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Ford Focus (1998 - 2004)

5
reviewed by John F on 29 April 2021
5
reviewed by Anonymous on 20 January 2020
2
reviewed by Anonymous on 24 October 2019
3
reviewed by Anonymous on 14 April 2019
4
reviewed by Anonymous on 26 March 2019
5
reviewed by edward denby on 20 April 2018
4
reviewed by Anonymous on 19 August 2017
5
reviewed by Anonymous on 14 July 2016
4
reviewed by Mickireland on 11 July 2015
5
reviewed by rabbithutch on 29 September 2013
5
reviewed by quattro_tdi on 29 June 2013
5
reviewed by MKate on 15 April 2013
5

1.6 LX

reviewed by ahenry on 2 June 2012
5
Overall rating
5
How it drives
4
Fuel economy
5
Running costs
5
Cost of maintenance and repairs
4
Experience at the garage or specialist
5
How practical it is
5
How you rate the manufacturer
5
Overall reliability

200k miles of simple, reliable, enjoyable transport

I bought my Focus as a personal import from Belgium in September 2000. I got lucky when I transferred the money, just as the euro hit its all-time low euro against the pound and ended up paying £9500 for a 1.6LX 5 door hatch with the reflex and comfort packs (so it has ABS, traction control, heated electric mirrors, a heated windscreen, air conditioning and a sunroof). At the time the UK list price for this would have been £14500. UK dealers were charging £9500 for a year old car without the options, at the time.

I spent some money on accessories early on. Some were things from the Ghia model: the interior light for the rear seat passengers and wiper stalk with 6 intermittent speeds. I also got a replacement stereo with the connector to the steering wheel remote controls, a charger and bracket for my phone, and another cigarette lighter socket in the glove box. I got a tow bar for a bike rack, and a roof box for family holidays. I prefer to use 24 and 18 inch wipers instead of the 22 and 19 inch ones that Ford specifies.

The handling has always been crisp and precise. It has steel wheels with 185/65 R14 tyres which lose grip gradually, so I can back off gracefully rather than end up in a ditch, and the ride quality is excellent. The models in the range with "light alloy" wheels end up weighing more.

The engine is smooth and quiet, although it has very little torque at low revs, 3rd gear runs to 95mph. On a straight, flat Autobahn 4 years ago, the top speed was exactly at the 115mph in the specification. I also had 3 laps of the Nurburgring, and kept well out of the way of the quick drivers on the straights, but wasn't too slow in the corners.

I normally get about 39mpg - occasionally up to 43mpg if I drive gently, or 36mpg on motorways. At lot of my driving is a 15 mile trip trundling along a busy A road to work. This is long enough to warm the engine.

I still have it, and it has now done 203,000 miles. Other than servicing stuff like oil and wiper blades, the repairs that it has had are 3 rear wheel bearings, a GEM electronic box (£60), new dashboard electronics (£160), a resistor for the heater fan (£15). There have been a couple of sets of front brake disks, more front brake pads and one or two sets of shoes for the rear brake drums. There have been a couple of replacements for thing like track rod ends and drive shaft gaiters. The exhaust lasted for 180k miles. It still has the original battery. The cam belt is supposed to last 100k miles. I got mine changed after 90k and 180k miles to be on the safe side.

The rear tyre wear isn't great at around about 20-25k miles a set. The alignment is correct, so I think this might be enthusiastic cornering around roundabouts.

The engine burns a bit of oil on long motorway journeys (say 500ml in 500 miles). It doesn't seem to be such a problem when I drive the same distance in shorter, slower journeys.

The remote key stopped working a few years ago. A new battery didn't fix it, so I have just been using the key in the door since then.

I left the air conditioning on all the time. The A/C stopped working about a year ago, but it failed a KwikFit pressure test and I haven't bothered to pay for remedial work to fix it.

The red paint picked up some chips fairly early on. However, I have not bothered to fix them. There is some rust bubbling through the bottom of the doors, but nothing structural as of yet. A year ago, the rear three quarter panel was replaced when it got hit by another car. The repair cost £1000, and I could have scrapped it, but it has been fine since, so I'm glad I didn't.

At the time that I bought my car, the diesel engines on offer for a Focus were the TDDi ones which were slow and unrefined. When the TDCi engines came out, there was a spell when I looked on enviously at the reports of the fantastic torque and economy. In the time I've owned my car, I have spent about £2000 more on fuel than I would with a TDCi, but without the extra purchase price (about £2000), and the expense from having a turbo/DMF/DPF go wrong.

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5
reviewed by toscano on 30 May 2012
5
reviewed by Laytown on 18 March 2012
5
reviewed by cyclops69 on 12 September 2011
5
reviewed by Robert in Portugal on 10 June 2011
4
reviewed by BenG on 31 March 2011
5
reviewed by Difference Engine on 20 February 2011
4
reviewed by F-Focus on 5 December 2010
4
reviewed by Robbie M on 3 June 2010

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submitted by Anonymous