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Well-designed, but Underwhelming product quality by Nate from Aurora, CO on 04/05/2012. Trim: 2003 Ford Focus Wagon ZTW, Owned 9 years.
Pros: I bought my ZTW based on reviews here. It is quiet, smooth, and has CAVERNOUS cargo space with the back seats folded flat. First, I've carried a full-sized recliner, then an office desk without removing the legs! The fuel mileage ratings can be met with very careful, unloaded, light-pedaled driving. My favorite feature of this car is the amazing lack of interior noise it has for an economy-sized car. Interior upholstery is reasonably robust, and the gauges are easy to read.
Cons: The powertrain build quality of my ZTW was disappointing, to say the least. I bought the car with only 45k on the odo., and in less than 3000 miles, the transmission shift solenoids failed! The mechanic who fixed it said he'd lost count of how many Focus transmissions he'd had to fix or rebuild from this issue. Great. Only 3000 miles, & I'm $800 out of pocket already! The second big letdown was the suspension. Sway bar links made outta dried beef jerky and cheap rubber sway bar bushings make this wagon sound like a creaky trailer-park barge! Weak struts needed to be replaced at 60k - REALLY? Most budget Korean wagons can make it to 100k without new struts, so why can't a Mazda-based Ford?
Overall review: Maybe mine was the odd lemon out of a crate full of peaches, but I'm pretty depressed at the cheap turns Ford took in the final production of this car. The body is well-assembled, and it fits all my space and practicality needs - but this car's MAJOR achille's heel is the pile of cheap suspension and drive train parts that were not built to last! The motor is strong and reliable, but when mated to a slush-box transmission with spongy brakes, and a mushy suspension - it gives the driver an underwhelming experience.
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