2004 Ford Focus ZX3 Premium 2dr Hatchback (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I was kind on the fence about this car -
I loved the styling and handling, but
was underwhelmed by the motor. The
Zetec is kinda crude and not too
powerful, especially when you drive it
back-to-back with Hondas and Toyotas.
Then, I drove one with the new Mazda-
built 2.3 - what a difference! This
motor is a little jewel - smooth and
powerful, with a nice little growl as
you hit 6000 RPM. Mind you, this is no
WRX-hunter, but it's plenty quick
enough. To top it off, I got a
ridiculously good deal - almost $4,000
off, plus a 5/100,000 bumper to bumper
Love the uprated engine, and the
handling and steering are scalpel-
sharp. This is one of the best-handling
cars I've driven at any price. Also
love the styling - great design, hasn't
worn a bit since it came out in 2000.
A little cheap-looking inside,
particularly compared to Civics and
Corollas. The center console interferes
with shifting. Shifter is a bit
notchy, but it's accurate. Chassis is a
bit twitchy on grooved concrete.
There's also a bit of torque steer.