• Keepleft

    Paul;

    Tell Ford to include their genuine part number “A92SX 19F524AA”, as standard-equipment in the Focus:-)

    (Those of you who buy *any* Ford passenger car here in AUS, are suggested to order one as well, for use at breakdown and crash scenes for improved safety)!

    http://www.nbntv.com.au/index.php/2009/07/14/calls-for-improved-roadside-safety/
    Good luck!

    Lower RH pic of rear bar in Paul’s review above, shows a neat rear fog lamp;-
    http://www.boostcruising.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=450922

    • Jeremy

      While I do like the idea of rear fog lamps being standard (what’s the point in having front fogs with no rears, all you silly Aussie/Jap manufacturers??!!), it does strike images of terror of more Hyundai Excels/Accents and Subaru Imprezas driving around in perfectly clear weather with their rear fogs on, completely oblivious.
      Unless police start to enforce the laws regarding the use of foglamps to a reasonable degree, it will just mean more annoyances in 99% of situations and the continuation of the current situation with idiots driving around in pelting rain or pea soup fog with all their lights OFF during the day. Heck, even the police in their SS Commodores drive around with their foglamps on regardless of the weather.

  • Left Lane Lover

    Well that certainly sounds like a great drive for its’ class, thanks for the review CA.
    We have had the last shape Fiesta for 5 years and think it’s a great car in so many ways.
    I wonder what happens when the stereos on these type of cars go pearshaped, does one make a blank plate out of some tin or plastic then cut a hole in that to suit an after-market unit ?????????
    Good luck to the Focus.

    • Andrew M

      Yes you can get aftermarket adaptor face plates for changing to aftermarket stereos.

      you have been able to for quite a while

  • Alex

    I reckon that for the price, the Focus is probably class leader. The new 3 is a great car but I don’t think it offers a drive that beats the Focus, it is better quality though.
    What I love about the Focus is that it’s fun to drive even in base spec. Even with a naturally aspirated 1.4 engine. Even the Econetic version. It’s also really safe, it has a good interior (though the interior design doesn’t look good in pictures), the face-lifted version looks brilliant and it has loads of storage space.
    If I buy a car in this class, I usually buy French because they tend to be a bit quirkier and more interesting to own, but if you needed your car to make lots of sense and just be a great all rounder, the Focus is an excellent choice. However, the Golf would probably be an even better choice for just a bit more money.

    • Jazrod

      I hope you’re talking about the Focus in the UK, because we have not got the 1.4 engine or the ECOnetic…
      That said, I drove the new Fiesta in a 1.4auto, and thought it was an absolute slug! I could not believe the difference between it and its 1.6 Stablemate, unbelievable… 1.4 was terrible, and the 1.6 was sooo ‘quick’ and zippy!

      • Alex

        Yes I am talking about the UK Focus. Don’t get me wrong, the 1.4 Focus is sooooo slow but it still handles well so in the right situation and in the right gear, it can still be great fun.

  • filippo

    The Focus is the car most Australian journos love to hate, which is a pity because it’s a very convincing package. The folks at another particular motoring website beginning with D and ending in E are particularly venemous against any of Ford’s offerings that compete with their beloved Mazda.

    • Alex

      Which websites that? I can’t figure it out from starts with a D and ends with an E.

      • Andrew M

        is it Drove???

        • Reckless1

          It actually ends in L – Drivel, that’s what they write most of the time.

  • realcars

    Yhose mags are the same style as the factory mags on my AU ute.LOL.

    Much prefer the look of the sedan. This needs some of that econetic styling I think.

    • Andrew M

      So you have got the “SE” then???

  • Confused

    I test drove 2009 Focus and didn’t find anything that would justify it for more than 5000 price difference with Lancer. Just a tad less tyre noise but that’s debatable.

    Lancer much better overall car, and warranty.

    This African Focus lacks willingness.

  • Captain Nemo

    Come on CA why didn’t you mention 5 times that the Focus is made in Africa??
    I’m sure if it had been a road test of the Cruze the word Korea would of been mentioned several times.

    • DipStiK

      Cruze did not get a mention of Korea until we read the comments. Most web sites are telling readers the truth and comments are positive. Let us know all the details, we are capable of making an informed decision and can see when we are misled. Give CA some credit, they did not say Fiesta was made in Germany in the first steer. This should be in the list of specs, as seen on redbook.com.au

  • Yanzo

    i don’t see how there’s no 0 to 100 time, were you too lazy to grab a stop watch? and the fuel consumption is actually under what ford claim. yay! i was considering this or swift sport. i still think swift sport is better. more kw to the tone and no silver dash stuff

  • Ben

    My mum brought a lx focus at the start of the year.it has already been back to the dearler ship a number of times to have rattles and loose trim fixed and a new windscreen wiper motor. The gearbox won’t select gears when coming out of low speed coners. The road noise is louder then the 98 camry we upgraded from. The seats are hard. It doesn’t fell as we built as the camry did….

    • KingCobra

      Biggest dissapointment with this car, is the fact it will not be built in Australia. Quality would have improved markedly over the South African built versions.

  • Clueless

    Rear Parking sensors are an option as Delear Fit. My new TDCi Focus with Powershift (What a great transmission!) has them

  • SamR

    They had a four year review in the NRMA’s Open Road magazine this month on a Focus CL they chose as the Best car under $28,000 or something in 2005.

    Not very good.

    Lots of problems, including the infamous Euro brake issue. The NRMA reported the car often needs new brake pads AND rotors at 30,000Km and they aren’t cheap.

    Great for an economy car. Then there were other problems, many.

    The Focus, nice car to drive, just wouldn’t want to own one. Well I would not mind an XR5, they are not meant to be cheap to run.

    • thenameless

      What brake issue?
      You are confusing it with the first generation Focus. You’ve got your lines crossed!
      As far as I have seen it’s not built any worse than an Astra.

      • SamR

        Nope current Focus.

        What brake issue? You live under a rock? The Focus and other Euro cars have a huge problem with very rapid Brake pad and rotor wear.

        As for “not built any worse than an Astra” that is damning it with faint praise.

        The Astra has the same problem

  • Yonny

    No denying the Focus is great to drive – but it’s too poorly built to be acceptable, and this is after Ford’s obvious efforts at improving build quality. By all means drive a Focus you’ve borrowed off somebody else, but for yourself, buy a Lancer or even (dare I say it) a Kia Cerato.

    I’ve had 2 Focuses by the way, as I’m a sucker for a car that drives well. But I will never consider another South African built Focus.

  • pm

    You must have been unlucky Yonny – my brother’s 2006 SA-built Focus has not had any problems, even after 120,000km.

  • Rob

    I dropped into my local Ford Dealer the other day to pick up an oil filter for my Fiesta XR4, while I was there I thought I’d wander over and take a look at the new Fiesta (which incidently was aweful!!) .. also there was a new LX Focus, thought I’d open the door and have a little sit in it and a look around .. OMG!! .. I couldn’t jump out of the thing quick enough! .. the seats are like sitting on planks of wood .. so hard it was ridiculous, couldn’t possibly put up with them! .. didn’t even look any further at it.

    • Jack

      Hard seats seem to be loved by Euro designers. Do yourself a favour and sit in a G6E Turbo. Best seats I have ever sat in…

  • http://indianautosblog.com/ Indian Autos Blog

    Paul Maric –

    Thank you for giving us with such an informative product review. I hope Ford in India will launch this car as it has shown how versatile it can be for the middle class buyer elsewhere on the globe. I think the Focus is not a very good looking car though its interiors look tempting. Here, they can either use the 1.4 or the 1.8-liter Duratorq engine, but positioning it would be key.

  • Benjo

    Because Mercedes and BMW also buid in South Africa :)
    I dont care what anyone says… ill never buy Korean.

    • Lockio

      Very good point benjo, I could put up with a few niggling problems with eoropean/SA built cars and have a brilliant ride and a great looking car but I could never bare owning a korean trash heap. Not even there warrenty’s should be tempting enough for people.

  • Harley Stone

    to assess the long-term quality of a car, the german car magazine AutoBILD regularly does 100.000 km endurance tests with alost every brand/type of cars.
    The Ford Focus ranks at place 9 of the hit-ist. together with the Ford Mondeo
    and the Opel Vectra. The best Volkswagen ranks at 22 (the bus). The Golf ranks at 38, the Passat at 58.
    That much as a comment o the quality.
    The cars are being driven for 100,000 kilometers and then get dismantled completely even the engine, and every part measured and inspected. All breakdowns etc are being listed as well.

    • Rob

      A score of 9 being good or bad?
      ie: Is a score of 1 top place or last place?

  • Andy

    Ford Focus, what a car! We have these things for work vehicles and man are they good. 180,000kms on mine and still going strong. We normally get rid of our cars once out of warranty, but what is the point. I am a younger and more enthusiastic driver and because its not my car I caine it all day hoping that I will get a upgrade once it faults. It won’t do it though. Brakes get worn quick though. Its got mad handling too. I often accelerate when I see hard corners instead of slowing down. The new Lancers aren’t taking the punishment though nor are the Corollas suprisingly. I would buy one but then I will drive another Focus. For the buyer in this price range I have no affiliation with Ford and am only speaking on the behalf of what me and my collegues fell. They say Le Mans 24hr is the ultimate test of edurance, well how about being with me and 10 other Punk drivers for like 2 years. Long live the old red focus.

  • Benz

    Just had a call from the dealership. They want $500 to change the front disks and rotors at only 27,000km!! Love the focus, but not loving the UnAustralian Ford prices. My VW golf was cheaper to service.

  • Dolly

    I need to make a decision this weekend and I am confused. Have been driving a brand new focus LX this week and I absolutely love it. Drives like a bigger car. Excellent response, tight and handles well. I have also test driven the corolla ascent, mazda neo and hyundai i30. Mazda is ahead in finish and spunkability but it felt spongy to drive and when putting the foot down just a bit to get from 80 – 100 the motor revs hard for a second or two before it gets into gear. Hyundai too. I spend 2 hours a day in peak hour traffic and also do a lot of country driving. I worry that the Mazda doesn’t have the zip that I need. Corollo – err – looks like a matchbox car but you know it is going to be reliable and run forever.

    I really am swaying toward the Focus and am going to the dealer this weekend. Will look at both the auto petrol and deisel. But – I have a niggling feeling that I am doing the wrong thing. Why aren’t they selling!!?? Last months sales came out last night – all makes and models – corolla top, mazda 3 about 5th, i30 about 7th and even the little holden makes it but there is no Focus. In the last couple of weeks I have seen only one other new Focus on the roads.

    Is it because of problems with the car, is it because it is made in south africa, is it the finish or is it that, when you think of small cars in that price range you automatically think of toyata, mazda and hyundai and ford doesn’t immediately spring to mind.

    Convince me!

    • Allen

      Dolly, not sure that I am going to convince you one way or another, but just let me explaina few things:
      1. Corolla sales are mostly fleet – Toyota market very aggressively to fleet buyers, just look at all of the Coralla hire cars. They are a competant little car, but you will be bored quickly and it will not be any more or less reliable than any other new car in this class.
      2. The Cruze is quite a large car, more like a medium sized car, and might be bigger than what are are looking for.
      3. The Hyundai i30 is the latest generation Excel with a new name, again a competant car with Hyundai pricing possibly an advantage. Their quality has come a long way, but you need to be comfortable with the brand.
      4. The Mazda is a better car than the 3 above, but styling can be a bit polarising now.
      5. The Focus has a good reputation for the things you highlighted; handling performance economy and reliability. The sales numbers have suffered from lack of available stock and buyers in this class heading to the Korean cheapies in tough economic times. The Fiesta, being such a great car has canibalised quite a few of the Focus sales. There are lots of them out there, but they haven’t been pushed to fleet buyers, so numbers are down on some of the others. As you have already worked out for yourself, it’s the best alrounder in this class by quite a margin.

      At the end of the day, particularly in this class, buy what you want to drive, they’re all quite good, buy with your heart on this one!

    • Safety Frist

      Dolly, there are NO common faults witht he vehicle. Sure on the original LS south african builds there were paint issues (funily enough all SA built cars had paint issues with the first model) but apart from that they are have proven trouble free. According to AC Nielsens Customer satisfaction polls (prior to Ford and others cancelling that contract) the Focus polled the best in class with an 87% customer satisfaction rating in Australia.
      If you can see your way to it, go the TDCi. More fun thatn the petrol (except the XR5 :p) to drive, has the best gearbox being a 6 speed dual clutch box, similar to what everyone raves about with Golfs DSG. HAs more Torque at 1750rpm than what Commodore 3.0 puts out so that means the vehicle doesn’t have to rev to get anywhere. Saving fuel and engine wear.
      Size wise, the 387l (seats up) capacity boot absolute swallows most of the oppositions sedan offerings let alone their hatches. When looking at the car press the unlock key and hold down for 2 seconds and all windows come down, great for cooling the car in summer. (also works in reverse ie hold lock to put them up)
      Every motoring group rates the Focus as best handler in class, so you get the safety of responsive handling when avoiding accidents. The pasenger safety cell was designed in conjunction with Volvo S40, so very strong. Suspension and brakes are all shared between Mazda 3 & the S40 so has good pedigree.
      If you go the Petrol, the engine and gearbox are also exactly the same as the previous generation Mazda 3 (the 3 was the test bed for the Focus as the Focus is the more important car globally for what was then all Ford controlled companies Volvo & Mazda).
      ME I look at the standard kit list and look at what they have that is important and usable to ME! Standard kit like Cruise control, one touch on all power windows, MP3 player input, boot capacity, ease of operation of all equipment these are important, the niceties that I would use are the remote windows function etc. If the warranty offered by some is an issue to you, then remember at any stage during the Factory warranty you can extend it out to 5yrs 200,000km (at a charge sure but you can do it). We recomend doing it within the last 6 months of the original warranty.
      As for servicing, the average A service (minor) through the dealership I’m at is $240.00. These are the bulk of services as Ford goes minor minor minor major! So its 60,000 till you get a major and you cam / timming gear doesn’t get touched till 10 years or 240,000km NOT 90/100,000 as per a lot in this catagory. THe advantage offered by one brand when it comes to servicing of $120/130 max per standard service is done at every 10,000 or six months on their competitor. SO not really a saving, basically they all cost around the same to service.
      As for resale, if you can find anyone who swears blind that he can guarantee his car will give a better resale ask him for tonights numbers :p The Mazda may give a better return, but it costs more to start with, the hyundai may give a smaller return but it cost less, are you planning on selling the car in two years? then this could be important if not, don’t worry about it.
      Happy shopping…. :-)

  • Andrew M

    Go the Diesel.
    Havent driven the diesel version myself, but it sounds like a real cracker

  • confused

    TOO MANY OPTIONS!! Am looking to buy a new car this month, was interested in the Cruze but have started hearing bad things. I have 20-25 grand to spend. I have 2 kids under 6 so safety is important and it cant be too small. I’m also looking at having this car for many many years.

    • CA

      If I were you I’d be looking at the class leaders in the segment: The Mazda 3 and Ford Focus. Both run rings around the others in all of the expert reviews. And reliability is likely to be far better than the Daewoo Cruz (with NCO Holden badge).

    • http://dodge franz chong

      I have driven an earlier version of the Focus and it reminds me a lot of my mums MERCEDES C180.Nice European Car to drive this Ford and I wouldn’t worry too much about the product being out of South Africa and speaking of which I almost bought one to replace a 2002 Mazda 323 but garage size limitations sent me instead to the Nissan Dealer for a FAR INFERIOR TIIDA.

      The Andrew G JACKIE O and Dog in the hand bag commercials at least got the Focus out of the showrooms and it didn’t offend anyone

  • http://n/a bruce hennessy

    just traded an 08 mazda 3 on a new focus, outstanding car, it just rocks (i’m 64 years old) and have owned a few cars and bikes in my time. who cares where it comes from, the finished article is at the top of the pile. only time will tell.

  • Flavia

    Thinking to buy 2009 lx, does anybody know how much I should be paying this days???

  • Emilio Rodriguez

    Had my Focus for 80,000klm.
    Good Points:
    – Great Handling car, very stable on highway
    – Roomy especially in the back
    – Zippy
    – Great fuel economy
    – 15,000 service intervals

    Bad points:
    - Had the Water pump replaced (under warranty)
    - Had the air conditioning compressor replaced (under warranty)
    - Brake pads wore out after 45,000. Fark me, and they are expensive. Also front wheels are always black from brake dust after about a week after a wash.
    - Road noise is quite loud and can be very annoying on long highway drives. But I know it was not as loud as a 2008 Mazda 3.
    - Water leaks in hatch behind high brake lights (fixed myself with silicone, dealer could not find leak.)
    - Engine warning light comes on for no reason. Took to Ford, cleared warning light. They don’t know why it came up.
    - Software bugs (windows go down sometimes when you want them to go up). Ford put a patch to fix this, but it only slightly improved the situation.
    - Only one reverse light on car (everyone will keep telling me only one reverse light is working)

    This is good and very safe car to drive. I feel it is a good throw away car that you buy to run into the ground. I hope to get 8-10 years out of it.