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I have a theory, based on an informal survey of complaints found in this forum, that the less options a buyer chooses to add and pay for, the more likely he or she will be satisfied with his or her overall purchase. This is especially true of the buyer who is able to purchase the focus for several thousand under MSRP, bringing the total price to under 20K. This second condition effectively eliminates much of the competition, which would otherwise raise the bar considerably on the Focus.

As an example, I purchased an automatic SE sedan with 201 and Winter packages for just under 18k, and I think I would be hard pressed to find a better substitute for the money I paid. Sure there are times when I wish I purchased the hatchback or upgraded to the Sports package, but the reality is that these additional increments even when accumulated do little to change the essential DNA of you are getting while adding substantially to the cost. Moreover, adding options not only increase cost but also complexity and therefore reliability. And is some cases, they actually compromise performance in certain areas. The following are some examples of what I mean:

1. Bigger Rims: I have the 16" and I'd still rather have a bit more comfort at the expense of cornering performance--not vice versa.

2. Sunroof: Nice to have the extra headroom in a low profile car and don't have to worry about extra rattles/ mechanical problems.

3. Microsoft Sync/ Mytouch: Don't miss it--bought a $200 garmin that fits perfectly in the recessed, clock display area. I beleive these two added features account for about half the complaints in this Forum.

4. Leather seats: too hot in the summer, higher maintenance, more visible wear, plus the cloth ones in the Focus are the highest quality in the eco class.

5. Automatic: One of few options I did opt for cause my wife can't drive a manual, and I have to say that very satified with it and the added fuel economy. But if I were single and a few yrs younger, I'd go with the sporty, glitch-free stick for a grand less.

6. Stereo: I have heard a lot of complaints concerning speaker rattle from the upgraded systems. I have the most basic one and I would describe the sound as full bodied and very acousticly satisfying (and I have owned a lot of higher end component systems).

Now I realize that there are a lot of very satisfied Ford customers with loaded foci, and I have to admit drooling over the titanium models at the dealership. But when you're paying closer to 30K for a car, the level of expection rises dramatically. And the point I'm making here is that you will still be driving essentially the same car, not something 40% better. As a kind of informal test to my hypothesis, I would especially invite those who approach the two conditions stated above--i.e., those who bought their car for under 20K and for 2K under MSRP--to relate their overall level of satisfaction with their purchase.
 

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Very true! The best value for the money is usually a fairly stripped down model. The more options one adds, the more potential problems - - and costs escalate rapidly. That's one of the reasons I opted for no MFT on my SEL. I did go for the SEL because I wanted the dual-zone climate control, not available on the SE. Otherwise I'd have opted for the SE model.
 

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Only 2 things i wish I had on SE are One touch windows for all windows and I would like the Nav screen, but for that ill use my cell phone and usb charger in the car :)
 

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I have a different theory.
One that will certainly generate some ill will towards myself but, i do not care. [strongman]

My theory is the folks who complain just like to complain. Doesn't matter what it is about. many actually seek out stuff to moan about.
Naturally there are normal people who get bad stuff happening, but they seem to just suck it up and get it fixed. And if asked they say: "yeah, it was a little problem, but we worked it out."
The we have the complainers, who relish thier moments in the moan spotlight. and seem to need to make thier little issue a major catastrophe. [mad]
(See i TOLD you i was gonna get it!)
It is in thier genetic makeup i guess. Turning molehills into mountains. [?|]
Where most folks just say: 'molehill" oops, and carry on with thier lives. [cheers]

So if you have an issue, sure, mention it, feel free to be pissed off. Get it fixed, then move on.
Complaining is one of the world's great sports.. but overdoing it is boring. [drinking]

As for the op comments: agree leather is not that great, more because it has become some quasi-synthetic junk, instead of a quality cowhide.
Stereo rattles are no big deal,, minor fix.
Wheels, the 17 wheels still have 50 series tires, and tires in general are moving up in size the past few years, so more tires available in 17" and rising. I had 16's on last car and great tires are disappearing in 16" sizes. So the future is better for 17" than 16' in replacements over the life of the car. IMO. and with a 50 series, no loss in comfort to be found IMO. (18's on the other hand, maybe..)
Automatic, ahhh I have a manual tranny, my only rant is not enough dealers willing to actually carry the percentage of manuals that are sold. they all want 100% automatics in stock.. way too many brands do not even offer a manual tranny anymore.
And the paying part. Nope. i do not worry about if "I" personally got the best possible deal, ever.
I view that as a poverty mentality. Person is so poor, or on the mental level seems to be on verge of starving they absolutely have to get the best deal or die. I can afford to let the dealer have a little money. I am NOT wealthy by any dollar calculation, but i am not trapped by my own poverty either.
a lot of folks view it as a game they need to win to impress thier friends too. Also I do not need to do that. I say the dealer etc has to make a living .. (and i am aware of the smirks of the folks who paid $1,000's less.. Not my problem)
Agree with the op that it may be a part of the complainer's problem though, if they did NOT get the best deal, then the may feel ripped off. and have to find some way to vent it.
And if anyone wants to berate me or insult me on my observations.. feel free, and remember a lot of other folks will be reading the responses.[B)]
 

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I agree with you in premise, but not every point.

-I have the 17" wheels and honestly the ride is still plush and sporty. I wouldn't even mind the 18's and a more agressive suspension. Ride comfort really isn't a top priority for me.

-Sunroof: I've owned several sunroofs and never had a problem. I got one in my Focus and haven't had a problem. I love being able to open it, it almost gives the feeling of a convertible yet you're sitting in a hatch.

-Sync/Myford touch: 100% agreed. I think the amount of posts on this forum is a testament to that.

-Manual tranny: agreed. That's why I got one.

-Stereo: agreed as well. Any factory system sucks, regardless. Aftermarket is the way to go, and in a year or so, there will be plenty of support for the 2012.

I've never been a fan of electronics in cars. I want a car, and I want to enjoy driving it. I don't want to be distracted with electronics, voice commands, backup sensors, parking assist, blah blah blah. I want to drive my car myself, focus on driving, and have fun doing it. That's it.

It was no suprise to me that the only problem I had with my Focus was the ELECTRIC steering rack needing replacement. This was the one "electronic" option I couldn't uncheck. A conventional hydraulic system would make this car perfect, in my mind.

The ironic thing, is that I'm an electrical engineer. Doens't matter to me. Electronics don't belong in cars.
 

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I disagree with most of your statements. First I love the 10 speaker stereo system. I haven't seen any comments on it, but it sounds great. Second, the leather seats are not hot in the summer, look and feel great, and are easier to clean than cloth. Most important of all you slide on and off them easier than cloth. Third, Sync and MFT work fine, I did not buy a navigation system for 800.00 , my 160.00 Magellan works fine. I have a Titanium and love all the extra's it comes with. Bottom line is if I could not have gotten a loaded Titanium and had to buy the stripped down version, I would have bought something else. Enjoy your car for what it is, don't try to justify your choice by knocking what you don't have. Not all of us are having problems. Ford finally made a car that us foreign car buyers can be happy with. After my 92 Explorer I thought I would never buy another Domestic car, but they got their act together so here I am.
 

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I disagree with most of your statements. First I love the 10 speaker stereo system. I haven't seen any comments on it, but it sounds great. Second, the leather seats are not hot in the summer, look and feel great, and are easier to clean than cloth. Most important of all you slide on and off them easier than cloth. Third, Sync and MFT work fine, I did not buy a navigation system for 800.00 , my 160.00 Magellan works fine. I have a Titanium and love all the extra's it comes with. Bottom line is if I could not have gotten a loaded Titanium and had to buy the stripped down version, I would have bought something else. Enjoy your car for what it is, don't try to justify your choice by knocking what you don't have. Not all of us are having problems. Ford finally made a car that us foreign car buyers can be happy with. After my 92 Explorer I thought I would never buy another Domestic car, but they got their act together so here I am.
Great comments. thanks
 

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I have an SE I am very happy with. The only features I wanted was the convenience package for cruise control. My wife wanted the winter package for heated seats. Neither of these packages are particularly expensive.

Interestingly enough the only car with only these two features I found looking on lots, also had the SFE package, a feature while not something I would have ordered, it was something I had looked into and was not opposed to. Even though I bought off a dealer lot and didn't order her, I was able to get a model I wanted and avoid being burdened with features I didn't want.

I could have gotten a stripped down SEL for almost the same money, but the difference between a SEL and an SE w. SFE is 4 mpg highway and I drive over 90% highway.

I would have bought a used older focus instead of a SEL.

I am just thankful Ford made a new model in time for when I lost my '03. I love Fords, and there wasn't much else on the market that interested me. I was originally looking at the Fiestas, but found them too narrow on the test drive. Getting 40 mpg highway in a larger Focus is a victory in that regard too.

The Fiesta was uncomfortably narrow, but I have broad shoulders and just didn't feel safe in the car. If the airbags go off where would that leave me.

So a few feature Focus was my backup after the Fiesta, which didn't fit.

If anything I kind of wonder If I should have sought out a model with sync, but for $800 when I have an IPhone 4, yeah an Aux cable is cheaper... Four speakers is fine for listening to NPR and Cnet Podcasts.

For $800 I can buy snow tires and a dedicated music player if I wanted. Maybe one of those upcomming Sony Walkmen that Run android. I could listed to my distance learning lectures over my car stereo while driving, tethering the internet off my iPhone.

If I didn't get the SFE I might have sought a Hatchback, but I am in love with my Frosted Glass Metallic color, so Sport Package wasn't in the cards.

But yeah, I love my relatively lower tech SE.

Edit: 3000+ miles and I am still occasionally confusing the cruise control +/- and the volume +/- , which is just anouther reason I don't want any more fancy controls in my car.
 

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I disagree with most of your statements. First I love the 10 speaker stereo system. I haven't seen any comments on it, but it sounds great. Second, the leather seats are not hot in the summer, look and feel great, and are easier to clean than cloth. Most important of all you slide on and off them easier than cloth. Third, Sync and MFT work fine, I did not buy a navigation system for 800.00 , my 160.00 Magellan works fine. I have a Titanium and love all the extra's it comes with. Bottom line is if I could not have gotten a loaded Titanium and had to buy the stripped down version, I would have bought something else. Enjoy your car for what it is, don't try to justify your choice by knocking what you don't have. Not all of us are having problems. Ford finally made a car that us foreign car buyers can be happy with. After my 92 Explorer I thought I would never buy another Domestic car, but they got their act together so here I am.
Completely agreed! Love my 'upgrades'!
 

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I would especially invite those who approach the two conditions stated above--i.e., those who bought their car for under 20K and for 2K under MSRP--to relate their overall level of satisfaction with their purchase.
My Focus falls into the category of the under 20K purchase. The goal was to "build" a car that would provide driving satisfaction to me, meet my budget for a cash purchase and lower my chances of problems with a less complex vehicle.

Was a previous owner of a 2001 Focus ZX3 since new and was pleased with the ten years and 129K miles of pretty reliable service. This car was not optioned to the hilt and did not even have power windows/locks! In spite of the lack of options, because the car was in clean shape with full maintenance records so I sold it quickly for a decent price. Condition was more important than the options list.

The 2012 Focus has impressed me with it's upgraded technology. design and content even in the more basic versions. I also own a VW Passat (and many VW's over the years) . I believe that the new generation Euro designed Focus comes very close to parity or even exceeding the driving experience of VW (especially considering the decontented VW's we are getting in the US now!) and other Euro brands.

Having said that, the Focus is well, still a Focus. Personally, I would have a hard time justifying the purchase of a 25-30K version. Financially, I could swing a higher price car, but over many years I have learned the hard way that a car is a really lousy investment (my 1991 SHO is a great example; it was tons of fun but really expensive to own). I am retired now and have other interests that compete for funding that I do not want to tie up in a car.

I certainly realize and respect that the needs and values of others will differ and that is why there is the opportunity to create a Focus that suits your taste and wants.

For me, I just like to keep things simple. So far the 2012 with the 5 speed is a ball to drive and no issues at this point (5 weeks) other than some needed minor body panel adjustments. I believe that when the time comes to sell, condition and maintenance will be the main selling point.
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Elizabeth,

I'm sure there are complainers, but the other side to that is to inform others of potential problems, or seek resolution to their own problem with their focus. I've owned a LOT of cars over the years (> 25), both foreign and domestic and have always looked to forums, bulletin boards, and other owners to help and aid me, both prior to the buying process and afterwords.

People who buy a brand new car expect a certain level of quality and reliability, which is the cornerstone of most manufacturer's reputation. Who determines whether a vehicle is reliable and of high quality? Vehicle owners!

Here's the deal: if you sell something to someone, it better work as advertised, or you're going to lose business. If there's a problem, it's our jobs as consumers to let others know, if for nothing else, then to save he next poor bastard from making the same fatal error in their purchase.

If this is a ford focus fanboy forum, I'll go elsewhere. If not, I'll continue to monitor this forum (and others) to help me make informed decisions.
 

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Elizabeth,

I'm sure there are complainers, but the other side to that is to inform others of potential problems, or seek resolution to their own problem with their focus. I've owned a LOT of cars over the years (> 25), both foreign and domestic and have always looked to forums, bulletin boards, and other owners to help and aid me, both prior to the buying process and afterwords.

People who buy a brand new car expect a certain level of quality and reliability, which is the cornerstone of most manufacturer's reputation. Who determines whether a vehicle is reliable and of high quality? Vehicle owners!

Here's the deal: if you sell something to someone, it better work as advertised, or you're going to lose business. If there's a problem, it's our jobs as consumers to let others know, if for nothing else, then to save he next poor bastard from making the same fatal error in their purchase.

If this is a ford focus fanboy forum, I'll go elsewhere. If not, I'll continue to monitor this forum (and others) to help me make informed decisions.
You are corrent
 

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still kicking myself for getting a car with a sunroof. most of the time its just dead weight and the reduced headroom was a problem with the stock seats and a helmet (auto-x)
 

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while i have some things I'm not completely happy with in my focus i can say i still think it was a good deal for the money i paid for it. if i only had $20k to spend i would have looked at an entirely different vehicle.

as for people who think that those of us with problems do nothing but "complain" as the saying goes "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." if it weren't for those people raising their voices about various issues everyone would have a poorer vehicle and no car manufacturer would fix any problems once it was off the showroom floor. so be happy for the complainers who get issues fixed before you accept delivery.

that being said if i were to purchase the vehicle again i would skip MFT (my biggest complaint about the car). i am finding the benefits (a pretty touch screen) are far outweighed by the issues with MFT (both in crashing and the UI overall). i will never be able to replace the MFT system/radio with any 3rd party radio in the future.

other than that, everything else is a pretty minor issue as far as I'm concerned. having owned many cars over the years i accept that no car is "perfect."
 

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I got my focus completely decked out. Every option I could get, I did. I don't regret a single one. I have had a few minor problems with MFT but even with that, I still love it. I couldn't see buying a 20k dollar car and not getting everything. What's a few $k more?
 

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There are times where I wished I would of gotten an SE. I remember test driving an candy blue SE with package 201A a few months back and wished for that, or an SE with 201A and Sport Package.

I just can not wait for the MFT revision which is supposed to come in January (if I am not mistaken). Some MFT problems are on my mind. It works very well for the most part, except when I change the radio station/Sirius by voice, the display gets messed up. And, I did the fuse pull too!
 

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On every car forum, there are people with issues. And on every car forum, there are trolls. And on every car forum, there are enthusiasts too eager to lump these groups together.

I do agree that these forums (and car forums in general) tend to have a negative tone. People who don't have problems usually don't post a new thread to say so.

But on the other hand, forums like this are excellent tools for potential buyers. Just look at the Mustang forums. For a long time, people were having manual gearbox issues. Now there is an official investigation. But if you had bought a Mustang before the official investigation made headlines, and had not have gone to the forums, you would have no idea that some customers were having a serious issue.

Ultimately, all cars have their quirks, some of which are more severe than others. The experience of posters on forums like this can help other people make a more informed choice.
 

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I am comfortable with what I spent on my car, for what I got.

If I wanted to spend the 25k-28k some people have spent on their Titaniums I would be looking at getting a v6 Mustang, or Volvo C30

I was looking to spend more than that, I think I would be eyeing Audi A3 or A4. Maybe a Ford Fusion Hybrid, or some other hybrid.

But then, that is just me. I dunno I suspect I am not the typical consumer.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Focus, and I am happy I paid just a smidgen over 20k. That said I could not justify spending any more on this car than I did.
 

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I am comfortable with what I spent on my car, for what I got.

If I wanted to spend the 25k-28k some people have spent on their Titaniums I would be looking at getting a v6 Mustang, or Volvo C30

I was looking to spend more than that, I think I would be eyeing Audi A3 or A4. Maybe a Ford Fusion Hybrid, or some other hybrid.

But then, that is just me. I dunno I suspect I am not the typical consumer.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Focus, and I am happy I paid just a smidgen over 20k. That said I could not justify spending any more on this car than I did.
Trust me.. I priced more expensive cars and to get all that I wanted in my focus I would have had to pay $15-20k more! Sure, I would get a better quality car, but I simply could not justify paying that much more. I get all the luxury extras that are usually only found in higher end cars in a cheaper priced compact (that surprisingly has pretty good quality).

The base models of the more expensive models were $5-10k more already... When you add in all the extras (leather, nav, rear view camera, rain sensing wipers, etc) you end up paying a whole lot more than a loaded titanium and you may still be lacking some features the fully loaded titanium has.

I think the Focus can cater to a multitude of people and is a very good value at any price point within the lineup.

Let me add that I wouldn't have even considered the Focus if it weren't for all the extras and the titanium model!
 
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