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So yeah, I'm in the market to buy my first car. I really love the Saturn Astra 3-door, but it starts at like $18,000, and that's entirely too expensive for me. However, I found a Ford Focus ZX-3 (the 3-door hatch) for $6,000, which is in my price range. The Focus has great MPG, great reliabilty, etc.

So, until I satisfy my craving for the 3-door Astra, the 3-door Focus looks like it will fit the bill until I can buy an Astra.



Is this a good idea?

 

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Its all in the Detroit family. As long I do not catch you in that prelude..you are OK...
That Ford looks abused though...
Look for something more stock.. I assure you, this after market stuff is usually a bad sign.
 

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You just know a young kid owned the car and drove it like he was in "The fast and the furious". I'd have the engine checked out by a mechanic.

I rented a Focus and wasn't too impressed with it. The ride was rough, the engine was weak and noisy, it struggled going up hills, and there was a lot of interior noise.
 

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You just know a young kid owned the car and drove it like he was in "The fast and the furious". I'd have the engine checked out by a mechanic.
I'm with him.......I'd have the entire thing checked over first if you're serious about it. Good luck though! :cool:
 

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What looks beaten up about that car? There's a chance it was driven hard, but there's a chance that any car was driven hard. It doesn't look bad to me at all... not a single dent, mark, or scratch is visible in that picture. Obviously you want to get it checked out by a mechanic... but going by looks no one can say it looks 'beat up'.

As for the type of car, if you like a little hatch it seems to me that this is right up your alley! GM hasn't offered anything comparable until now (Astra), so I think we at GMi can allow you to show interest in a Ford this one time!
 

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What looks beaten up about that car? There's a chance it was driven hard, but there's a chance that any car was driven hard. It doesn't look bad to me at all... not a single dent, mark, or scratch is visible in that picture. Obviously you want to get it checked out by a mechanic... but going by looks no one can say it looks 'beat up'.

As for the type of car, if you like a little hatch it seems to me that this is right up your alley! GM hasn't offered anything comparable until now (Astra), so I think we at GMi can allow you to show interest in a Ford this one time!
When I see a lowered car with rims like that alarms go off in my head about it being driven hard...nothing empirical to base that on just my gut. But you're probably right, it could also mean that someone cared about the car and maintained it very well.
 

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That looks way better than the mostly rust colored 1973 Dodge Dart that was my first heap in 1987. I have owned two hatchbacks and enjoyed them very much. These are economy cars so expect lots of engine and road noise.

Is it a manual?
 

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1) Do not buy a 2000, 2001 or 2002 Focus - the reliability just was not there - 2003 on - the cars has been bullet proof

2) do not buy random modified Foci like the on on your picture - it was lowered, has after market exhaust, probably intake and maybe headers - if those were not done right you will pay $4k for a new motor down the road - not good. IF you want a modified Focus go to focaljet.com or focufanatics.com and ask around - people there are usually a little more responsible about modding - and most cars / users are known, so you can get reviews on how good a car is - and how well it was modded.

3) The 2003 and 2004 2.3l 5speed Foci were the best Foci built to date - they get excellent mileage, excellent power, and come in all body styles (incl ZX3) - once 05's were released the 2.3l was redone (and was not as good anymore) and was only in the ST sedan.

4) when buying a 2.0l make sure you know which one it is: at this point the Focus is on its THIRD 2.0l I4 engine:
- the first one was a SPI (2v) engine making 110hp. it is bulletproof, but not very refined or powerful - it also lacks aftermarket. I believe that one was not available on ZX3's though
- next up was the Zetec (4v) 130hp. This was the engine on ZX_ cars since the get go and is the most common. It is a good engine and is the basis for the SVT engine as well. You can recognize it in the engine bay, because it is in backwards with air intake by the firewall, and exhaust header by the bumper.
- starting with the 2005 model, the Zetec was replaced by the Duratec. it has similar power and mileage, but it is a more modern engine- it shares much of its bottom end with Mazda, Ranger, and other I4's in the Ford empire, but the head is unique- the after market was a little slow to embrace it, but it has developed nicely. It has a plastic intake manifold by the bumper (and exhaust header by the firewalls) it also has coil-on-plug wiring.

Overall, a 2000 - 2002 Focus is a gamble, as is an SVT focus - some are bulletproof, some are nightmares. Stating with the 2003 Ford has implemented intensive quality control and the Focus shows that - the quality has much improved. The 2.0l Zetec is the most common engine and it is a great engine, but if you can get your paws on the 2003-2004 2.3l, do it - even if it costs a little more - that engine is amazing.


Good luck.

Igor
 
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