The ST is a terrific choice if you're looking for a performance sedan at a low price. It has razor-sharp steering response and great feel, strong brakes, and a suspension that strikes a nice balance between sport and comfort. The 2.3 engine has a lot of torque, but seems to run out of steam over 5000 rpm. The ST is also a solid highway cruiser, and tracks straight as a laser. Best of all, this is an easy car to upgrade with aftermarket parts. I drove all the small sport sedans, and if cost is no object, the Mazda 3s is a marginally better car overall than the Focus (the Toyota Corolla XS and Kia Spectra 5 are also pretty nice), but with all the discounts, is it REALLY $6,000 better?
Sharp handling and steering, loves to be tossed hard into corners, playful personality, cool engine note, plenty of power, good comfort/sport trade off, good interior room and comfort, solid highway cruiser, lots of goodies, sharp looks, bargain price.
Disappointing gas mileage (though my lead foot is probably partially to blame), lackluster high-rpm performance, some cheap interior materials, plain Jane back seat, no side curtain airbags.
2005 Ford Focus ZX3 S 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
Took delivery of the second-least expensive version of the Focus available less than a month ago, a ZX3 S manual with air conditioning. With incentives, it had a no-haggle price of $11,062 (plus taxes, tags, and dealer charges). Toss in the car's roomy interior and great ride and handling, and the car seems like a winner. However, since we took delivery of the car, a problem with the manual transmission has appeared no fewer than five times, requiring three trips to the dealer that have yet to solve the problem. Hopefully this and any other problems with the car aren't widespread. Shoppers: it's worth counting on that to get what is probably the best small-car buy out there.
Well-designed manual operated mirrors, good rear seat space and access.
More secure manual transmission linkage, folding outside mirrors.
3 months owning the car and am more impressed than when I first bought it. MPG holding in the upper 20s, handles like a dream with a responsive Mazda engine. Hopefully the engine will last like my 13 year old Miata, which @ 140,000 miles is almost indestructible. Ford is doing their homework to compete with the imports.
Sunroof, Sony sound system, traction control and the sport tuned suspension.
The 16 inch wheels look out of place with the high roof line -- could use 17 inch; also a little more character on the interior just a little to bland.
When I test drove my ZXW the a/c charge was low so there was no noise. As soon as it was charged and new coolant was put in there was a loud clicking every 30 seconds. Ford say that is normal. That sound is the a/c compressor working. I hate the loud click and would not bought the vehicle if I heard it during my test drive. I love driving my ZXW, but what do I do to shut this car up.
Fix the dang noisy a/c compressor. There has got to be a way to keep a car cool and not have to hear it happen every 30 seconds.