Have an opinion about Ford? Please share

Hi, and thanks for stopping by. I am in the research process of buying a used car, and I have realized that no matter how many reviews I read, or general “gut feelings” I have about certain makes of cars, I need some input.

I am currently looking at 2000-2003 Ford Focus wagons. Anyone have any experience with this car or Ford in general?

I am also considering mid-90’s Toyota or Honda wagons.

You are asking the wrong question! Ford in general is bulding better and better cars, and will likely survive all the restructuring without government help.

Unfortunately you have zeroed in on one of the worst cars in the Ford stable. The older Focus cars set a record for recalls, quality problems and are comnsiderd a poor buy.

If you want a good station wagen, an older Toyota Camry wagon, Toyota Marrix or Pontiac Vibe will last alot longer; my neighbor across the street has a Camry station wagen and it’s constantly in use.

Spend $10 or less and get the Consumer Reports April Issue or their 2009 Buying Guide; it has the complete repair histories going back to 2000.

The Focus model you probably want is a manual transmission model with no power steering, no ABS but probably has air conditioning. This kind of car is not the typical problem car because it has less on it that can fail. You can’t really lose big money on a stripped down model.

If it is left to my opinion, from reading Consumer Reports, I would not recommend a Focus. My first statements come from owning a stripped Escort. All the AT ones I looked at were leaking and smelling bad but mine ran well. It had problems but I fixed them well enough to put 50,000 miles on it in three years and sell it at 108,000 miles. Not a stellar record but good enough for a 1985 model. You can get away with more if you don’t get a “fully loaded” econobox.

I would feel more comfortable with a newer Ford in general than a much older Honda/Toyota for the same price…as stated, Fords are not good buy throughout their line like Honda/Toyota, so research is the key. As usual, a well maintained Focus is superior to a beat up Honda…check CU and do lots of driving before deciding.

If you look at some real stats you will find that there are not big differences between makes. The reputations from make to make are far larger than the real world differences. Remember that different makes and models attract different buyers. Some buyers complain a lot more, some take better care of their cars others never even bother the change the oil.

There are some specific models and years that have known problems, but overall since you are looking at used cars, the only meaningful indication of future problems will be uncovered by an inspection by your mechanic. An inspection is not fool proof but it is the only meaningful source of information.