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Old 05-31-2005, 10:55 AM   #1
mrmagoo_83
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Thinking about a Focus...

Howdy all, a guy over on the [H] sent me here.

I am looking at purchasing a Focus for my wife, and just wanted to know what the thoughts on them were. I assume here I will get nothing but positive feedback.

Vin 3FAFP37372R155774 (If anyone could get a report on it that would rock)

For the details and questions.
Its an '02 Zx5. Would I be right to assume the ZX5 was the top of the line model excluding the SVTs back in 02? Its silver, and has 62k on it, has a little dent in the rear bumper, wondering if it was a "backed into something" or "got hit by something" dent. 62k for a 3 year old car isn't too bad, 20k a year, and in Texas thats about normal. They are asking like $7500 for it.

So here is the question for all you guys/girls.
Is the ZX5 better than a regular 4 door?
Hows the MPG?
Handling and all that is pretty good?
Does the ZX5 suffer from the same brake problems, and replacement of a few sensors?

She currently drives a beat to hell, literally (wish I had a picture), 1993 Toyota Corolla with 160K on it. My poor wife has drove that thing for nearly a year (well I drove it last summer) without an AC, now the drivers side window has a rope to pull it up and down. It would cost me more to repair/fix the car to make it reliable, than the car is worth. She has yet to test drive a focus, but she really thinks they are cute, and she has to have a 4 door, and she loves the safety ratings, and I like the MPG.

Thanks for any info you guys can give me. I want to be sure this is the vehicle for her, and that its not one I am going to be working on every other month like I have this corolla.


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Old 05-31-2005, 11:17 AM   #2
Silver03SVT
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If your looking for a small, inexpensive, and reliable car the Foucs is an excellent choice. However with the milage on the one you are looking at, the price seems a bit steep. I lived in Texas for 4 years, so I know how the milage situation is there, 80% of those miles should be highway.

So here is the question for all you guys/girls:

Is the ZX5 better than a regular 4 door?
It all depends on what your looking for. The ZX5 isnt any better than the sedan, although you can get more utility out of it due to its larger cargo volume.

Hows the MPG?
It gets decent milage, especially on the highway. I drive an SVT so my numbers are slightly lower. I average 26 city and 31 Hwy. There are however, cars that get better MPG.

Handling and all that is pretty good?
Absolutely the best handling you can get for a car like this and in this price rage. Next closest thing youll find are 2 seater roadsters like the MR2 and Miata.

Does the ZX5 suffer from the same brake problems, and replacement of a few sensors?
Ill let a ZX5 owner answer that.

Hope this helps and good luck on your purchase!
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Old 05-31-2005, 11:28 AM   #3
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Thanks much. I thought about attempting to talk them down some, what would you consider a reasonable price for that model? I think the whole gas price situation has all these cars with good MPG up on the prices, like the hybrids.

As for the usage, she mostly babysits our nephews, running them around during the summer, and back and forth to school and what not. She needs enough room for 2 kids and a car seat in the back, and enough storage space to toss their school bags, the diaper bag, and a stroller. Other than that, the car will be used to get her back and forth to her new job, and occasionally when we take the 300 mile round trip out to my mothers. We usually take me truck, but the seats aren't that comfortable over long distances, its a single cab so there isn't much room in the front, and the gas mileage blows :)

I am hoping to work these guys down some, but I dont know how much they are willing to budge, as their asking price is like $8900, but their 'internet' special is $7500. Plus, I have exteremly bad credit; I have approximately $4k to put down, plus whatever a stealership will give me for her POS car. So probably around $4.5 or $5k total down. Which would only leave like $1 or $2k to finanace for a short time, if they will even let me finance that little. One dealer said they wouldn't finance anything under like $5k.
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Old 05-31-2005, 01:47 PM   #4
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As for reasonable pricing, try going to kbb.com or nada.com and input its info and your zipcode, those are good sites for determining "fair market value" in your area.

To me, off the top of my head $7500 "internet special" sounds pretty decent. The 2002 models were the first year without recalls, so that is a major plus, they're sturdy and good haulers, IMO. I have the ZX3 and it's the exact same car as a zx5, except it has bigger doors on each side since there's only 2, not 4. I've never tried to lug around a stroller and all that stuff, but I'm guessing it would do pretty well. I'm sure it can hold a carseat and 2 kiddos in the back. I would say, if you're real into the car, see if you can do a "test run" and bring the stroller/carseat/backpacks along and toss them in the Focus, see how it fares?

As for the financing, if the dealer won't let you do such a low balance, maybe try going to your bank for a small loan? I know you said you have poor credit, and I'm not good at money issues, but I'll guess your own institution might be willing to give you a loan, for such a small amount... probably at exorbitant rates, but if you pay it off fairly quickly that won't bury you the way a high interest rate for 5 years or something would.

Other comments- the ZX_ seats are pretty comfy, I took my Focus on a 3k roundtrip to FL and I was rather comfortable the whole way, something I was worried about! Also, I think a ZX5 would be better for your wife's needs than a sedan, as the hatch design opens up more space. Maybe if things don't fit, look into a wagon... but like I said, I think they might, and this car looks like a good deal. My car is an automatic, but with combined driving I regularly see 25 mpg average, and that's with a lead foot.

Good luck on your search to get the wife outta her Corolla... oh yeah and the Focus has some "meat-freezer"-like AC capabilties, so that should serve ya well in TX!
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:12 PM   #5
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Thanks, the more positive things I hear the better. I ran a KBB on it a little while ago, it appears "Trade-In" Value is around $6.5, and actual "Sales Price" is around $85.-$9.

I am hoping to work with them to $7k out the door (including TT&L). I am also hoping to get them to do a brake job, and an oil change prior to me driving the vehicle home. If they agree to the brake job, oil change, and repair of the dent I will take it for $7500 out the door. That would leave me around 2-3k on a loan, probably at like 18% APR, but I am hoping to pay it off in 2-3 months.
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Old 05-31-2005, 02:14 PM   #6
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Let us know how it turns out for ya, best of luck
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:04 PM   #7
mrmagoo_83
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Thanks I will do. Oh and to make things worse, I had to take a look at my wife's car at lunch, she said it was making a really loud grinding noise, hell she had cut a 1/4" by about an 1/8" deep groove in the Left Front rotor. I was like "How the heck did you even get to work this morning..." So I dropped $30 on a set of pads, and a single rotor. Buddies said I should just replace the pads, take the rotor back, so thats what I get to do tonight, replace the pads before she can even bring her car back to the house, lol.

Oh and another question, I read somewhere that Focii have somewhat small side mirrors, is there some aftermarket mirrors I can buy to fix this?
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Old 06-01-2005, 05:24 AM   #8
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You will do fine with the focus, and you will fall in love. 62k is low milage if you do regular maintenance. It is a very fun car to drive. It is comfortable, and gets decent milage. I was getting 36 mpg on the hiway with my 03 sedan with a stick an the zetec engine. If you get them to do the brakes and body work in the price you will be doing well. Good luck.... let us know how it goes!
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Old 06-01-2005, 10:09 AM   #9
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I got a 01 zx3 loaded except for sunroof with only 27k 5 speed for 8000 for you!!!
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Old 06-01-2005, 11:29 AM   #10
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I'm not sure about the small side mirrors issue... I've found my hatch to not have a lot of "blind" spots, once you adjust the mirrors to your personal height/angle I think they're perfectly fine.

If you do find them too small of a viewing area, I've heard the OEM European ones have a larger range of vision.
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