yep, before tax/license of course. And it'd be cash).

As for the condition, I wish I'd thought to take a bunch opf photos today before they worked on it. The inside looked like most cars other than what looked like maybe a coffee spill on the front passenger seat. I've got 3 little ones and am pretty hard on interiors myself, so the condition inside didn't really scare me. I've seen what the rest of the used cars at this dealer look like and I'd be very happy if it turned out looking like that.

My plan now is to go check it out again maybe Monday afternoon, then take it to my usual shop if it looks ok to me and have a pro check it over.
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Old 07-20-2013, 07:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tips - this one seemed fairly loaded - definitely had cruise, power mirrors/windows/locks. Bluetooth, info, compass, autodim rearview mirror, etc. No sunroof, nav or leather/power seats (don't want either, so that's perfect for me).

I did push it pretty hard in my test drive - full AC on, heavy accel, etc. Seemed like plenty of power and no problems. Course, I'm coming from a 12 year old 4 cyl car where I have ot turn ac on and off when I need to merge on the highway.

When I check it again I'll make sure to check the tires. How do you know the end links are bad?
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:09 PM   #8
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they click or pop over bumps. may sound like a "hollow thunk" they are the easiest thing to do on your own and will set you back $10 ea or so- more from a fomoco dealer....

as far as the handling remark- it is a completely independent suspension where others use multilink "z-link" where one side is tied to the other with a bar we use "control blades". ride will very with tires but stock is soft with power understeer and lift off oversteer.... but i can out run and out handle a svt contour and keep with the mustangs at the local road course

~6.5sec 0-60 with a manual and a quick hand 60-0 in 120ft depending on tires and abs... 115 mph electronically limited 35hwy rated but i can coax over 40 with a steady foot and the right temp outside
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:14 AM   #9
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Not a bad price, I paid $14k for mine last year with 15k miles.
2011 is nice because it's the last year for that generation, so the bugs are all worked out. 2012s started a whole new line of issues just like every new car that comes out.

Good mpg, the only thing you're limited on is back seat space. That's why I am looking to trade for a truck/suv because I hardly drive since I walk to work now.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:24 AM   #10
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A damaged 2011 SE should not be purchased for more than 10K

Chances are when they clean the inside they will just drown it in armor all.

Also, gtferrari, 6.5 seconds to sixty could not be farther from the truth. Don't kid yourself. It's an SE so it probably doesn't have a rear sway bar. It will just understeer everywhere he points it until modification is made to the existing suspension.


Chances are, that with 39k miles, there are no major problems with this car. I would take up big issue with the method used when the dealer details the interior and the existing body damage.
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