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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What should I be looking for?

... As the title states I am in the market for another focus, ... What should I be looking for?

Model year

I'd buy the newest one you can afford. Most manufacturers learn from their mistakes and improve the design of troublesome parts and their build process from year to year (though not always).


Body style

I've owned hatchbacks for years but I got a sedan this time because I like the styling of the Focus sedan much more than the hatchback. They also cost ~ 800 less and my wife finally got a car with a hatch in case we have to haul anything bulky. Putting even small stuff in and out through my Focus's low trunk lid has taught me that the easier access of the hatchback probably would have been a better choice. Form < function. If you like the looks of the hatchback more then it's even an easier choice.

The hatch also has the 60-40 split folding rear seat back in the SE, though that did not seem as useful as I expected in the hatch I rented. (Too cumbersome to flip down quickly with the seat bottom and head rests.)


Transmission

IMO, as long as you are able to drive one you're making the right choice to get the 5-speed manual. In theory the 6-speed DCT should be superior, but in reality, not so much. I don't even like having to do software updates on all my computers, but on the transmission in my car? Forget it.

If I were certain that Ford/Getrag/Luk had resolved any reliability issues (but I'm not) I might consider getting a used Focus with a bad DCT really cheap and buy a new DCT to put into it. After driving it long enough to be sure all was right, Tom's custom tune and some paddle shifters might create something I'd be happy with. Just not worth all that bother to me as long as I'm still able to work a manual.

EDIT:
There are some satisfied DCT owners who argue that theirs have been good enough to justify the risk of getting a "bad" one. I considered that opinion but chickened out after reading most of the thousands of comments in other threads discussing the problems many owners have had with them and their advice to avoid them. I would suggest that prospective buyers should do the same and come to their own conclusion.


Option packages and trim level

If you want an SE with rear disc brakes, you'll have to find one with the SE Sport Package (cloth seats) or SE Appearance Package (leather seats). The SP has "normal" suspension, and the AP has "touring suspension. (Enter the VIN for prospective cars at etis.ford.com and check the list of details.)

I'm happy with the SP's softer (though still firm) ride with the normal suspension and 16" wheels, but the rental I drove with the touring suspension and 17" wheels was significantly more competent on twisty roads. [driving] Of course, a Titanium with the Handling Package and 18" wheels would be even more hard-core, though with MPG and ride comfort consequences. All can be hard to find with a manual transmission, though they're usually more common in hatchbacks than sedans from what I've seen in my area.

Other details, like the sedan's trunk lid wing, fog lights, wheels, etc. are easier to add aftermarket if you want them, but the brakes and suspension are a bigger deal.


Problem areas (besides the DCT)

Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum > Ford Focus Third Generation > MK3 Focus > Reminder: Perform TSB 14-0215 Now!

Easy to perform the TSB yourself if the wires have not yet been damaged. Much more difficult if they have been. If the harness has a loom around the trouble area I'd ask if it came that way or had the TSB done, and be wary of any wiring repairs if it needed them. Could cause future problems if not done well.


Electric power steering

I believe there's a software update even for 2014s that did not have the hardware problems some earlier models had.


Front suspension clunk

I haven't seen any of the most common problems with front suspension noises reported on 2014s, possibly as a result of the changed strut/spring design. However if you want to lower the car that can be a problem.


Air conditioning


Water leaks


Fuel pump recall
This is just now starting up so you probably won't find a used Mk3 that has had the recall work done yet.


Modifications

Do you trust them?


All the usual used car stuff

Flood damage

Crash damage

Maintenance history

Etc.
 

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If I were certain that Ford/Getrag/Luk had resolved any reliability issues (but I'm not) I might consider getting a used Focus with a bad DCT really cheap and buy a new DCT to put into it. After driving it long enough to be sure all was right, Tom's custom tune and some paddle shifters might create something I'd be happy with. Just not worth all that bother to me as long as I'm still able to work a manual.
Honestly, don't buy the DCT. After all the reports and people having 4 or 5 clutches, and then people like me who even though polite, get completely ignored by Ford and just offered lip service when the trans breaks. Not to mention the suggestion of putting a new DCT in will cost (at time of writing) $3400 just for the remanufactured trans, PLUS $72 for the kit to fit, plus specialist tools needed to perform the job (unknown cost).
 

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Question to the Forum and the original poster; Are these still valid issues? Reason I ask is that I am looking at a 2016 SE Sedan with the Sport Package and the DCT Automatic. I read somewhere there was a mid year refresh? Maybe this has resolved some of the above stated problems?
 

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Problem reports are dramatically down since the 2012's, it's been a progression though and reports still come in on on later models.

2016 is too new for much information, crap shoot like any new car.
 

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just dont buy a DCT unless you refuse to drive a stick. if you do get a dct your results may vary
 

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I always get manual as I control the clutch. Never owned an automatic but once they go its costly to repair. Some great stuff from "Arco-Zakus". Well documented report of whats out there. I'd still buy my Ford Focus SE again, but I would get the sport package and anything else they could offer me. Although when I bought through Costco, I got $5500 in rebate incentives. So out the door I paid $15.5k; at year three

I had the main harness issue at the intake for the TSB mentioned.

I needed wires repaired and saved $2k in parts; weld job was decent with one revisit for a cold soldered wire. All in all I spent about $270 in labor to fix the TSB issue.
 

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If you drive it and like it, problems will be null

[werd]
Question to the Forum and the original poster; Are these still valid issues? Reason I ask is that I am looking at a 2016 SE Sedan with the Sport Package and the DCT Automatic. I read somewhere there was a mid year refresh? Maybe this has resolved some of the above stated problems?
All vehicles have issues. No way around it. Its the ones you choose to have as your issues. A ford will never require you to remove alot of parts to replace one, but it happens. VW's were my favorite cars, R32, VR6 and similar require major overhauls for simple part changes. Ford really did a good job minimizing "most" issues.[werd]

I'd say their weakest point is Microsoft SYNC and electrical issues brought on by gremlins. Lol
 
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