Ford Focus - Car Advice - Mark McC

Hi all

very inexperienced as to car mechanics a relative newcomer to driving in fact, passed 3 year ago at the ripe old age of 40.
Chose a 2006 fiesta for my 1st motor and havent regretted my choice at all. The fiesta ticked all the boxes affordable to insure for 1st time driver, no bad on fuel and cheap enough parts and fun as hell to throw around corners. Sadly with a family of 4 its time to upgrade to something more spacious and this is where i need the help of those more knowlegeble than me.
Im a minimum wage worker so affordability and upkeep is a major factor i cant afford a lemon or to upgrade every few year so my next car will be driven until it dies.

My budget is £3500 i have been looking at ford focuses around 2009/2010 doing alot of research and reading alot of bad press around fords and their cluth dual mass flywheel problems and powershift etc etc. As i understand it these issues come into play from 2011 onwards is that right?

Basically im looking on opinions as to what my next car should be, my criteria is below

low insurance
focus size but bigger boot wouldnt go amiss

would like the focus but scared of all the negativity surrounding ford at the moment.

Have looked at the mazda 3 honda civics like the look of them but scared there will be a big jump in insurance.

At 3 n a half grand what would my options be?

Thank in advance to all those who take the time to read and for any opinions you might offer

Ford Focus - Car Advice - badbusdriver

With a petrol engine and manual gearbox, i don't think you have much to worry about apart from making sure the car you are looking at has a service history. Not sure about dual mass flywheel issues, but powershift is the automated dual clutch gearbox, so assuming you want a manual gearbox, it wouldn't affect your even if they were available on focus's of that age (I don't think they were, but not certain). The forums resident motor trader, SLO, is frequently recommending the 1.6 petrol focus (manual), so as long as you stick to that combination (no diesel, no automatic). If you want a bigger boot, get the focus estate, simple!

Ford Focus - Car Advice - SLO76
There's little to fear from a well looked after Mk II Focus as long as you avoid the diesels which generate the overwhelming majority of the problems you've heard of. The 1.6 Zetec uses a Yamaha designed belt driven motor with an excellent reputation for reliability. It's a sweet revving engine, will do 35mpg plus easy enough day to day and the handling and ride is top of the class by a big margin with exception of the also excellent Mazda 3 which shares the same floorpan and suspension.

It will be due a timing belt and water pump at 8yrs though and it's unlikely any you look at will have been done so factor the £300-£400 cost into any bid. The 1.8 petrol uses a Mazda designed chain driven motor and will run and run if looked after. It's not as sweet as the 1600 but it's certainly stronger and there's no timing belt to worry about. Great fun to drive and not much thirstier than the 1600.

The Mazda 3 1.6 petrol is another great option. Vice free sweet revving chain driven engine and excellent handling and ride, there's little to fault. Rust is an issue on pre-facelift cars but later models seem to be holding it off better. Other than that it's pretty tough.

The Civic 1.8 is a good car with the best engine of the lot but it tends to sell for stronger money so your £3,500 won't go as far. Economy is excellent considering it's substantially more powerful than the Focus or the Mazda with 40mpg easily bettered day to day. Upside of these is the practical interior, the general reliability and the ease of resale but the steering is pretty numb and the handling isn't as fluid as the other two.

I'd have all three on the shopping list along with the Volvo S40/V50 which is based on the Focus also and I'd buy on condition and service history before anything else.
Ford Focus - Car Advice - Mark McC

@badbusdriver and @sl076 Thanks alot for the quick response. Read your replies with a smile so im on the right track then.

My bad i forgot to specify that i do indeed need a manual and petrol engine. I had factored in the cost of belt and water pump it was the 1st thing i did when i bought the fiesta. Interesting to hear the mazda 3 is chain driven.

How are you guys on insurance jumps think my fiesta 1.25 2006 is group 8 which in real terms is £560 a year to insure the bog standard zetec 2009 focus is group 11 i think what would that mean in terms of money? im guessing the mazda n civic would be an even bigger jump coz they look more sporty.

Youve made my night though with the feedback on the focus glad its still an option and if maintained should have a resonable life span

Ford Focus - Car Advice - SLO76
Only way to know for sure with insurance is to get quotes. None of the cars you've listed are exactly high risk however, they're just ordinary family hatches so they shouldn't represent a massive hike.
Ford Focus - Car Advice - Engineer Andy

I doubt if the jump to the larger car will make more than a 10% difference in premium, especially as you're now 40. I've run a Mazda3 1.6 petrol from new (a mk1, not the mk2 which you're looking at, but it uses essentially the same engine just tweaked to get better mpg and CO2 emissions and appears to be better on corrosion proofing than the early mk1s) and mine has been great, the engine still is sweet after 11years so a mk2 would be fine. Premiums are comparable to the Focus, perhaps a tad higher, but the mid range TS2 model is better equipped than the Focus Zetec with climate control and is one VED group lower, though slightlying slower to 60. I prefer the looks and dash of the Focus mk2 over its Mazda cousin - not really much to choose between them. Make sure and Mazda3 you look at has a full service history with fresh oil on schedule every year at least or 12.5k miles to keep the engine and chain well lubricated.

The Honda is, I suspect, going to have to be an older reg as ones with a FSH at main dealers fetch a premium over the Ford and Mazda. The insurance may be somewhat higher even though you're 40 as it's 7+ groups higher than the other two due to the higher performance and original selling price. As has been said,best to get quotes to be sure, same with finding out servicing cost differences (this may vary quite a bit between independents and main dealers) and could make more of a difference than insurance over a 5+year period. SLO will know more about this than me, but I suspect the Focus will be cheaper to service at an indie but may be a bit less reliable than the other two, evening out the running costs.

Get a good hour's test drive over a range of different roads and speeds to see which you find the best in terms of drive and especially comfort. You may find that a car with 16in or even 15in tyres feels more comfortable than one on 17in tyres, and can save £60 - £75 when replacing all 4, and not make much difference to handling, especially on the Focus and Mazda.

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Engineer Andy

I forgot to say (it was late and was using a tablet) that once you've had a licence for 7-10 years (as long as you've not had loads of claims) and are over 40, the difference between relatively similar cars in insurance isn't very high, so in perhaps 2 or three years' time a £20 - £50 difference at year zero if the OP bought the Civic might be only £5 - £10 on year 3.

When I was looking for a (brand new) replacement for my Mazda3, I looked at the insurance for a Mazda3 mk3 SE-L Nav 2.0 petrol and both a Golf 1.4 TSi 150 GT & Scirocco 1.8 180 GT and the latter (the highest) was only £30 more than the Mazda at around £300pa for a 43yo with full no claims. Didn't consider a Focus (current version, not the mk2) as I don't like the looks or small boot space (smaller than the mk2).

Note also that the Mazda3 has always looked at its best in saloon (now called fastback) form, which has a larger boot (by 40 litres) than the hatch equivalent, but has a very small opening and thus some large items (suitcase shaped items are fine) such as large cubed-shaped boxes cannot fit through the narrow opening to make use of the extra space. The better solution for families is the hatch version, the mk2 hatch is better looking than the mk1 equivalent. No estate version I'm sad to say. The Focus does have both an estate (nice looking too) and a saloon (bigger boot than the Mazda3 [though not so nice looking overall] and a bigger opening, though it still may have issues with access - try it out if you wanted one - not many about though and some dealers put a premium on them for some reason).

Ford Focus - Car Advice - RobJP

Whilst no used purchase can be guaranteed to be trouble-free, SLO76's advice is of the highest quality.

He is a professional - makes his living from buying and selling cars - so has a very good handle on what is likely to cause problems (and him further costs).

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Mark McC

good to hear i new i was in the right place

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Mark McC

there a 2009 focus zetec at a garage near me

4 n half grand but only 37k on the clock does that set any alarm bells for you SLO? really low miles makes me wonder why especially with 3 previous owners

Ford Focus - Car Advice - badbusdriver

there a 2009 focus zetec at a garage near me

4 n half grand but only 37k on the clock does that set any alarm bells for you SLO? really low miles makes me wonder why especially with 3 previous owners

37k miles is certainly low for its age, but not suspiciously low. Could just have been used for short local runs by an older person. Or possibly been used as a 2nd car. If it was the 1st, look out for parking dings and worn clutch and/or gearbox. Also, check the mot history online, looking to see if there were any potential problems noted in advisories.

Regarding insurance, without trying to be cheeky(!), at your age, I wouldn't think there would be too much of a jump going from your fiesta to a 1.6 focus.

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Mark McC

lol at being cheeky regarding my age if it counts for anything i drive like a 21 year old just dont tell the insurers. Didnt even know you could check the mot history online.

I checked the cars reg


My guts telling me something not right but all good fiesta still running which allows me time to search

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Galaxy

You can check the car's MOT history, which also give some guide to the correct mileage here:

Just enter the car's registration number (GL09 ONG)

It appears to tally but 3 owners could be said to be excessive. You'll learn more about the car by talking to the dealer.

Plenty of these around so if there's anything you aren't happy about just look for another one.

Edit.............I note the car currently doesn't have a valid MOT so, in the event you are considering purchase, ensure that it will be sold with a new one.

Edited by Galaxy on 24/09/2017 at 22:15

Ford Focus - Car Advice - SLO76
The Mot history checks out but there's no mention of service history in the advert which is a concern. It might have had a low mileage driver who serviced it on mileage rather than time which could mean the oil has been in it for years at a time. Without a full service record showing annual oil changes I'd leave it.

Three owners is also a slight concern on such a low mileage car. The first will be a lease fleet, possibly Ford finance themselves but the mileage on the Mot history looks like one owner from then. Has it had a recent short term owner? I'd ask how long the last owner had it. If less than 2yrs I'd be put off.

Having said that I've taken a look at the dealers other stock and it's clear he's not one for fiddling mileages or faking service histories with several higher mileage motors in stock. It's likely he's a straight enough chap but you have got to ask why this car was offloaded by the dealer who took it in part exchange in the first place. It wasn't him, he deals in cheaper end cars mostly so it's 99% likely it'll be auction bought and a low mileage Focus like this is solid stock even for a main dealer with the likes of Arnold Clark stocking cars up to 12yrs old unless they require too much prep work, so why did it get sent to auction? Possibly it's had paint damage and been poorly repaired, this is common on cars owned by elderly low mileage owners. It might be honest enough but poor paint will deteriorate quickly which will kill its value.

At £4-£5k I'd be looking at Main dealer stock where the cars have been part exchanged and been retained because it's been good enough to retail. Small dealers source almost all of their retail stock at auction and the bulk of it is there because it has issues that meant the larger dealer didn't want it. Usually they require paint which is then done cheaply.

I did spot this one which has been part exchanged with Evans Halshaw Ford and is over £1,000 less than the one you're looking at. It's in their budget section so it'll be sold warts an all with a rubbish warranty but if that mileage is right and there's a full history it could be a wee bargain. The fact that it was traded in at a Ford dealer tells us the last owner certainly liked it. Auto Trader:

Edited by SLO76 on 24/09/2017 at 22:51

Ford Focus - Car Advice - argybargy

The Mark 2 Focus Zetec with the petrol 1.6 engine is a brilliant car. I had a 2007 115bhp Climate, and I would probably still have it if 'er indoors, who is routinely conveyed everywhere like Her Maj, hadn't moaned like Hell about the hardness of the ride and what she perceived as my jerky clutch operation.

An example like mine, with around 80k and the timing belt replaced early, could be had for 2 grand from a garage, less privately, and would last you for several more years with regular servicing.

The only real trouble I had with mine was not the fault of the car itself, but leaking transmission/ drivershaft oil seals caused by an acquaintance who did a cheap clutch change for me, but who almost certainly refitted the old seals, and when they leaked, tried to blag me that the stuff on my driveway was grease. Several oil seals later one of them was still leaking, so he probably damaged the seal housing as well.

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Galaxy

I did spot this one which has been part exchanged with Evans Halshaw Ford and is over £1,000 less than the one you're looking at. It's in their budget section so it'll be sold warts an all with a rubbish warranty but if that mileage is right and there's a full history it could be a wee bargain. The fact that it was traded in at a Ford dealer tells us the last owner certainly liked it. Auto Trader:

MOT history check say's it's done 51,000. Being advertised as 36,099!

I know which version I believe!

Edited by Galaxy on 25/09/2017 at 10:01

Ford Focus - Car Advice - RobJP

MOT history check say's it's done 51,000. Being advertised as 36,099!

I know which version I believe!

The headline price quoted in the advert would appear to be a mistake.

There is a photo showing the dash readout which reads 51504 miles.

Ford Focus - Car Advice - SLO76
"MOT history check say's it's done 51,000. Being advertised as 36,099!

I know which version I believe!"

Well spotted but the real mileage is in the pics. Simple admin mistake from whoever posted the advert. Nothing to worry about. The real mileage is 51,500 and being effectively a Mazda L series chain driven motor it's barely run in assuming it's been serviced every year.

Edited by SLO76 on 25/09/2017 at 11:25

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Avant

There are lots of Focuses around, Mark, so if you have any doubts just walk away and look again. There should be a good choice of petrol manuals with a service history: have a look at Cars for Sale on this site.

Edited by Avant on 26/09/2017 at 01:48

Ford Focus - Car Advice - Mark McC


cant thank you all enough for all the time and advice youve given to me. The adevice is invaluable and gives me more confidence in searching for the new car.

Again sincere thanks all


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