Ford Focus – anything better in that bracket?

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  • Ford Focus – anything better in that bracket?
  • Mazda and ford are effectively the same. They share the same platforms and engines through much of their range. Though not particularly trendy or exciting I don’t think you can go wrong with Fords. The Focus is one of the best cars in that bracket from a drivers perspective, they’re cheap to run. You could pay more for an older worse spec’d and higher mileage German equivalent (I.e. Something from the VAG stable), but you’re not necessarily getting a better car.

    Gunz
    Member

    We have a Focus estate as a family car and it has proven to be reliable, comfortable, relatively frugal and capable of swallowing a huge amount. Fully recommended and now it is getting on a bit, I’m looking for another one.

    ell_tell
    Member

    Sounds promising, I’ve never owned a Ford but hear generally good things about them these days. As you say perhaps a little bland but I’m consigned to the fact with my budget I’m not going to get anything exciting that fits the criteria.

    Mark IV golfs are cheap now but not too reliable so I’ve heard.

    rocketman
    Member

    The variable valves on mine stopped working due to blocked oilways despite having a fsh. The ‘repair’ was a new engine – something to bear in mind if you’re looking at a Ti-VCT model

    mogrim
    Member

    I had a MkI 1.6 petrol Focus, nice enough albeit a bit underpowered when fully laden – it could hold motorway speeds without unduly suffering, but forget overtaking on single-lane carriageways, for example. Only major (and expensive) thing that went wrong was the timing belt, fortunately got it changed before it completely fubared the engine 🙂 Apparently they should be changed at about 120000 miles, something to bear in mind.

    Would quite happily get another one, not the most exciting car in the world but perfectly adequate for day to day use.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Focus, Civic, Golf

    Choose one of those 🙂

    Gunz
    Member

    On the subject of the timing belt, I’ve heard a lot of advice that states it should be changed around 60-80K. Better safe than sorry and like all work on the Focus, it’s not expensive (approx £80 I think).
    I second that statement on it not being particularly lively but it gets there eventually and that’s good enough for me, I don’t really want to be breaking lap records with the kids in the back (good safety rating as well).

    Also, you may not be at this point in your life just yet 😉 , but the rear seat belts in the MkII (at least) are particularly short and aren’t long enough to accept a lot of Group 0 child seats.

    As the others have said, had 2 1.6 petrols (hatch and estate) and while it won;t set the world on fire they have both been reliable and cost little to fix when things do go wrong.

    mogrim
    Member

    On the subject of the timing belt, I’ve heard a lot of advice that states it should be changed around 60-80K.

    Sounds more likely than the 120,000 I posted – it was a while back and I googled the interval 😳

    120,000 could be the distance in km, might just be my google-fu has failed me this time.

    ell_tell
    Member

    something to bear in mind if you’re looking at a Ti-VCT model

    Hmm, I’ve been looking at the 115 bhp variant of the 1.6 petrol, which I think might be the Ti-VCT so thats worth bearing in mind.

    I really like the new shape Civic (with the ingenious folding seats) but they’re quite a bit higher priced than a Focus sadly.

    Mazda 3 – as mentioned above shares mechanicals with Ford but slight cheaper on the 2nd hand market.

    GolfChick
    Member

    A golf is my vote. When I first met my OH he was driving a similar aged focus compared to my golf and a few months after spending time driving both he sold his focus and got a golf. He had no end of problems with grip and skipping out on the most reasonable of bends. Im not sure what reliability issues there are on golfs, ive owned 4 and I now drive an audi (yep get over it) and I never had any huge problems whatsoever and the other thing to bear in mind is the enormous resources that come associated with golfs. If you dont know the answer, someone out there will and will tell you the answer. When we first got my audi we joined up to similar forums to find answers to questions and were forever getting told ‘yep we know the answer now give us X much and we’ll tell you it’ but on golf forums everybody was willing to share their knowledge and help at a moments notice.

    willyboy
    Member

    We have an 09 1.6 petrol Focus. Its pretty good really.
    Lots of space inside, not too dull, drives well and doesn’t cost a fortune to service.

    If your mrs is short (like mine) she may not be able to drive a Golf – with the seat in the right position she kneed the steering column when changing gear (we also found this in a kia and a hyundai).

    Bristol biker – just use an easy base and you never need to strap a child seat in again.

    ell_tell
    Member

    Following a previous thread my Mazda 323 has now been written off by the insurance company. Consequentially I am now on the hunt for a new car around the £3k mark.

    Criteria are not too big that the GF wouldn’t feel comfortable driving it and able to cope with a mixture of mainly town driving with long motorway trips every now and then.

    I’ve narrowed down options to a MkII Focus 1.6 petrol, around 2005 vintage or possibly a Fiat Bravo but is there anything else withn my price bracket worth considering?

    Also, is a Focus fairly trouble free motoring? Whilst not economical the Mazda was at least reliable.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I had a 1st gen Focus estate (facelift model) and it was pretty superb at what it did. Ridiculously big cargohold (bigger than many bigger cars, and easier to load too), good ergonomics, handled decently… Even good sightlines. Apart from the bilge pump it had for an engine (1.8tddi) there really wasn’t much I could criticise it for. Some clutch dubiousness- clutch m/cs are a little unreliable and fiddly to replace, and the slave popped eventually causing me to sell it on as a nonrunner… But then it had not had an easy life.

    My dad’s got a ’55 plate hatch, and it’s not so nice in some ways. The driver’s footwell’s a bit cramped and the whole thing feels tinnier and cheaper. It’s not helped by having an even worse engine, mind. It’s more refined in a lot of ways, certainly better roadholding and better specced, but a step back in others.

    Get an old Golf for about £1k then spend £2k on a new bike?
    My £700 Mk 3 Golf Gti has been with me for 3yrs & 42k miles now. Does mid to high 30’s mpg and has cost less than £500 to maintain in that time,(a battery, rear discs & pads, plugs, set of tyres plus 3 oil changes). Coming up for 150k now and doesn’t show any signs of giving me trouble just not very cool any more.
    We had more trouble with a 2yr old Civic than I’ve ever had with the Golf. 2 sets of rear shocks in 3yrs would have cost a fortune if out of warranty and it hardly ever had anything in the back

    Gunz
    Member

    Sounds more likely than the 120,000 I posted – it was a while back and I googled the interval

    120,000 could be the distance in km, might just be my google-fu has failed me this time.

    Mogrim, you weren’t wrong, 120k is the official guidance, it’s just that a lot of the forums recommend reducing this and I went with that advice as 120k sounded like a hell of a lot to me.

    ell_tell
    Member

    Get an old Golf for about £1k then spend £2k on a new bike?

    Ha yes, if I wanted to incur the wrath of my partner I could do that. I’m okay for bikes at the moment as strange as that might sound on here 🙂

    mikey74
    Member

    I phoned Ford about the timing belt on mine and they said 100,000 miles. I consulted my Haynes manual which said 60,000 miles, so I got it changed then. It cost me £280 including a full service from a local garage.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    Mk1 focus 1.6 here 2 kids, does the job, reasonably economical, did have a roblem with the dash loosing power after heavy rain, remove dash- hair dryer- fixed.

    other than that been fine racked up thousands of motorway miles to various biking venues, scotland, wales etc

    comfy enough, loads of space, easy to drive

    looking at upgrading to something bigger probably another focus c-max, maybe

    Timing belt interval on mk1 1.6 focus is 100,000 miles or 10 years .

    Mk2 1.6 focus is 100,000 miles or 8 years .

    VAG timing belts are usually replaced at 80,000 mile or 4-5 year intervals and depeding on engine code can quite often include a water pump .

    I’d have a Focus (diesel) over a Golf any day of the week and i work on plenty of each mark .

    Premier Icon althepal
    Subscriber

    Had an 06 and now a 10 plate 1.6 petrol hatch. Great cars.. first one needed an alternater, a wheel bearing and normal service stuff in 70k miles. The one we have now is a zetec so nicer alloys and comfier seats but otherwise just as good. With decent tyres it handles well, has loads of space for the four of us (including loong holiday trips) and its reasonsble on fuel. We have bought a roof box as we had to transport a pram and travel cot to our last holiday but that just meant I was able to get a roof mounted bike carrier. Although it swallowed 2 (three at a push) full sussers, riders and kit the roof carrier is just so much quicker and cleaner.
    Im sure golfs and civics are good too but cant comment on them as ive only driven one or two..

    Premier Icon althepal
    Subscriber

    Had some grip issues on my first focus.. back end stepping out on wet bends.. fitted decent new tyres and it cornered great after that funnily enough.
    Made sure when we bought our latest one it had four good quality tyes on.

    I’m on a similar hunt after a damaged wiring loom causing an airbag issue has effectively written off my ever reliable Honda. I can tell you that the new Focus is extremely impressive with the magic 1.0 turbo engine but sadly they haven’t been around for long enough to pick one up cheap.

    If you’re looking for a reasonably quick, reasonably economical, reasonably spacious, decent handling petrol hatchback that’s done 50,000 odd miles and is a few years old, there is very little out there..You can have crap slow petrol, decent-ish diesel or really really quick petrol. Or the odd 2.0 petrol that is shamed by my old Type-S for both speed and economy…

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Oh yeah… I meant to add, I hate the 100 hp 1.6 petrol in the mk2. People say “It’s not that slow”, but it’s not that, it’s the revviness. Motorway cruising is noisy (never driven a car more in need of a 6th gear) and the power’s peaky so on b-roads it feels like you’re propelling it along with the gearstick. And it just takes an annoying amount of effort to move it around at low speed. I just reckon it’s the wrong engine. My tddi made about 25 horse less but it delivered it well.

    YMMV may literally vary of course, but I’d try it first.

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Subscriber

    We have a ’05 plate Focus 1.6 petrol and it is a solid and pleasant drive, if a little tiring on motorways. Mechanically reliable and trouble-free so far, the only issue is economy. Despite being a low mileage car, used for a mixture of journey distances and having had all scheduled and recommended maintenance, it just seems a little thirsty to me.

    Apart from the bilge pump it had for an engine (1.8tddi) there really wasn’t much I could criticise it for.

    Northwind. I think you must have had a bad ‘un. My brother is approaching 170,000 miles on his 115bhp TDCi and has only had the scheduled maintenance completed. Still runs without missing a beat. A little more agricultural than it was 130,000 miles ago and getting a bit tired elsewhere – but the engine is still sound and giving good economy.

    …the 100 hp 1.6 petrol… People say “It’s not that slow”, but it’s not that, it’s the revviness. Motorway cruising is noisy (never driven a car more in need of a 6th gear)

    Could not agree with you more.

    _tom_
    Member

    People say “It’s not that slow”, but it’s not that, it’s the revviness. Motorway cruising is noisy (never driven a car more in need of a 6th gear)

    My Fiesta Zetec S is exactly the same, it’s annoying!

    Premier Icon Onzadog
    Subscriber

    I had a 56 plate hatch and was very pleased to fit 3 bikes, rides and kit inside. Biggest carry capacity I could find in a mid size hatch.

    The mk3, while not quite as big inside, still seems to be a class leader.

    hora
    Member

    I had a 1.8 Zetec. Was ok on the motorway and less revvier than the 1.6. Even when loaded up with the family and all our crap with a roof box it could cruise comfortably at motorway speed (I.e. Proper motorway speeds – 80mph).

    I never noticed any handling issues, but I always use decent premium branded tyres. Cheap tyres are a false economy in my experience. It is probably the best handling front drive car I’ve had. Far superior than a mk3 or 4 Golf. You’d be daft to get a MK 3 or 4 golf over a Focus. It just isn’t as good a car in any way shape or form apart from the VW status.

    I’m going to sound like a stuck record but…
    Japanese all the way.  Preferably a Honda,  but Toyota,  Nissan, Suzuki or Mazda are all good.
    The Korean stuff (Hyundai, Kia) are also very reliable but rather dull to drive.
    Don’t consider anything French or Italian.
    If you must have a European car then Golf’s and Focus’s (foci?) are your best bet, but neither will be anything like as reliable as a Japanese one.

    LHS
    Member

    Unless you think it is too big for your needs you will pick up a nice 2005 Passat TDi Estate for £3000. Good solid cars and cavernous boots.

    timc
    Member

    dont think you can beat the focus for all round VFM, its a sensible choice!

    timc
    Member

    wobbliscott – Member
    I never noticed any handling issues, but I always use decent premium branded tyres. Cheap tyres are a false economy in my experience. It is probably the best handling front drive car I’ve had. Far superior than a mk3 or 4 Golf. You’d be daft to get a MK 3 or 4 golf over a Focus. It just isn’t as good a car in any way shape or form apart from the VW status.

    +1

    MKV golfs they were back on form!

    looking at upgrading to something bigger probably another focus c-max, maybe

    I have a C-max, unless you want the mahoosive rear headroom and tall seats (e.g. 4 very tall adults regulalry, gereatrics with bad hips, getting kids in seats without having to bend down, camping in the on trips etc) I’d get the estate with propper folding (into the footwell) seats not the (folding up but not down into the footwell) removable ones in the c-max. Appart from the rear seats the C-max is worse as a 4 person car in every respect (and I own one!). It’s saving grace is taking the rear seats out and using it as a glorified van the 99% of the time when it’s just me, stick a 25l water tank and coolbox in the rear footwells, self inflating matress in the back (water tank conveniently makes the load bay a flat 6 ft), bike, body and a weeks camping kit easily fits in.

    Oh yeah… I meant to add, I hate the 100 hp 1.6 petrol in the mk2. People say “It’s not that slow”, but it’s not that, it’s the revviness. Motorway cruising is noisy (never driven a car more in need of a 6th gear) and the power’s peaky so on b-roads it feels like you’re propelling it along with the gearstick. And it just takes an annoying amount of effort to move it around at low speed. I just reckon it’s the wrong engine. My tddi made about 25 horse less but it delivered it well.

    Power’s fine IME, OK it won’t beat much away from the lights, but unless it’s a ridiculously steep hill it’ll sit in 4th doing 30-60 on B roads, it’ll happily sit in 5th if there’s not too many bends, but accelerations a bit more ‘gradual’.

    Noise, it does 70 at 3000rpm in 5th. It’s not silent, but it’s never been loud enough to irritate me even on 8 hour+ continuous drives to Scotland. Tyre noise is louder and that was massively reduced by some better tyres. 6th would be unusable in a headwind!

    I’d buy another, it’s been faultless over the last 35,000miles. Only cost me a set of front tyres in that time.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    I can tell you that the new Focus is extremely impressive with the magic 1.0 turbo engine but sadly they haven’t been around for long enough to pick one up cheap.

    Hmmm, I drove a fiesta with that engine the other week. Sure, it’s quiet, but the fuel economy was woeful from what is supposed to be an eco engine – less than 40 mpg round town and 50mpg driving like a vicar on the motorway.

    According to the computer, I had full marks for my driving style so I don’t think it was me.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    jamj1974 – Member

    Northwind. I think you must have had a bad ‘un. My brother is approaching 170,000 miles on his 115bhp TDCi and has only had the scheduled maintenance completed. Still runs without missing a beat

    Different engine- the early Foci had the older enduro diesel (don’t tell Pussywillow!). Lovely drivability mind, it didn’t make much power but it did it all the time.

    The clutch m/c issue is reasonably common with focuses, it’s not an expensive part to replace but it’s an annoyingly big job for such a tiny part, steering column has to come out! When the slave went on mine at 120000 miles (er- probably, tbh I suspect it had done more) I was already considering selling so it made sense to ditch it, but it still would have had a lot of life in it if I’d fixed that. Engine out job though. Excellent little car all in.

    ski
    Member

    I used to have a Mazda 323, loved it to bits, but was dissapointed with rust issues mine suffered form.

    We did the mk4 golf afterwards, nothing wrong with them, but not anyway near as nice to drive as the focus.

    Did you mention how much you are looking to spend?

    We were going to go for a 1.6 Focus, when I passed a car dealer who had a Honda Civic for sale for the same money, bigger boot, loads of toys, great engine, maybe not as nice to drive but I am not a fast driver anyway, the 1.8 petrol engine is giving me 40+ mpg urban driving, cheaper to insure.

    Honda Civic might be worth adding to your list to check out?

    I’d pay the premium and get something Jap/German. My old Ford Mondeo whilst being a great car felt really cheap and tin’ey despite being the top of the range model vs a load of other things I’ve driven/owned.

    Previous to the Mondeo I had a bread van shaped Civic (1.6 VTEC Sport). They’ll easily be in your budget now and it was a cracking car. Decent boot, nice dash, nice seats, just a nice place to be really and really well put together. Don’t get the 5 door though – vile looking things.

    Premier Icon FOG
    Subscriber

    Although I would generally agree about Japanese reliability, you do have to be careful. A riding mate of mine loves Toyotas despite endless trouble with them. Their current Avensis is always having some electronic glitch fixed usually on some over complicated part that disables far more important parts. It is also incredibly thirsty. I always seem to be handing over a fortune in my share of petrol money if we go away in his car e.g. a weekend in the Lakes cost more petrol than a trip to Scotland in my 1.7 CDTi

    Was looking at Polo 1.2/1.6 tdis for shorter journeys to work etc but have the option of a C-MAX 1.8 TDCI zetec for similar/lesser money, 2010, looks a good buy – any recommendations or not? Mpg at c52 average looks ok though was looking forward to 60+ with the polo but being taller more headroom appeals….

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